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A ‘Telecaster’

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2 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I don't want to fuel a derailment, however I always hoped that the Finnish language name for the ancient Persian city of Persepolis would be "Persepoliisi".

. . . and wasn't it?

(I'm afraid I didn't understand. When I came to France I was 45. I married a French woman. I worked in a French company for 20 years. I've been retired for 14. I still have trouble with French, so Finnish . . . :( )

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I grew up with a basic understanding of French, but not in depth. Mostly of the generation that was brought up as being European as opposed to merely "British"; being part of a greater and richer whole that emerged after the chaos of two world wars. Unfortunately, it seems that regression has left us more worldly, longer-sighted types out in the cold a bit...!

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Made some matching knobs too. Started by cutting out circles on the band saw.


And sanding them as near round as possible.


I have a small model making lathe and milling machine. The lathe was a retirement present from work colleagues and the mill a retirement present to myself. They are both very useful for this sort of thing.





I don’t have any sophisticated accessories for the machines, so I made this little gizmo to cut grooves in the outside of the knobs. Cut groove. Loosen screw. Turn one division. Tighten screw. Etc., etc.



Finished knobs.



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5 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Fantastic idea in lieu of a dividing plate! What was your trade pre-retirement? I would imagine that your discipline and your problem-solving skills were part and parcel of that. The sanding caul is beautiful. I would only be able to over-engineer such a simple tool 😉

Thank you Prostheta for your very generous remarks.

I served an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering (when that sort of thing still existed) learning what a lathe, a milling machine, a surface grinder, etc, was, in the apprentice training school, and then spending 6 months in every department on the shop floor until I finished in the drawing office as a design draughtsman. Looking back, I was very lucky to start out there. It was a firm where everything was done in-house. Machine shop, sheet metal shop, forge, foundry, pattern shop, toolroom, everything.

I then went to work as draughtsman for an Industrial Designer called David Mellor (CBE, FCSD,RDI)


where, in the tiny workshop occupied by 3 silversmiths, there was also a lathe, a milling machine and a surface grinder, as well as a woodworking bench, a circular saw, a bandsaw and a planer-thicknesser. The boss worked as a freelance consultant for various people and we made models (usually full-size) of most of his designs. We had great fun (to the consternation of the locals) setting up a half-barrier crossing with traffic lights on a disused railway line and flooding his lawn with a full size model of a fountain for the botanic gardens in Cambridge.

After 20 years I left (the work was great but the boss was a PITA) and moved to France (cherchez la femme) where I was lucky enough to get a job (again as a design draughtsman) in a small firm in Bordeaux. At first on the drawing board, paper and pencil, then 2D Autocad and in the end 3D Pro Engineer.

I retired at 65 and for the last 14 years I’ve amused myself making music (think of a sort of French barn dance band) and instruments for myself, one or two friends, and family.

Sorry to go on at such length, but you did ask!

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You're right, I did ask! Very comprehensive answer as well, and I sort of suspected you'd have a bit of a background in that general field. Your solutions seem either engineered, or literally the simplest tool for the task with a thorough understanding of why it will work. "As simple as possible, but no simpler" I believe the phrase goes.

I do think that many desktop workers (myself included) lose a vital sense of scale from not working concepts in the real world first. For me, that's something I spend a lot of time with in CAD, exploring how light interacts with objects....especially for home furnishings and other items. Single planes bore me, but in my professional work they bring the money in.

I grew up in an area that used to have that old idea of a "job for life" just by virtue of where you were born (fishing industry), plus the tail end of what we'd consider real apprenticeships. That doesn't exist any more, and I don't believe the deep core knowledges and abilities can be learnt only by dipping one's toes in. I do what I do both for work and for enjoyment, my hope being that by playing both sides of the game I can continue elevating what I do. There's always more to learn and master, and then learn you never really mastered it, just "became more consistent" 😉

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So, that was all the bits and pieces made. All that was left was to apply finish and screw them all together. I say ‘all ‘. Finishing is my ‘bête noire’. I always seem to have problems.

I pore-fill with Z-poxy Finishing Resin which is fine. It’s easy to sand. I even gave the maple top a coat because, although it’s not supposed to need it, it really ‘pops’ the figure. But I always seem to find that, even after two or three applications, when I start to apply whatever finish, unfilled pores start showing up.

I’ve had success with Tru Oil in the past but sometimes find it dries too fast and in the wiping off picks up tiny fibres.  So this time I used Liberon Finishing Oil which seemed OK on the back, but again I found little specks on the front. So I sanded it off the front and applied a few coats of Osmo Polyx. Although this went on and wiped off fine, I still had smear marks so, in the wiping off, I started wiping so vigorously that I seemed to be polishing it. In fact, for a satin finish, it looked quite shiny, so I stopped.

I don’t recommend this finishing procedure!


Anyway, I finally got all the bits screwed together and this is what it looks like.

There’s some colour variation in the photos. They were taken in indirect daylight and the sun kept going in and out, which didn’t help and this maple seems to change colour depending on the angle from which you look at it.

Without the bridge cover.


Showing the discrete arm bevel and the bridge cover. It looked OK on the drawing, it’s the same width as the pickup rings but in reality it’s rather intrusive, even though I modified it by making it sloping.


The pickup rings with black screws. The pickups come with chrome screws (which I dislike) so I mounted them from the back.


Full frontal. Should have put the bridge cover on as it might have looked OK in this view. Too late now.


Back view. I lke battery boxes. No hassle or risk of damaging the wiring if the battery needs changing.


Body/neck junction. This probably doesn’t make the instrument any nicer to play, but I find it more aesthetically pleasing. I’m sure Fender could do something similar if they wished. After all, they’re made by robots these days, but perhaps the purists would be up in arms if they got rid of that big, clunky square block. I know they’ve introduced what they call a ‘sculpted heel’ on some models which, I imagine, is no more ergonomic then mine. YMMV.


A closer view of the arm bevel.


And one of the clunky bridge cover.


Knobs and switch and jack socket.


Headstock front. (I really should have straightened that string tree.)


And the back.


If you have been, thanks for watching.

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Absolutely fantastic Dave, and moreso given the very short building window this one was created within! Normally I'm not a fan of wood knobs and switch tips, however they seem to carry their own weight with balance. I like that.

re: Epoxy pore filling. Do you heat your components prior to application? This is the simplest way to encourage epoxy into filling surface features. Heating the wood with a hair dryer or taking it to a warm area like sauna works wonders. Heating the epoxy is generally good for reducing viscosity in pouring, however it will soon lose that heat to the environment and the workpiece, especially when the thermal mass is reduced via spreading. Both can be used in combination of course, as the epoxy will lose less heat to a pre-heated workpiece. The second-best option is thinning the epoxy with 5-10% of solvent such as "paint thinner" or acetone. I wouldn't recommend this since it's unpredictable how this will affect the epoxy over the short and long term, ie. curing issues, discolouration or other defects.

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11 hours ago, JayT said:

If I see another “first build” crafted anywhere near this well and looking fantastic to boot I’m going to just walk into the ocean. 
@Dave Higham this is a GOTM contender for sure, great work!

Thank you for your comments but I hasten to say it's not a 'first build'. It's a first electric guitar. I have made basses and other odd acoustic instruments. As for GOTM, it seems a bit presumptuous for a first build thread on this forum.

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There's nothing wrong entering the GOTM after such a detailed build thread. You've been both educating and entertaining us with your ideas and stories for a month and a half now so you're definitely worthy.

I would think differently if the GOTM entry were your first post ever after 10 minutes of joining.


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