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Captainstrat

Tele-Pine-Partscaster project!

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Hi again folks, you know it's been a long time when you forget you used to be a member of this board! ;)  I've dabbled in many projects since, some I've kept up with, some I've abandoned; but the need to put another partscaster together never quite goes away!

What started out as a "I'd like to fit an actual Fender neck in my Affinity Squier" - MIM necks can be found on Ebay - has morphed into "Let's build my dream Telecaster and sell the Squier once I'm done"...

A knotty pine Telecaster body was calling my name on Ebay. Since I wanted a different look from my home made DC Les Paul (Tung oil finish) I decided, after much seeking at the local Rona & Home Depot, to go for Watco clear lacquer, which turns out to be Nitrocellulose based. The finish is far from factory perfect, but after applying 8 coats with foam brushes and letting it dry for 9 days (yep, orange peel and runs in the finish) the wet sanding and buffing did a good job leveling the lacquer and buffing it to a nice gloss!  Not factory perfect, as there are a few spots where I sanded through the finish, but given that this was all done by hand without a spray booth or a power buffer, not bad!  The sanded-through spots? They give it a "road worn look" that won'y clash with the neck...

Found an OEM Fender Telecaster neck through Ebay...I was worried that it might be a forgery (might still be) but the Modern Player Telecasters are "crafted in China", the seller is Chinese...I've compared the headstock logo to that of the Modern Player from the Fender website and it's a match, there is a date stamped in red ink on the heel (2015-07-04)...looks like the serial # and "Crafted in China" were sanded off the back of the headstock (unless that's stamped last at the factory after the guitar has been fully assembled?  I dunno, at any rate, the back of the headstock was sanded off).

Looks like that neck might have been part of a "reject pile" at the factory: the headstock is dinged and chipped as if it had fallen off a pallet (or dropped on a concrete floor) and was later recuperated...whomever did went berserk with a Dremmel  and sandpaper tool to "relic" it...anyway, it was cheap, so I pulled the trigger.

Problem 1 - the string hole on the low E-string isn't aligned with its ferrule hole.  The proper fix would be to dowel the ferrule hole, re-drill a pilot hole from the top (using the bridge as a guide) and then re-drill the ferrule hole with a countersink drill bit.  Problem is all I have is a hand held power drill, and a regular set of drill bits. If I were to get the one countersink drill bit I need, what diameter should I get, and how can I make sure I don't drill too deep?

Problem 2 - the body is based on a thinline body, I'm worried that the lack of thickness might result in the neck bolts going straight through the fingerboard...I was thinking of adding layers of masking tape under the neck plate to add a bit of extra thickness and protect the neck from being drilled through for a tight fit...while we're at it, any tips to prevent accidentally drilling too deep?  I tried the "tape guide", but I find the tape sometimes wiggles loose!

Problem 3 - once all assembled, it will desperately need a fret dress. It looks that some frets were filed at the factory (others are perfectly crowned, others show filing marks) but that the work was abandoned when the headstock got damaged...wither way, there's still plenty of work ahead!imageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182aimageproxy.php?img=&key=b0e8b6d47833182a

BTW, the camera angle makes it look like the G string is also off-center,and the D string hole is still partly blocked with wax paste (from the wet sanding, to protect the raw wood), the only problematic hole is the low E string (on the right)

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Edited by Captainstrat

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2 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

Problem 1 - the string hole on the low E-string isn't aligned with its ferrule hole.  The proper fix would be to dowel the ferrule hole, re-drill a pilot hole from the top (using the bridge as a guide) and then re-drill the ferrule hole with a countersink drill bit.  Problem is all I have is a hand held power drill, and a regular set of drill bits. If I were to get the one countersink drill bit I need, what diameter should I get, and how can I make sure I don't drill too deep?

In the photo the low-E ferrule hole looks equally spaced compared to the others. Is the string hole on the top lined up correctly with the bridge plate? Could it be that all the holes are actually correcly aligned and spaced relative to the face they were drilled from, and the string hole has wandered off centre as it's been drilled and exited slightly to one side inside the ferrule hole?

