Three Teles - My Current Build Series... Just For Fun.

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by mistermikev, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    so officially starting up my next project... 3 teles. Working on templates for now, and have setup my body blanks... but figured I'd kick the build thread off.

    so first up... "The Broadchaser". Planning this to be sort of a 'modern classic' - vintage looks with modern electronics (more than likely 6 way rotary). The main milestone here will be doing a relic finish.

    [​IMG]



    This one I'm calling the "Gipsum Les Flaws". Sort of tongue in cheek - not sure if I'll stick with the inlay/name as I don't want to anger the gods... but this should be a carved flame top over a quilt maple body... laminated set neck, 27.5" scale length baritone.

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    finally, what I'm calling the "Tuxedo". 30" radius top and bottom. Semi hollow.

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    that's what I'm aiming for anyway. As always all comments, questions, jokes, asides, bedtime stories, laughs at my expense, completely unrelated content - welcome in my thread.

    ===========update 11/29/19 10am =====================

    so almost done with all my templates, but waiting on some 1/8" straight bits for headstocks, fholes and other detail items.

    here are my three body blanks weighed in at the start...

    first up the baritone 'les flaws'. I bought this body on craigslist for $40... it's solid quilted maple and was already hogged out. needs a little tlc on the shape and the centerline is about 1/8" off. Thought it'd be ideal for a baritone as the maple is hard and bright and lower notes will benefit in tightness.

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    this one will be the 'tuxedo' blank.

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    and finally the broadchaser blank at 1 15/16 weighing int at a hefty 8lbs 6oz.

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    here is a blank I made up of a wenge center with flamed maple outters. both the les flawes and tuxedo necks will come out of this piece. below that is a heavily flamed piece I'm using for the broadchaser.

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    here are the 'les flaws' and tuxedo blanks cut apart and planed down rough.[​IMG]

    "If they don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy" -redgreen.

    Started working wood last night on my "broadchaser". So with that in mind I hope to learn something here and perhaps someone else will find it useful. How much weight will I reduce by doing 'x'. So below is a series of picks detailing my tele body weighed at differing points. My ash isn't as light as I thought (apparently my estimate was off a bit) so I figure I need to get it down in the 4-5 lbs weight range at the most. taking off 1/4" of wood dropped it down from 8lbs 6oz to 7lbs 9.4oz.

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    cutting it to shape took me from 7lbs 9.4oz to 6lbs 12oz

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    cut my pickup and control cavities to 1 1/4" depth... in hopes of removing as much weight as possible... that took me from 6lbs 12oz down to 6lbs 6.3oz

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    I could still remove a little off the back and get down to 1 1/2", and I think I will, but I'm guessing that isn't going to remove enough... so now I have to build a template to make a smugglers route. Since I have to do that anyway, I've decided I'm going to go back to a single coil in the neck and do a 'hidden' coil just under the pickguard and just in front of the bridge so I can keep my wiring interesting.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    =============update 11/30/19 ============================

    hogged out some smugglers route and got down to 6lbs 0.5oz

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    in the cleanup looks like we eliminated another 6oz for a total of just under 12oz removed.

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    cut the join for my les flaws top...

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    glued it up

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    my join turned out really nice - more due to the extra time taken to ensure a flat edge with shims and some hardwood with notches that were sitting underneath.

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    here's the bottom - hand sanded for less than 5 mins to get it clean so must've done it right.

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    did a wire channel in the body for the pickups/toggle but the neck tenon will close this up partially, will have to reroute that section once the neck is on.

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    hardest thiing I've done so far... not that it's spectactular or anything... but getting this right really challenged me and too a long time! alternate headstock shape for the les flaws.

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    really pleased with this top. this is one I got from downhomewoods and have had it for quite a while... just realizing now it's actually quarter sawn. not sure how easy it is to see... but it's got some really cool shimmering fleck.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  3. Duplex Dave

    Duplex Dave Active Member

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    Wow, you're on it man!
    Just a comment about the flamed maple 4/4 sawn. "Flamed, fiddleback, tiger, ect." maple is quarter sawn or very close to it, to see be able to see the flame. On the other hand "Quilted" maple is cut flat sawn (opposite to quarter) to see the quilt.
     
    mistermikev likes this.
  4. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    Hello Dave... thank you for chiming in!

