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So I've finally started on my first ever guitar build. "Nozcaster" = a bit of Nocaster + derivative of my nickname "Norris"

I have joined a guitar building "club" that meets for 2 hours on a Monday night, and for my weekly subscription I get access to a lot of people who have built before and a lot of machine tools that I don't have at home (and trade prices for most of the parts!). Due to a large amount of household DIY on the go, plus a wife that is keen for me to get on with that, progress on the guitar will be a little slow & steady for the time being.

For my first project I have chosen something relatively simple - my own take on a thinline telecaster. However I'm then going to complicate things a bit by doing some carving on the top, binding all round, and using fountain ink as dye (check out the lovely colours made by Diamine - I have gone for "Florida Blue"). I've spoken to a few people that have used ink as dye, and they have got some very good results and say it is colour-fast and won't fade.

Specifications are pretty much standard telecaster, but I'll be making a two piece neck with dual action truss rod that adjusts at the nut.

Unfortunately the chap that was going to lend me some plans forgot to bring them on week one, so I ended up drawing round a US telecaster that my mate (guitarist in my band) has lent me for the duration. I managed to get one template roughed out of 6mm MDF, that I then tidied up at home and used to route another 2 templates.

Week One - Some templates20150918_185246_zpskjuan12e.thumb.jpg.aba66dfbb8a563a105a8001520d88140.jpg

And then this week I got wood

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English light ash for the back of the body (apparently the same species as swamp ash) - before I squared it up20150921_201809_zpslllbjczf.thumb.jpg.49a157ee3be1bed5efb3f3f86790ff6c.jpg

Flamed maple top piece - squared up ready to join (and showing quite nice figuring even when dry)20150921_201832_zpsq09pjcoz.thumb.jpg.aecf91eeca2c4641341d2965ba0e1a51.jpg

The gluing will have to wait until next Monday.The neck pieces were just ordered as plain maple, although the main neck shows a smattering of birds eye whorls.

Edited by Norris
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It's a beautiful sunny spring morning here in the English midlands and I couldn't resist a couple of piccies... Another couple of "flow" coats on - unfortunately not quite as clean th

I'd like to make a comment about the line under your nitro on the body. I'm on builds number 2 and 3, not a very experienced luthier, but a VERY experienced furniture maker. What happens is that

Time to finally wrap this up then. First of all some videos... Demo video: Dan's Demo Video First public airing: 25 or 6 to 4 Black Magic Woman Another Brick In The

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I did a quick dye colour test last night, although the photo looks a little washed out. This is one coat of Diamine "Florida Blue" fountain pen ink applied to a scrap of pine using a microfibre cloth. The wood was relatively smooth but otherwise unfinished

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It's popped the grain quite nicely, but.you certainly don't want to handle it too much before it's had a few clear coats to seal it. It should look great on the flamed maple top.

I might burst the edges of the guitar in a slightly darker blue - but using more conventional tinted laquer

Edited by Norris
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Yes, I'm looking forward to the staining. I don't think it's quite as bad as I thought. I was getting inky fingers from some dye that I applied to the back of that strip using a cotton bud i.e. it is really thick. The dye that I wiped on with a cloth has gone on a lot better, has really popped the grain, and seems to be a lot more stable.

Anyway tonight should be joining the body back & front, squaring up the neck piece and making more templates for the neck, body cavities and carving details

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I joined the two halves of the back and top on Monday night and then scraped down the glue lines last night. It looks like I have a bit of sanding to do, as the top piece (bought as a ready cut book-matched pair) was not quite thicknessed the same on both halves. About 6" of one end runs out by about 1mm - luckily too thick rather than too thin. I should have plenty of wood to end up with my target 10mm for the top, to give me enough to play with for some subtle carving. The back piece went together nicely. At least both pieces have joined well.

No pictures in this update as not much to see.

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Good that you're up and moving on this one. I'm interested in seeing how the ink works out too. Shellac sprung to mind in keeping it locked down under the poly or whatever is going over the top. That might turn it a little green, depending on the blonde-ness of the shellac though.

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Disaster averted, fundamentals reinforced: measure, measure, measure again!

I was preparing my neck template last night using some plans that a friend has lent me.I had traced the outline from the diagram and had sanded it back to just within 1mm of where it needs to be. Then before doing the final sanding I decided to compare it to the US Telecaster that another friend has lent me for the duration to see how it measured up. That's when I discovered that the plans are not quite to scale. All of the dimensions are correct, but the diagram has been printed ever so slightly oversize! As a consequence my neck template is 5mm too long.

