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First build: Zebra-caster

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so, my Ibanez -customizing project has turned into a first build project, so I started a new topic.

over the years I have done some customizing: routing for humbuckers, replacing a crappy trem with a Floyd, refretting and radiusing necks. Never have I built a body from scratch , so I'll categorize this as my first build, eventhough I'm reusing the Ibanez neck I have re-radiused and will be refretted.

The specs:

  • Tele - style Mahogany body with 6mm Zebrano top (ordered)
  • Dimarzio Paf Joe and Paf-pro humbucking pickups
  • Edge floating trem
  • 1 Volume, 1 Tone (push pull) for single coil switching on custom control plate
  • 250mm radiused neck with zebrano headstock finish
  • no pickguard

I've found some online plans for a Tele 72 custom which I've printed out to create a template from.

have drawn the routings for the edge trem and humbuckers. The plan is to put the pickup selector in the lower horn.

I'd like to find or create a nice custom control plate. Still need some inspiration for that.

Here's some pics. Including one of my professional guitar parts storage.

wood is on order, I'll get some MDF to make some routing templates from as well. I'm also thinking of making my own control knobs on my old man's lathe. Still thinking about a particular style for the control plate and knobs.

to be continued








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9 minutes ago, mjrbuzz said:

Awesome?s like the same plan I used f?or mine, check the dimensions on that drawing, I actually had to reduce min to get it correct to the stock numbers  only like 2% but just check them to be sure :)



what do you mean with stock numbers?

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well I had some numbers for the plate in the back from a blue print and they didn't match exactly, also the neck pocket was a lil large, and by a lil I mean maybe 1/16 or 1/32. I would just check them all out before drilling or routing out anything. it wasn't much but too much for me :)


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Unfortunately I've got a few busy weeks coming up, so not expecting much progress in february. In between I'll try to make some templates for the body as well as the Edge-trem and pickup-cavities. Then in march I'll try to book a day to roughcut and route the wire channel for the pickup selector so I can then glue the Zebra top on. 

in the mean time I'm gathering as much information and advice as possible, so expect some questions!

still not sure if I'm going to use a control plate or not either.



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  • 1 month later...

Back again. Managed to find a few hours this afternoon to get started on my templates.

A while back I hired a local carpenter to do some work around the house and it turns out he has his own workshop which I can use! this is great because having some good machinery available makes a lot of things a whole lot easier.

so, today I cut and sanded my body template and got started on my pickup and floyd routing templates. I only had 2 hours, but it's a great feeling to actually get started!

hopefully I can get some more time over the next couple of weeks. I'll get myself a workmate at home first so I can do some routing on the templates. Next time I'm in the workshop I can probably cut and route my actual body!


zebracaster 02.jpg

zebracaster 01.jpg

Edited by 10pizza
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16 hours ago, killemall8 said:

Bring that guard down on that bandsaw!

didn't know it could be brought down! Next time I will!

he's a great guy and he knows there will be more work for him coming, so that probably helps... :thumb:


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It certainly can be! :thumb:

The two guide bearings each side of the blade and rear thrust bearing can also be adjusted (if they're not screwed up) to prevent side-to-side/twisting movement of the blade and backwards movement respectively. I adjust guide bearings with a piece of paper and snug up the thrust bearing. Ask the owner and see what he thinks. If you live with a bandsaw (or any tool) you learn its eccentricities and best working setups. Sometimes what is accepted as "the usual way to do it" might not be so with a fractious or worn machine.

Or Italian machines. Seriously. I've worked with all kinds of post-war and modern Italian machines, and they ALL suck balls.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back again .Managed to find an hour tonight to do some routing. One of the problems I had was that I didn't have proper routing bits, so last week I ordered some bits, some with bearings on top of the shaft and 1 with the bearing on the end. 

Did a testroute for a body-mounted humbucker cavity. I used a piece of MDF that I already screwed up on ;) to test. I also gave my router some maintenance as it didn't move up and down very easily anymore.

And as always, it's such a blessing to have proper tools! It really puts the fun in it all.

attached a pic of my test. It ended up a bit to big of a cavity, but it's just for test so tomorrow I'll know how to do it right!



test route web.jpg

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Also, a question I hope you guys can help me with:

I've received my matching zebrawood top which I'll glue together on top of the mahogany back (once I get there ).

Do you guys do any special preparation on sides of the toppieces before you glue them together? Also, do you first glue the two halfs together and then later on top of the back of do you glue it all in one go?





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You'll need to glue the halves together and then make sure the result is properly flattened before gluing that to the body.

I suppose if the two halves are already perfectly flat you could do it all at once, but anything slightly out of true will show as a glue line or gap.


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