    A few years back you gave me some thin mahog to help me put a veneer on my hamer steve stevens as part of a neck repair. At the time I had no way to thickness plane it and I ended up finding some thinner stuff that I used, but I think of you every time I open my parts drawer and see those mahog strips sitting there. Thank you thank you again for them! Now that I have the ability to thickness them... I keep thinking - it'd be a waste to take them down to 1/8" so I've been waiting for a build that requires a thicker control plate or other scenario where I could use them fully... but they are not going to be wasted - that is for sure!

    afa flamed... I could def learn more on the subject but my understanding is that flamed rarely shows as well when actually quartersawn and is much more evident when flatsawn or closer to flatsawn... is that innacurate?
    also, I've had lots and lots of flamed maple that doesn't have that quarter sawn 'fleck' that I've seen on qtr sawn mahog/maple... or at least it is not near as evident. Perhaps as you alluded... it's only when you get full on quarter sawn that you get that.
    From musikraft, you can order a 'flamed' neck... or you can order 'qtr sawn flamed' neck. a few years ago I ordered a qtr sawn one and similarly it had this sort of fleck... which reinforced my belief that this is true qtr sawn and that not all flamed maple is. If I am wrong about that... I apologize - my bad.
     
  5. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    so threads a little out of date so... here goes some updates:

    started working on the back access and cover routes for the les flaws

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    put my steps in 4lbs 10.5oz

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    did my neck joint on the tele... nice n tight:

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    put the 1/8" roundover on and got the pickguard aligned and it follows the horn nice...

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    rough cut my my steps for the tele carve



    [​IMG]

    My neck angle jig slipped again and I screwed up my blank for the tuxedo... so I ended up building a new sub-jig for the neck angle. Bolts on either side of the pivot bolt allow me to dial in the angle with precision and they lock themselves in position. worked like a charm! put the angle on the les flaws w/o issue:

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    so when life gives you lemons... switch to quarter-sawn mahogany! on the tuxedo blank, I could have saved it by cutting my nut slot 1/16 deeper as the angle only ran about 1/8-1/4" into the fretboard area but I figured rather than do that I'll save it for my next gibson scale neck. I was only using that blank because I had enough material leftover from the neck for the baritone... and it hadn't occurred to me that I have some 3x7 mahog that would allow for a quarter sawn neck given the tux's narrow profile. So I milled that down today...

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    ============ update 12/9/19 ===============

    got a lot done today and can barely type at this point...

    got my neck machined for the tuxedo...

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    here's how I cut the neck pocket for the tuxedo...

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    nice tight fit
     
  6. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    • [​IMG]

      started working on a radius for the internal route... but quit pretty quick. I need a long bit with a bearing and a very short cutting edge. was scary because you can't see anything and with the bit I had -as I cam to the center the bearing would be out of range. so save that for next time. you can see here I just did a little corner...

      [​IMG]

      went back in and carved it deeper with my bowl bit since I'm not doing the radius route.

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      then started my outter radius

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      and about 19 passes later...

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      so setup up on the backside...

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      and another 19 passes later... this thing is COMFY![​IMG]

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  7. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    ==============update 12/15/19 ================

    put some tru oil on the innards of the tux...

    [​IMG]

    did the neck holes for the tux

    [​IMG]did the neck holes for the broadchaser...

    [​IMG]

    then did a lil video of joining the top for my tuxedo




    here is the result:

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    put in my f-hole in just 974 easy steps!

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    and switched back to carving my les flaws:

    [​IMG]

    wow, much more work than I thought! should have done more steps (next time).



    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    ======================update 12/28/19======================

    awaiting some parts and kind of left to all the minor details of my builds for the time being, so thought I'd spend some time on my plans for electronics:

    first up: the tuxedo.

    going to be using a seymour vintage stack for the bridge, and a 4 way tele switch. I have a 4 way in a tele and didn't realize until recently that the two middle positions where NOT the two combined positions... so I changed this on my version as I prefer Bridge, BN Parallel, BN Series, Neck. Also set it up so that the bridge will be in stacked humbucker mode in pos 1, but split for the two combined positions 2 and 3. Figured it might be nice to go back to single coil for the bridge position so I've got a push pull that will accomplish that, and also swap between 50's and 60's style tone control with the lead for the tone swapping between the pickup side and the jack side.

    [​IMG]

    next up is the broadchaser:

    I'm putting a hot rail in the 'hidden' middle position so that I can use either rail for hum cancellation. That rail is a bit mismatched with the bridge which should allow the bridge pickup to dominate for a little less hum cancelling but a little more bridge flavor. Using a 4 pole 3 throw switch here for stock tele operation plus two additional modes: parallel humbuckers and series humbuckers.

