so im back at my moms house for the weekend and started going through my old tools and think i have all i need to try and attempt making a body. gonna do a telecaster of some sort for the ease of design(no 3d sanding/rasping) and i have 2 teles and want either a 3rd or canabalise the one i just rebuilt for parts.

anyways i found a plane and router, some rasps, and i already have a drill back at my place, and here if i start here.

my first question is what kind of router bit should i be looking for to do the cutaways on the body for pickups/electronics. i have no bits besides a finishing one thats in the router now?

2nd: can i or should i resharpen the plane blade or buy a new one? its a stanley, and its very heavy solid blade so im not sure if its even wise to sharpen it.

at my moms art studio she has some thick pieces of mahogany im probobly gonna try to use, i havnt seen em yet but i know the thinest pieces are no less than a inch and a half, and some 3+ inches thick, and ranging from 4-10 inches wide maybe wider, i'll have to see. and 2+ ft long, some possibly 6 ft. its all leftover wood from a dinning room table we had built a few years back. i might do a maple top or something similar if its not thick enough, but from gauging how the table looks i should be fine.

now a few questions about the wood:

how is mahogany going to sound compaired to swamp ash(my other tele, so i'll use it as a compairson)? brighter? warmer? i know some, alot, of people say it dosnt really make a difference, but it makes some, and even though im pretty set on using this wood, if for some reason it seems like a bad move i'll have to rethink it. but its very high quality mahogany so i doubt it will be an issue

wood glue? what kind? whats best? i used gorilla glue before gluing wood together with not bad, but not good results so i know im not using that.

if i was going to route it from the back how would i go about drilling the holes sideways to run the wires? or is this a bit much for a first try and stick with a pickgaurd so i dont have to drill sideways? ive done alot of woodwork before, but im not gonna lie its been a year since my last big project(beerpong table with some random BS built on it, oil finished etc etc.) and even longer since a finishing job and detail work one before that, expecially router work. so simple might be better to aviod eye sores.

neck... should i even bother trying to build one? that by far seems the hardest part, and the easiest to f- up. if the body comes out good with all the free stuff i have already i dont mind dropping $200 or so on a good blank neck, although i'd much much much rather have a hand built one, even if not by me but it would be a bonus. but a nice handmade neck would probobly get set in instead of screwed in for that added niceness factor

im not gonna worry about exact dementions of the pickups/electronics, and the layout because step one is gonna be glueing body together and cutting rough design. from there i know i dont know what direction i wana go in. i love both my teles for different reasons, one is 2 single coils, one is 2 humbuckers. i'd say 99% chance i do the 2 HB because the 2 SC is a fender, the 2 HB is a squire. the 2 HBs are dimarzios ( virtual PAFs i think 196 and 197 im pretty sure was the model numbers) with 2volume 2tone push/pull knobs wired "jimmy page les paul style1" which sounds amazing. and although i love the way it plays and well, its made out of agathis and its painted black, i prefer wood finish.

im sure i have 50 more questions but i'll keep it semi-short for now. and i'll take pics of the whole build and document it all.... man i cant wait to get started.

edit: ok alot longer post than i though... haha
Your gonna want a band saw or coping saw, as those are the easiest things to cut a body out on. For glue, get a bottle of Titebond II weatherproof glue. It looks yellow, not white, but you may not even need it with those crazy big pieces of wood. Go with a pickguard, one like a Tele Custom. It would be awesome if you could do a neck-thru Tele, since you like natural finishes, and a maple stripe down a mahogany body would look great. And you get better sound, sustain, and its easier to build this way. Stewmac has some nice Neck-thru necks. Also check out the Finishing guide on here and reranch.com for some help with the finish.
i really like that idea of doing the maple strip, im just scared of trying to do a neck right now cause my woodworking skills are rusty, still good, but ya know... a little f-up and the whole thing is ruined, expecially if its a neck through.

yeah i was thinking of doing a tele custom pickgaurd(cause my 2 HB tele is a squire tele custom haha).

i'll check the finishing guide for sure, but thats what i feel most confident with right now, ive done a few wood finishing project recently and all came out better than expected. sanded to a 4-500 grit then used progressivly finer grades of steel wool with lint seed oil till its smoother than glass.

so i understand how and why a bandsaw is ideal, but if i use a jigsaw and cut it 1/8 or 1/4 bigger than i want i could sand/rasp it down to the correct size correct? band saw seems like a much better idea now that i realize the task of doing that. i dont have access to one though, is the problem.

just had an brainstorm... could i do a mahogany neck? is the wood strong enough? i really need to see what im working with, but i've committed myself to this project metally so if i need to, i'll goto the lumber yard for whatever else i need. i like the idea of maybe (if the wood is big enough) trying to make a 1 peice body&neck or however i can make it work with maybe a maple flametop finger board. i think that would look like tits. kinda a backwards design of dark wood with lightwood fingerboard rather than the traditional maple/rosewood necks.

is stewmac a UGer or company.. f-it i'll search first

editk found the site for it... i like the idea alot... a whole lot. wow a whole lot... didnt wana drop $250 though.
Last edited by chris024 at May 8, 2008,
random thought.. but would attempting to make a neck with say... a piece of 2x4 or something be worth practicing on? i cant see a reason why it would be no. i really wana do the neck through design now, but dont wana f-up a good piece of wood, cause it will be hand picked and i dont want to cry when i fail... haha
You could practice making a neck out of a 2x4 to get the dimensions and such right, but I'd reeeeally advise against making a neck out of one and attempting to use it.