If you put a ferrule in the low-E position, can you still get the string through it? It may be that while it doesn't look fantastic at the moment, it might still be perfectly servicable and completely invisible once the guitar is assembled. If this is the case, you could also use the ferrule as a drilling guide to align a drill bit passing in through the back of the guitar to re-align the centre of the ferrule with the off-centre string hole. If you use the ferrules with the raised shoulder they should also assist covering up the slight ovalling that looks like is on the right side of the low-E hole in your pic too.

If accuracy is important to you, I'd probably only trust a plug/redrill-type repair to a drill press and a set of brad point bits. If you are strapped for resources to do this repair, I'd start by looking at what you actually need to achieve in the first place and simplify your approach if you can. All you really need is a clear line for the string to thread through from back to front. The ferrule and bridgeplate can easily disguise any sins that might be going on in between.

 

2 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

Problem 2 - the body is based on a thinline body, I'm worried that the lack of thickness might result in the neck bolts going straight through the fingerboard...I was thinking of adding layers of masking tape under the neck plate to add a bit of extra thickness and protect the neck from being drilled through for a tight fit...while we're at it, any tips to prevent accidentally drilling too deep?  I tried the "tape guide", but I find the tape sometimes wiggles loose!

If buying shorter neck screws isn't part of the deal, just do what I do and cut the tip of the screw off with a hacksaw. Provided the neck screw pilot holes have been pre-drilled to the correct diameter and depth, it won't make a shred of difference to the integrity of the neck joint.

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If you have to use the tape round the drill bit method as a depth guide, leave a flap of tape sticking out. You'll find this will clear the waste away from the hole so you can see when to stop a little easier

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"In the photo the low-E ferrule hole looks equally spaced compared to the others. Is the string hole on the top lined up correctly with the bridge plate? Could it be that all the holes are actually correctly aligned and spaced relative to the face they were drilled from, and the string hole has wandered off centre as it's been drilled and exited slightly to one side inside the ferrule hole?"

You know, I never even thought of that! I'm still awaiting some parts to be delivered, (the ferrules being part of them)...at first glance the string holes all seem to match the bridge plate, but it might be worth it to remove the saddle and have a good look.  if all I need to do is re drill the low E string hole from the bridge plate and it realigns it to the ferrule hole's centre, then great!

I've thought of shorter neck screws but wasn't sure if they all come standard length for Fender? If shorter ones exist I'm all for it!

"f you have to use the tape round the drill bit method as a depth guide, leave a flap of tape sticking out. You'll find this will clear the waste away from the hole so you can see when to stop a little easier"

I never even thought of that, thanks for the tip!

 

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So what do you think?  With or without Bettie? I've been a Bettie Page fan for a long time, and that decal would cover the knot nicely and give it a cool Rockabilly vibe, whadya think?

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I think curtisa meant to drill through from the ferrule side, loosely fitting the ferrule as a guide for your drill bit (use a bit that is smaller than the ferrule hole). Thin drill bits can wander a bit when going through fairly thick wood - which looks like what has happened. First of all check that the exit hole is in the correct place on the bridge side. Then drill through from the ferrule side so that the entrance hole is in the correct place - this will probably wander into the existing hole somewhere in the middle of the body, so stop at that point. You might then need to use a needle file to smooth the path between the two, so that the string has a reasonably straight path.

By the way there is a Quote button under each reply to your thread which might be easier to use than copying and pasting. You can hit that button on several replies to add them to your reply. The added bonus is the person you quote gets notified that you've quoted them :)

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6 minutes ago, Norris said:

I think curtisa meant to drill through from the ferrule side, loosely fitting the ferrule as a guide for your drill bit (use a bit that is smaller than the ferrule hole). Thin drill bits can wander a bit when going through fairly thick wood - which looks like what has happened. First of all check that the exit hole is in the correct place on the bridge side. Then drill through from the ferrule side so that the entrance hole is in the correct place - this will probably wander into the existing hole somewhere in the middle of the body, so stop at that point. You might then need to use a needle file to smooth the path between the two, so that the string has a reasonably straight path.

By the way there is a Quote button under each reply to your thread which might be easier to use than copying and pasting. You can hit that button on several replies to add them to your reply. The added bonus is the person you quote gets notified that you've quoted them :)

D'Oh! I'll know for next time! looks like the exit holes all line up with the respective string holes on the bridge plate, agreed, the holes for the wound strings may need to be enlarged a bit.  As soon as the damn ferrules are delivered, I'll try to use one as a guide and hope that it does in fact wander into the existing hole somewhere in the middle of the body as you say...knock on wood!