Obviously not a major issue, as the shape is close enough, the template is oversize and can be further sanded to the correct dimensions. Besides, it's only 6mm MDF and I could easily make another. Still it's a valuable lesson never to trust, and to always measure :)

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Ouch, that's exactly why I only ever print my own plans 1:1 from CAD with a background 10mm gridding. It makes sure that everything is square and most importantly to scale....even then I never use printed fret templates. A steel ruler and marking knife :-)

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Ouch, that's exactly why I only ever print my own plans 1:1 from CAD with a background 10mm gridding. It makes sure that everything is square and most importantly to scale....even then I never use printed fret templates. A steel ruler and marking knife :-)

Even using rulers, you have to check first if the ruler measures correctly... I was using one until I realised that it was giving me wrong measures, comparing it with other rulers I have... 

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Really? I usually tape my steel ruler down and carefully divide to the nearest quarter mm or so with a knife. It can be done pretty accurately. I haven't had any fretting templates for a long time. I'd love a table saw sled jig for doing it though.

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Your eyes are probably (undoubtedly) better than mine. Making a scribe line along the edge of the ruler can cause me problems. Somewhere along the line I end up tilting the blade a little and get a scribe just a hair off. And once scribed....

SR

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When you're right, you're right....nice non-statement, eh?

Fret templates do bring it down to a single-step job. I usually "grade" each mark with a single or double left or right arrow depending on how I feel about it. It's easy to start adding in compound tolerances but that's about as good as I think you can reasonable get without a dedicated system. I'd put it out there that I don't cut fret slots with any more than a fraction of a mm though. I'd love a bevel-edge steel ruler which brings the marks down to the workpiece rather than having a 90° edge.

@Norris is going to have to get used to the busy tangential conversations we tend to have here ;-)

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I'd love a bevel-edge steel ruler which brings the marks down to the workpiece rather than having a 90° edge.

Couldn't you make a wooden wedge the length of your rule at say a 30° angle, and use your oil stone to grind down the steel rule to the same angle? Then carefully glue the two together?

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Your eyes are probably (undoubtedly) better than mine. Making a scribe line along the edge of the ruler can cause me problems. Somewhere along the line I end up tilting the blade a little and get a scribe just a hair off. And once scribed....

SR

I'm going to have to get my eyes tested again & new glasses before I start marking out frets :)

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A proper bevel-edged rule is a thicker bit of metal. Less wibbly wobbly that a simple steel ruler! I might ask Harri over in Kuopio if he might be able to Cermark me a custom aluminium ruler on the laser. Probably simpler just to built a fretting sled.

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I was hoping for a bit more of an update today, but had slow progress last night. I was intending to rough cut the body shape, but needed to get everything flat first.

Lesson learned: If your body blank needs thicknessing, do it before you glue the two halves together, while it still fits through the thicknesser machine.

So, 2 hours of hand planing later my back piece is about flat, but still has another 3mm of material to remove. Having removed about 1.5mm of material last night, it's about 0.5mm difference between the highest & lowest corners so I'm not doing too badly (it started at about 2mm difference)

That router thicknessing jig looks very attractive, but then I'm getting a little roughness from the grain swirls (swamp ash) using a good sharp plane. With only a couple of mm left to go, I'll stick with the plane as I don't think I can trust a router on it. I'll also get on with making a couple of sanding tables

Patience young padawan

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You'd be surprised at how good a finish a router can produce with a thicknessing jig. Like making a copy routing template, the results from jigs are only ever as good as how they were built in the first place. I really need a new motor and bit for a thicknessing jig because currently I'm stuck with a horribly vague Bosch POF1200AE. It's not the worst router I've ever used by a long shot, but it's awfully tippy.

Sanding is a great way to creep up on finished sizes. If you have a wood workshop nearby with a big thickness sander, bother them for an old coarse abrasive sheet....those things run well over a metre wide and if you're lucky (off somebody else's lack of it) you can get a new sheet that the work experience kid clumsily popped a hole in on the way from the storeroom when changing them. :D

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Just rough cut for now, the back...

20151012_215524_zpsrtxohxjd.thumb.jpg.a1ce2b6131a3ea6899248d88c563b4bb.jpg

And the front...

20151012_215609_zpsyxhpwlme.thumb.jpg.22bde1516b8383d076bd555abe7c1997.jpg

The knot at the top will go when I route the inner chambers.

I'm quite liking the graining on the back - it will look good in transparent blue. It was bought as a 'plain' ash back piece, but where the plank was cut, rotated & joined it's left quite a nice, straightish grain pattern flowing through the neck line. The more patterned parts are quite sympathetic to the shape and will look even better when I round over the back edge.

Anyway in a couple of days when I can feel my arms again, I'll run the router round it, cut the chambering and get it on the sanding table to prepare for joining the top piece  :).

It's half term coming up in the UK, so no Monday night classes for two weeks. Still I've got plenty of homework to do  :D

Edited by Norris
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