As for the plane blade, definitely sharpen it. It's not difficult to do, they generally just have a single bevel and are chisel ground (only sharpened on one side). Sharpen with an sharpening stone or diamond sharpener laid flat on a table/workbench and held steady. Place the bevel (the flat bit that makes the edge) flat on the sharpener and push it forward as though shaving the sharpener. Keep the bevel flat on the stone.

And the wood glue, the part that people generally screw up on is the clamping. You want to clamp the wood together as tight as you can get it, as most glues are pretty weak on their own. When you're gluing heavy bits of wood together, particularly if it's going to have string tension, clamping is a necessity.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
oh theres no question i wouldnt use the 2x4. im putting, or planning on putting alot of work into this and i really wont be happy unless is looks damn perfect. if i f- something up, redo the whole thing.

i'll have to find a bunch of big clams as i only have maybe 4 C-clamps that only open 6 inches or so.

ive got a grinding wheel and back at my house a ft long sharpening stone, so i'll just give that a try, even though the blade has a few knicks, im sure i can get rid of em.

im hoping today some time i can go check out the wood and see what im working with, i'll start taking pics when i get some wood together
Quote by chris024
ive got a grinding wheel and back at my house a ft long sharpening stone, so i'll just give that a try, even though the blade has a few knicks, im sure i can get rid of em.

What kind of grinding wheel? If y'mean something like a bench grinder, don't use it. You want something that'll sharpen the blade getting it too hot (thus ruining the heat treatment). Some grinders will have very slow settings for sharpening tool blades though, which should be alright. As a general rule of thumb, don't let the blade get too hot to hold.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate
ok, wont use it. i'll stick to my sharpening stone i have back home. i like using that better for sharpening my knives anyways
you can sharpen the plane very easily, i sharpen my planes EVERY WEEK.

you need 220 wet/dry sandpaper the plane blade will have ont flat edge on the bottom, hen the angle of the blade, then flat on top. you want to but the blade angle flat(square) on top of the sandpaper, which will also be on a flat surface, and just sand away until you get a slight burr on the very edge of the blade, then flip it around to the bottom and do the same, then sand slighly with some 400 or 600 grit paper.
so i was at a local open mic night and this guy was playing a classical guitar plugged in and it got me thinking... what about a classical style guitar head on an electric? any reason this hasnt been done? i'd have to give the design a few tweaks more than likely but seems like a half decent idea. it would be something different... thats for sure. once i do a mock up drawing i may change my mind
got the wood today. i ended up with 3 pieces of mahogany all 6-8 inches wide. they had some stain on some parts but ive already sanded alot of it off. they are all over 20 inches long and around 1 and 17/32 or 9/16 thick. not perfect but the quality of wood seems top grade and it was free. one has a little crack on the outer inch of one corner, which can be cut out.

i need clamps now, im guessing no less than 8? every 2 inches or so to glue em together.

i picked up a set of router bits and 80 120 220 and 320 grit sand paper, along with coarse, medium, fine and ultra fine steel wool.

i dont have a guitar here with me, anyone have a max dementions of a telecaster? im thinking its around 18x13x2 which makes me think i need a top of some sort on it to give it a little more thickness. i know for sure im using 2 volume 2 tone 2 HB with 4 push/pull pots so i need a semi deep cavity for the electronics, probobly deeper than 1.5 inches, or at least close enough to that where i dont want to risk going through the bottom of the wood.
assuming you are going to use nylon strings, that would be retarded where as pickups.. pickup metal vibrations (magnets).

nylon wont do so well my friend. and normal strings are not meant to be wound like on a nylon headstock.
god no not nylon strings, just the style for the head/tuning keys. but ive already given up on that idea and i think since this is my first build im going to stick to a bolt on neck, probobly the neck off my squire or buy one untill i can make one. i really like the through neck idea, however its a bit much for me to tackle on my first try. too much can go wrong and i cant afford to buy one then **** it up and ruin the whole project.

since i dont have a band saw and really dont wana try to jigsaw it im just gonna visit a few shops around my area and see who can professionally cut it for me for a reasonable price, and get them to get it all even. if its too thin after that, i'll throw a top of some sort on it. im heading back to my apartment tomorrow for when i can actually start on some of this work.

now i had an idea for clamping, since i dont own a single clamp wide enough to hold even 2 boards together, let alone 3, and the cheapest ones i could find were $17 a piece and i dont wana spend $150 on clamps, i'd rather buy a neck. if i had them stacked vertically with cinderblocks on either side for lateral support, then had 2 25lb weights(or more if needed) on em to hold pressure down would that work or will the glue expand and push em up? i did this, or something similar before with good results(been a year and the boards havnt come apart, and they are for a beerpong table that has taken a ton of abuse). however this is going to be a guitar, so i understand the need for perfection, where as the other project required only strength. i hate taking shortcuts and wont on this project, however if it will work as good, then that $150 saved would be excelent