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Say, this may or may not work, but how about using a piece of wound string (.32 -.42) and use it as a piece of abrasive rope?  Rather than a re-drill, I simply enlarge the bottom part of the hole so it reaches the centre of the ferrule hole?  Since pine is a soft wood I might be able to get away with it?

Never mind, I've found a local supplier who carries actual abrasive cords & tapes!

Edited by Captainstrat

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Sooo...after waiting over a month, the ferrules are finally delivered and they're the wrong size :angry:, too long and too narrow.  Looks like it;s Guitarfetish time, for the right sized ferrules...more waiting :angry:

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Okay, ordered a set of vintage style ferrules and a vintage style string guide from Guitarfetish, and (why not) a pack of 3 sets of strap locks, one chrome (for my thinline PRS), one gole (for my home built DC Les Paul) and one black which I can use on my MIM Strat...I've spend all that money on those axes, might as well keep 'em safe right?  ';)  I'd already ordered a set of strap locks for my Telecaster build but what the hell, let's protect my investment on all of 'em! ;)

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As I await delivery of the rest of the parts, i made use of my digital calipers.  I'm a noob, so after looking up how to properly measure the length of the necks screws clearing the neck pocket; I got a 20.67 mm measurement; which is in the ballpark of the 20.225 mm measurement I'd found on Telecaster Forums. 

I also measure the heel thickness, which is 24.02 mm on the sides.  Since the necks have a radius, I figured I'd err on the side of caution and measure the heel where it's a bit thinner (rather than from the middle at the top of the radius). Which should leave me with enough clearance not to have an accident and drill right through the fingerboard (as it happened to me in the past). 

According to the telecaster Forum, a drill bit slightly larger than 1/8" (9/64" or even 5/32) is preferable as it makes the screw thread easier.  I might apply a bit of paste wax on the threads too.

Since I don't have any fancy jigs, I might start pilot holes using the neck pocket itself as a drilling jig, using one of my trusty Mastercraft clamps (which are rubber padded) drilling only the surface of the heel.  Then, measure the drill bit and using a collar with set screw as a depth guide, finish drilling the holes... 

 

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16 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

According to the telecaster Forum, a drill bit slightly larger than 1/8" (9/64" or even 5/32) is preferable as it makes the screw thread easier.  I might apply a bit of paste wax on the threads too.

That depends on the size screw you're using. Don't forget that driving a screw into a neck isn't proprietary function solely owned by the guitar world. It's an operation that's employed by anyone wanting to secure two pieces of wood together.

If I ever need to quickly determine the correct size of a pilot hole, I'll just grab a piece of scrap timber and drill a test hole into it. If the screw falls out of the hole or offers nearly no resistance to being driven in, the pilot hole is too large. If the screw starts binding or getting so stiff that it becomes difficult to drive in by hand, the pilot hole is too small. You can usually speed up the pre-selection of your pilot hole by eyeballing the drill bit against the screw - the drill bit diameter should be just a fraction smaller than the outer diameter of the screw threads.

I personally wouldn't use lubrication to help a screw into a tight hole, unless the material I was driving it into was particularly hard or the screws were particularly fragile.

 

16 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

Since I don't have any fancy jigs, I might start pilot holes using the neck pocket itself as a drilling jig, using one of my trusty Mastercraft clamps (which are rubber padded) drilling only the surface of the heel.  Then, measure the drill bit and using a collar with set screw as a depth guide, finish drilling the holes... 

I would think that is the way most people would drill the neck screws. The holes are already in the body - use them as your drilling template.

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please forgive if this has been covered... or is otherwise irrelevant but i found it a good trick so passing on... take pickgaurd screws and screw them into the body within the neck pocket facing up, then get the neck lined up and press body and neck together: perfect little x where each neck screw pilot should go. 

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7 hours ago, curtisa said:

That depends on the size screw you're using. Don't forget that driving a screw into a neck isn't proprietary function solely owned by the guitar world. It's an operation that's employed by anyone wanting to secure two pieces of wood together.

