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hittitewarrior

SHB-2 - Tele build

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Yeah...I like to build up Tru-Oil to take advantage of the warmth and depth it gives the wood. It seems to make the figure more dramatic. In general at seems that during the curing process about 80% of the shrinking happens in the first two weeks and the last 20% take 3 or 4 weeks more. Thinner build ups will take less time and thicker will take more time, but pretty much in the same ratio.

SR

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Awesome.  Two additional questions:

1) Do you guys sand at all between the thin coats? 

2) Can I get a ballpark of how many coats some of you use?  I hate asking this question, cause I know it varies by opinion/goals/etc.  I'm 4 coats in, and it is looking quite nice... I don't want to stop due to impatience, but at the same time, I'm not sure how many more I should go (I'm assuming the extra coats are building durability into the finish).  Perhaps that's the better question to ask:

Bonus question: What should I be looking for/thinking about that is impacted by how many coats I put on?

Thanks all!

Edited by hittitewarrior

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I put maybe 30 coats on to get the thickness I wanted. That included 3 or 4 slurry sandings for grain filling and 2 leveling sandings.

You should be thinking about how much build up you want and how much grain filling you want.

SR

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5 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I put maybe 30 coats on to get the thickness I wanted. That included 3 or 4 slurry sandings for grain filling and 2 leveling sandings.

You should be thinking about how much build up you want and how much grain filling you want.

SR

I understand the grain filling, but what is the importance of build up?  Level of gloss? Durability? Avoiding effects of shrinkage?

Thanks.

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21 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

I understand the grain filling, but what is the importance of build up?  Level of gloss? Durability? Avoiding effects of shrinkage?

Thanks.

Purely level of gloss and depth of figure...and a bit of avoiding the effects of shrinkage.ei. pore filling.

SR

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Not to distract from the previous question (Thank you @ScottR for the input) as I'd still love to get other's input as well...

However...

I've been building two of these tele's... One for me, and one for my brother in law.

On the "brother" to the guitar I've been mainly posting about, I ran into a serious problem.  I attached the hardware tonight, and the neck, with the intention of slotting the nut.  I put the strings on, and pulled some tension to get them straight, and realized that the strings don't travel straight down the neck.  There's enough of an angle that the high E string goes from ~160 thou at the nut from the edge of the fretboard, to practically falling off at the last fret.  At first I thought I'd placed the bridge wrong, and then after taking everything back off, placing a laser on the centerline of the body, placing my neck pocket template on, and looking closer realized that the template must have slipped duing the routing of the neck pocket... See the following pictures.

IMG_0881.thumb.JPG.45097bb2a8e373861dd0291eb9c55273.JPG

IMG_0878.thumb.JPG.f0fdcb2178f992b5e17e1b834a12661a.JPG

IMG_0880.thumb.JPG.ccfa87b229ec180c8e0715528a8c10a2.JPG

So at the lower bout, it needs to take off 1/16", and at the higher bout, there will be a gap.... In addition, with the holes drilled into the neck already, I have problems on both the neck and the body...  Help me out?  Thoughts on how to repair?

I think I need to fill the screw holes in the neck so I can drill new ones, but not sure how to fill them.  And for the neck pocket, I am not sure what to do with the gap side next to the upper bout... perhaps glue some veneer in there first, and then come back and rout the pocket again?  Not sure whether this is salvageable...

 

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Glue a sliver of matching timber to the bass side of the pocket and re-route it to the correct shape. It should be possible to get a reasonably good match to what is there already with some patience. Sounds like you're only after an extra 1/16" wall thickness on the bass side to compensate for the 1/16" lost on the treble. The only area that may need a bit more help is where the binding runs down to the bass side of the neck pocket. You may have to hand cut the channel and graft a small piece of binding into the extended piece of neck pocket wall.

If you're fitting a neck plate as per a normal Tele, I wouldn't worry about plugging the neck screw holes and redrilling them. Either oval the screw holes in the body so that they line up with the neck screw holes once it's correctly realigned in the pocket, or drill the holes in the body larger so they line up well enough. The neck plate will cover up the resulting sloppier body screw holes.

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I'd add that gluing in a sliver would best be done by ensuring that the receiving face and sliver have perfectly-mating surfaces. Simply applying a piece of wood will guarantee a visible glueline. The trouble with this is that the end of the additional piece is curved.

So you still have the scrap piece of wood from the outside of the body? That would provide a perfect clamping caul (padded with cork) so pressure can be applied perpendicularly to the patch. A small caul inside the pocket spreads that clamping pressure evenly across the surface of the patch also. Being able to match the surfaces and get them clamped sufficiently in this repair should allow an invisible repair, aside from the endgrain where the curve is. If you have a piece large enough, you might even be able to extend the repair through to the pickup cavity.