    [​IMG]

    finally, the les flaws:

    I don't generally tend to care for the split singles by themselves from a humbucker, and the humbuckers I'll be using are sentient/nazgul which (I'm told) don't sound great split anyway... so I figured I'd do a simplified version of my signature "all combos" wiring... and just focus on the 4 humbucking combos: bridge-vs-neck-parallel, inside-vs-outside-parallel, inside-vs-outside-series, and bridge-vs-neck-series. Going to etch a pcb to keep the wiring of the 4p4t clean. Using a unique alph 4p4t switch that is fairly small... might have some issues getting it fitted in the carved top but... will cross that bridge. Also planning an active mid boost mounted on a push pull for this one... I have a jackson preamp etch lying in wait, and an sho... but I loved the 'switchblade' in my sweet spot build so much I might etch another of those... haven't decided.

    [​IMG]



    ================update 12/29/19==================

    shot of my setup to add the taper to the back of my necks. I started out with a common neck profile drawing for a late 50s tele. I have marked the neck with the depth from the top down at the first fret and the 12th fret... then I set the depth of the router to go right up to the mark at the 1st fret... and raise the other side of my planing rails until the blade of the router lines up with that mark.

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    and here's the product of putting in that plane...

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    and he is my tuxedo neck with the grade planed in.

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    shaped my neck for the les flaws... my first experience with wenge and sharp corners right on end grain.

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    installed my truss rod for the tuxedo...

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    and installed my truss rod for the broadchaser:

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    decided I would use some offcuts from my tuxedo top to join together for a headstock overlay:

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    cut the 4 degree slope in my les flaws... had to go snag some 6" bolts to get the correct rise/run...

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    then feathered that into the rest of the body:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    • did a test fit for my 4 way switch on the tuxedo and found I needed to remove a little more material... also have carved in my belly cut and neck transition (will show that later)... final weigh in before adding the top:

      [​IMG]

      so was thinking tonight... about a jig I might make to cut the 94 degree cut into the back and sides of the neck where it meets the body and it occurred to me...why not just make it easy on myself and cut a 90 degree transition from the 4 degree plane? This would be 86 degrees relative to the body. Then I can simply make all my cuts on the neck at 90 degrees. Skip the need to build a jig, skip that pesky sanding to match the angle... and since this isn't a traditional les paul build... no reason to not hit the easy button. Here's my 86 degree line:

      [​IMG]

      ==============update 12/04/2020==============

      started work on the broadcaster finish. wanted to document my steps here as who knows... might turn out good.

      grain fill: finish sanded to 320, made up some grain fill using some rit camel die... sort of a chocolate milk color.

      generally with ash, and with this grain filler, it's going to take a few passes of grain fill as the filler recedes. In this case... I don't want to totally fill the grain, so I'm going to do one pass.

      sanded back the grain filler and prepared for first coats of laquer.

      two light coats of mohawk whitewash laquer. since the grain is not fully filled... the whitewash sort of 'dissapears' into the heavier grain. works to my benefit here as it's keeping the grain more visible which I like, however it's still so open that I decided to do another grain fill but this time clear.

      [​IMG]

      my plan is to let the grain fill sit overnight and sand it back. have a couple spots that got a little too much white so will feather those out as well.

      did [​IMG]

      did my binding channel on my les flaws. Piece of binding seen here sitting just a hair proud in the neck join area.

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      and worked on my broadchaser neck... used a chamfer bit to get my first facets done...

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      then completed those facets with my rasp:

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      completed a secondary facet... hard to see here but I have drawn lines down the center of the neck to show me where the facet ends... from there I approximate a 67.5 degree chamfer.

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      this neck will have a vintage spec soft v... have owned a hard v but it was a bit much... thought this might be a nice pairing with the 9.5" radius fretboard. Here's a shot of her all sanded up...

      [​IMG]

      =================update 1/10/20=========================



      slapped some frets on the neck...[​IMG]

      amber dye here is looking pretty orange but a lot of that is my camera... 186.24 kB · 0 downloads [​IMG]

      sneak preview of my butterscotch body in the corner... 342.92 kB · 0 downloads [​IMG]

      ==============update 01/11/20=================

      did some relicing to the hardware...

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      control plate was the first thing I did and started out with fine steel wool to remove protective coating but it didn't do enough damage so switched to coarse... that was clearly too much! Not crazy about how it turned out so will redo that... and didn't realize the knobs are a hair small for my pot shafts so will have to order some replacements. All in all it went ok.

      wired up my broadcaster controls. again no tone control here. have a middle hot rail hidden under the pickguard that will be used for hum cancelling. mode 1 will be std tele operation. 2 will be the tele pickups operating as parallel humbuckers with each one paired with a single rail. mode 3 will be the same but in series. the vero board there is just a common place for all my pickups to be wired to. In case I've got something wrong I just swap the positions and don't (in theory) have to screw with my heatshrinked wires.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
     

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