If I ever need to quickly determine the correct size of a pilot hole, I'll just grab a piece of scrap timber and drill a test hole into it. If the screw falls out of the hole or offers nearly no resistance to being driven in, the pilot hole is too large. If the screw starts binding or getting so stiff that it becomes difficult to drive in by hand, the pilot hole is too small. You can usually speed up the pre-selection of your pilot hole by eyeballing the drill bit against the screw - the drill bit diameter should be just a fraction smaller than the outer diameter of the screw threads.

I personally wouldn't use lubrication to help a screw into a tight hole, unless the material I was driving it into was particularly hard or the screws were particularly fragile.

 

I would think that is the way most people would drill the neck screws. The holes are already in the body - use them as your drilling template.

 

I'll weigh in. I have multiple sets of Vernier calipers kicking around the place so they're always to hand. Measuring the screw's threaded shank with calipers between the threads is good. Going one size under is great. One size over is less than perfect. I work in Metric almost exclusively, so I drop to the nearest mm. Any pilot hole is better than none at all; a 3mm pilot is the most common size I use for any screws I use at work, sometimes 4mm. I've never needed to add soap or candle wax, however it is a good idea for guitars simply because the less resistance the screw has going in translates to less potential for the bit skipping over the head and ruining a show face. This is why I have a load of cheap screws that I use to drive a thread first before finishing up with the lookers. Obviously, same thread size.

Agreed 100% about using the neck as the marking template. Drop a drill in, tap it with a hammer and go for gold.

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6 minutes ago, Captainstrat said:

Votes one for, one against, need a tie breaker ;)

 

How about another vote from me? :thumb:

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7 hours ago, curtisa said:

That depends on the size screw you're using. Don't forget that driving a screw into a neck isn't proprietary function solely owned by the guitar world. It's an operation that's employed by anyone wanting to secure two pieces of wood together.

If I ever need to quickly determine the correct size of a pilot hole, I'll just grab a piece of scrap timber and drill a test hole into it. If the screw falls out of the hole or offers nearly no resistance to being driven in, the pilot hole is too large. If the screw starts binding or getting so stiff that it becomes difficult to drive in by hand, the pilot hole is too small. You can usually speed up the pre-selection of your pilot hole by eyeballing the drill bit against the screw - the drill bit diameter should be just a fraction smaller than the outer diameter of the screw threads.

I personally wouldn't use lubrication to help a screw into a tight hole, unless the material I was driving it into was particularly hard or the screws were particularly fragile.

 

I would think that is the way most people would drill the neck screws. The holes are already in the body - use them as your drilling template.

According to my calipers, the screws are 5/32" in diameter

 

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Then I reckon you'd want to use a 9/64" or 3.5mm pilot hole. 1/8" is probably going to be pretty tight, 5/32" probably won't hold the screw. Give it a go in scrap timber first to see what difference it makes.

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1 hour ago, curtisa said:

Then I reckon you'd want to use a 9/64" or 3.5mm pilot hole. 1/8" is probably going to be pretty tight, 5/32" probably won't hold the screw. Give it a go in scrap timber first to see what difference it makes.

Oddly enough, the 9/64" drill bit was the one I figured I'd be using! :)  I have a few pieces of scrap pine I can practice on

Edited by Captainstrat

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9 hours ago, Prostheta said:

 

How about another vote from me? :thumb:

:D why not? :D  I'd ordered that decal because the large knot bothered me, and lo and behold, it's just the perfect size :) agreed, I'd much prefer a natural look, but the knot is an eyesore in my opinion, whereas Bettie is eye candy ;) 

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Okay here's a neck fitting. The neck pocket is nice and tight. I drilled shallow pilot holes, which I'll enlarge and drill to the appropriate depth later. Somehow, the holes don't seem to be evenly spaced from the center of the neck's skunk stripe, but I can't move it any farther left or right, and it seems to be properly centered on the photo...

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Edited by Captainstrat

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Progress report - took a chance with the rubber depth stops - no drill through yay! I used a hand drill as opposed to a power drill, to have full control of the drill bit..extra work but it paid off.  Did a bit of cussing installing the tuning pegs... but it seems to be holding. I'm still awaiting the ferrules and string retainer from Guitarfetish as well as the strap locks.

I might need to slightly shift the bridge so the strings align properly, the "string test I performed last evening showed that the strings would be too close to the treble side, I'll be able to double-check once the ferrules are installed and I can string it for the first time! :)

 

And once that's all done...fret dress!

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Edited by Captainstrat

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