Sounds complicated, but it doesn't seem beyond the ability demonstrated so far. Just patience and knowing where to place your feet.

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Thanks for the encouragement and advice - going to give the suggestions a shot tonight.  Hopefully with good results!

Update:  Successfully glued in pieces for a new neck pocket... Only to have the router skip, grab the template, and screw up half of the new piece...  Routed it back out, and glued another one in.  I think I can flip the template over and use the good half to finish up... Will try that tonight.

Edited by hittitewarrior

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Update 2: Well... on the 4th attempt, it is finally fixed.  Not one of my best wood working moments for sure.  Had to laser cut a new neck pocket template.  Ended up using walnut which is a questionable choice.  Plugged the screw holes in the neck and re-drilled pilot holes.  Everything appears to align well at this point.  Cut a nut, and it tunes up well although it appears that one of the nut slots may be a little too deep... not sure yet.  A slight fret buzz, but I think I will wait til final assembly before coming back to trying to fix it (might be a truss rod adjustment that fixes it)...  I should take a bunch of pics. 

The main build from this thread is coming along well.   I am approximately 10 coats of tru-oil in to finishing.  I intentionally have stopped coating the neck at around 3 coats.  I like the feeling of "raw" but well sanded wood...  just enough finish to keep hand oils at bay. 

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This is certainly a case for copying your templates from acrylic into plywood, that's for sure. I do so for all of mine. The acrylics are designed from the outset for marking up only (engraved in mirror, so lines are on the underside) whereas they are used as master routing templates into 10-15mm plywood. The thickness of plywood is essential anyway, so that I have greater control over cut depth (several passes about 2-3mm each in sensitive areas) and can do things like cavity cover recesses. Worth bearing (no joke intended) in mind for future ventures.

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On 5/24/2018 at 2:24 AM, Prostheta said:

This is certainly a case for copying your templates from acrylic into plywood, that's for sure. I do so for all of mine. The acrylics are designed from the outset for marking up only (engraved in mirror, so lines are on the underside) whereas they are used as master routing templates into 10-15mm plywood. The thickness of plywood is essential anyway, so that I have greater control over cut depth (several passes about 2-3mm each in sensitive areas) and can do things like cavity cover recesses. Worth bearing (no joke intended) in mind for future ventures.

Yes, definitely.  I really like the ability to see through the template when matching up centerlines, but I'm not sure the risk/reward is worth it to me ...  I very well may be transferring these to plywood for the next go round.

Some pictures of the current status.  About 10 coats of tru-oil.  Debating just how far to take it... Looking pretty good as-is.

IMG_0872.thumb.JPG.bd2134a7c473f2e6e1a503042f19dd37.JPG

Headstock badges... Not sure how I will affix these :-\... my original intent was screws, but there is not a lot of room for screw heads... Might just have to go super small... smaller than pickguard screws anyway...

IMG_1013.thumb.JPG.bb142910ac46774c625a684b841f9e9e.JPG

I did notice my pickguard will have an issue mounting the neck pickup... This was the last thing I noticed for the night, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.  Pick up mounting ring is the first thought, but that may look kinda silly on a pickguard...  Gonna have to noodle on this one.

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Quick tip - drill holes in your plywood templates over the end of the centerline for locating them. I put marks on the edges. The holes make it easier when the edge isn't perpendicular.

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5 hours ago, hittitewarrior said:

Headstock badges... Not sure how I will affix these :-\... my original intent was screws, but there is not a lot of room for screw heads... Might just have to go super small... smaller than pickguard screws anyway...

Do you ever intend on removing them? If it were me I'd just permanently glue them in place with a couple of dots of CA.

 

5 hours ago, hittitewarrior said:

I did notice my pickguard will have an issue mounting the neck pickup... This was the last thing I noticed for the night, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.  Pick up mounting ring is the first thought, but that may look kinda silly on a pickguard...  Gonna have to noodle on this one.

You mean the missing pickup screw holes? I reckon you'd be able to drill and countersink them and just touch up the freshly exposed timber with a bit more black dye and Tru-oil finish. Once the screws are in you'd never know they were there.

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On 5/26/2018 at 6:16 AM, curtisa said:

Do you ever intend on removing them? If it were me I'd just permanently glue them in place with a couple of dots of CA.

 

You mean the missing pickup screw holes? I reckon you'd be able to drill and countersink them and just touch up the freshly exposed timber with a bit more black dye and Tru-oil finish. Once the screws are in you'd never know they were there.

Good point - no reason to remove so CA will do the trick.

I think the pickup hole seemed to be wide enough that the mounting holes to match the mounting holes on the pickup would be dangerously close to an edge.  Not sure why cause I matched the hole size to a standard telecaster pickguard, and just double checked and it matches fine.  My plan right now is to just direct mount.  Definitely ignores some of the benefits of using a pickguard, but I think it will look best and run the least risk of issue.  Glad you mentioned countersinking... I wouldn't have thought of that

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Alright... I need a little wiring help.  Below is a pic of my wiring diagram.  50's tone circuit with coil tap on the neck humbucker.

It seems to be wired right, but I have a ground issue.  When I touch any of the metal parts it hums real loud.  Turning the tone knob all the way down cuts the hum, but I am guessing that is just cause its a hpf.  I think I have all the casings grounded together and to the ground terminal on the output... Not really sure what is going on.

IMG_1063.thumb.jpg.115abeb5dbd4a705937ad00762017a41.jpg

IMG_1059.thumb.jpg.2ddb47df7d6aa734554d2beee0878d41.jpg

IMG_1062.thumb.jpg.2ab531650bd4a1cee8dc3c80184d0445.jpg

Not sure those pictures actually help, but who knows...

Appreciate your suggestions.

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First suggestions I have are to check the ground to the hardware/bridge. Then check if the output and ground connections on the jack socket have been reversed.

The grounding points on the pots look a bit fragile as well. Might be a dry joint in there?

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

First suggestions I have are to check the ground to the hardware/bridge. Then check if the output and ground connections on the jack socket have been reversed.

The grounding points on the pots look a bit fragile as well. Might be a dry joint in there?

@Prostheta Thank you sir. I had the jack wired backwards.  Hum is gone now.  Although, somehow, the bridge pickup is not working.  I think a wire is preventing the switch from making... Control cavity is really tight.  When I open it up, I'll check the grounding points on the pots for fragility as well. Thank you.

It's nice to hear a guitar come to life.  It intonated pretty well, and the neck pickup sounds nice... I need to do a proper set-up.  I've never really done that before... The nut is rough slotted right now, and the saddles are roughly adjusted for height.  If anyone has any good tutorials or advice for this next step, I always appreciate the input.

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Set-up question... There is a fret buzz on the low E string, across the first 3 frets.  I checked with my fret rocker, and there is an ever so subtle high spot on the 2nd fret... I thought I got rid of all the high spots after making sure the neck was flat prior to stringing anything up.  Can I (or perhaps it is "should I"), take the strings off, re-adujust the truss rod to get the neck flat again ( I put some relief in the neck to try to abate the buzz), and then bring out the fret levelling beam again?  I don't have a neck jig, so I can't really do it "as if" the strings were still on the guitar although now I'm really seeing why that thing sounds like such a great idea.

String height at the first fret, low E is .050".  I was expecting to be able to go a bit lower (fine tuning the nut depth), but it doesn't look like it at the moment.  I'm a bit lost on this final "set-up" piece.

 

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Might not be buzzing on the first three frets. It could be buzzing higher up the neck. The maximum displacement of the string when plucked will be in the middle between the bridge and where it's fretted. Could you have a high spot around the 13th - 15th?

The neck will most likely need some relief. Getting buzz-free results on a perfectly straight neck is difficult.

Could the neck have a twist in it? Sight up the neck along the bass side looking towards the nut and then flip the guitar over and sight up the neck on the treble side. If you have some relief in the neck you should see roughly the same degree and direction of curvature visible on both ends of the frets as they march up the neck towards the nut. I find it's easier to see this when in a darkened room and pointing the neck towards a light source to encourage the eye to see the high contrast between the straight strings and shiny fret ends.

The other thing to look at is the action adjustment at the bridge. You might have neck relief and fret levelling perfect, but if the 6th string saddle is set too low to begin with you'll just be chasing your tail.

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14 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Might not be buzzing on the first three frets. It could be buzzing higher up the neck. The maximum displacement of the string when plucked will be in the middle between the bridge and where it's fretted. Could you have a high spot around the 13th - 15th?

The neck will most likely need some relief. Getting buzz-free results on a perfectly straight neck is difficult.

 

How do you gauge the "right" amount of relief.  I started with it flat, and have adjusted the truss rod so that there is a gap under the center of my straight edge (the kind that skips the frets) of about .005-.010" (I'm guestimating here...)

The reason I thought it was in the first 3 frets is that I only hear it when playing those first couple, and there was this subtle high spot on the bass side across the first 2 strings which is what I heard when playing.... not trying to be argumentative or say I'm sure, just letting you into my thought process... if there's something faulty there, pls call it out!   I definitely get the displacement argument.  I'll have to try the fret rocker higher up the neck, however I spent a lot of time higher up the fretboard when levelling.

Regarding set-up, I've read order to be

check string height @ 1st fret to make sure the nut slot is deep enough.  Then check string height @ 12th fret to make sure bridge height is set appropriately.  Does that sound abt right?

Thanks!

 

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47 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

How do you gauge the "right" amount of relief.  I started with it flat, and have adjusted the truss rod so that there is a gap under the center of my straight edge (the kind that skips the frets) of about .005-.010" (I'm guestimating here...)

Lots of ways to skin a cat. My method is to fret a string at the 1st and where the neck meets the body. On a Tele that must be about the 16th or 17th fret? Use a capo or you'll run out of hands. With the string fretted in both locations I aim for enough relief to get a 0.3mm feeler gauge in between the string and the fret that sits at the midpoint of the two fret locations, so about the 9th fret on a Tele. Longer scale lengths or strings that want to vibrate a lot (eg downtunings and extended range gtrs) I'll put yet more relief in.

0.005" - 0.010" is pretty adventurous. My metric head says that's only a couple of thenths of a mm, which is near enough to a dead straight neck, or within the bounds of error on a fret levelling across the whole neck that you may end up with fret buzz anyway.

 

1 hour ago, hittitewarrior said:

I definitely get the displacement argument.  I'll have to try the fret rocker higher up the neck, however I spent a lot of time higher up the fretboard when levelling.

'S OK. Just throwing some alternative ideas out there for you to investigate :)

 

1 hour ago, hittitewarrior said:

check string height @ 1st fret to make sure the nut slot is deep enough.  Then check string height @ 12th fret to make sure bridge height is set appropriately.  Does that sound abt right?

Pretty much. FWIW my running order:

  • Slot nut. Gauge correct nut slot depth by depressing each string at the 3rd and aiming for a 0.007" - 0.009" feeler gauge between the string being slotted and the 1st fret. Repeat for all 6/7/8/9/etc strings. If you're feeling super-ninja with the fret slotting, you can theoretically go lower still. Technically the unfretted string leaving the nut should give you the same clearance under the 1st fret as if it would if you depressed the string the 1st fret and measured under the 2nd and still be buzz-free.
  • Set neck relief as per method above
  • Set action at 12th for the two outermost strings using whatever bridge adjustments is appropriate for the instrument, say 2.5mm for the 6th string and 1.5mm for the 1st string. Use a radius gauge to set action of the remaining inner strings using the outer strings as a guide (or just eyeball it. You'll know when you play the guitar if the middle strings have lumpy-feeling action compared to the outer strings). Don't forget that the action is measured between the fret top and the underside of the string rather than the fretboard and string. On necks with big-arsed jumbo frets this can make it look like the action is much higher than it actually is.
  • Set intonation as appropriate.

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Agreed on all of the above.

Whilst this doesn't entirely further the conversation in terms of solving your issues, buzz over the first fret (or uncomfortably difficult fretting) is behind my insistence on using zero frets in almost everything. I don't like cutting nuts unless I have to. It's not that I can't, it's mostly because I see them like FWD cars. The front wheels are driving AND steering, which is a lot more to go wrong if you get my drift.

The most common cause of buzz at the lower part of the board in my own work is from an uneven radiusing method off the ends of a fretboard, where the beam rides off the end. This lowers the contacting surface area and increases downpressure, invariably leading to a dropoff near the nut. The same happens at the other end, but in most cases this is advantageous since this is where the neck stops bending under string pressure anyway. It took me a while to regiment my technique to shorter strokes, adapting pressure distribution (like planing) rather than scrubbing away.

For me, fret rockers have zero use in making objective observations about fretwork under string tension. I actually use mine to tap frets to detect poor seating as they sound hollow. Sometimes an errant fret can cause you to see errors everywhere except for where the problem lays. So much so, I do this as standard once I have cut and ground fret ends flush.

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@curtisa Thanks - this really helped.  I had nowhere near enough relief in the neck.  I still probably could give it some more, but the action is feeling kinda high.   The nut slots were right around .09-..011 I think.  I might have to touch them up ever so slightly.  There are a couple spots higher up the neck that seem to still have a litltle buzz.  Perhaps those are true high spots?

The worst problem right now is that the high E string has no sustain.  It just buzzes a little and dies out.  I found if I press ever so slightly on the string above the nut (towards the tuner), this problem goes away... so I am guessing a string tree is probably my only option?  The tuners I have are staggered height, so I thought it would end up ok, but it's not looking like it.

@Prostheta I definitely want to try a zero nut.  I almost tried this go around, but got cheap and decided against buying the $30 variety in favor of making a nut. HA! learning experiences galore :-D.  

I really wish I could get hands-on training on the set-up portion.  Figuring out what is a fret issue (since this is my first fret job) vs. set-up technique is a little frustrating.  Has anyone tried Erlewine's fret (and nut) videos?  Worth the investment?  

On the flip side of it all, it was particularly nice playing it and hearing all the tones it can create.  If I can work out these last few issues, I think I will be really happy with it.  I will need to take some good pics, but here it is 

IMG_1110.thumb.jpg.d88f0fd15333e489633fc280da8d8266.jpg

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