Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

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nicco
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Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:39 pm

So I started off building a bass guitar back in 2017 but lost my mojo a bit after mucking up the fret board, steaming it off and then it cupping. :(

Anyway, I recently felt like I was getting keen to have another crack at making a guitar.

Given it's now more than 5 years since I did a week long electric guitar building course, that memory is starting to get a little hazy now too. I figured I'm probably best served by using old bits of timber I had lying around to do a test run. I'm aiming to make a telecaster type guitar.

First challenge I've set myself was to do the neck; that's the hard part, so if I can get that done, then I'll be able to do the rest.

I had an old qld maple (i think) neck and a qld something something fretboard blank lying around that I bought the weekend I finished the course. I never really feel in love with the fretboard blank (too brown for my liking) and I haven't had a way to cut the fret slots, so they sat for ages too.

First step was to work out how the hell to cut fret slots!

nicco
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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:43 pm

So in the intervening years, one of the things I had done is started up a laser cut thingy side project. More just decorative stuff, so only thin material with a solid state laser, not a co2 laser that could chew through really serious material.

Anyway, i started off trying to make a template that I could use to cut with, but that got awkward.

Ended up designing myself a little mitre box with 3d printed spigots to hold a scale template in place. Worked a treat!

Photos to follow in a sec...

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:53 pm

Here are pictures of the mitre box. It worked a treat. Much better than I'd managed to do with any other method I could think of!

The orange rings were spacers to put under the far ends of the board while it was being cut to stop the whole lot over balancing
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stevemc32
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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by stevemc32 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:00 pm

Nice work, looks like it did the job well!

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:04 pm

Yeah, thanks Steve, very happy with how that turned out.

Next step was to thin it the fret board; the blank was a bit over 10mm thick when i started. I realise it would have been more logical to thin it out first, but cutting fret slots had me bluffed, so I figured I might as well cross that bridge first before bothering to go any further.

Then got the taper sorted and the get dot locations marked out.

Today I managed to do a couple of test dots; using the laser cutter timber for the dots so I don't need to buy any. Ha ha. The contrast actually worked well, I'm really happy with them.

Last step to catch up to the present time was getting the truss rod slot cut into the neck blank.

I'm only getting a couple of hours here and there to work on it, so it'll take a while to get done, but I'm super excited about working on a guitar again!
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stevemc32
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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by stevemc32 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:57 am

I have a friend who has offered to do some laser cutting for inlays but I was worried that the burn marks on the edges might be visible.

I can't tell from your photo, which is a good thing, but is there any burning or black outline on your dots after they've been placed and sanded flush?

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by kiwigeo » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:29 pm

nicco wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:53 pm
Here are pictures of the mitre box. It worked a treat. Much better than I'd managed to do with any other method I could think of!

The orange rings were spacers to put under the far ends of the board while it was being cut to stop the whole lot over balancing
I use a couple of clamps either side of the blade to hold the fretboard and jig fast to my bench.
Martin

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:21 pm

Hi Steve,

If you really look at it you can just see a dark ring on the dot, but I hadn't noticed it until you asked. I don't think it's going to be massively obvious under normal circumstances. Light wood on light wood would (how much wood would a wood chuck chuck, lol) probably show it a bit worse, but then you'd have no nice contrast.


Martin, yeah, clamping it would have worked. I ended up just holding it, it moved as one unit anyway

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by stevemc32 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:04 pm

Sounds good nicco, thanks for the info!

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:28 pm

No worries, Steve.


Managed to steal a couple of hours over the weekend for working on the neck. I've now cut and planed (poorly) the front and back of the headstock angle and about 50% through the back of neck cut. Next step is to stop that once before it's right the way through then rough cut the side tapers of the neck.

I've not got any power tools to do these cuts (i could maybe find some appropriate jigsaw blades i spose, but none on hand), so using a normal, bunnings timber saw to do these rough cuts. Slow and steady, but I'll get there eventually.

I've also positioned the fret board on the neck with a couple of 1mm drill bits, which was suggested by this forum last time I had trouble with the fret board moving around while it was clamped.
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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:56 am

Making more progress on the neck, got three rough cuts all done, ready to stick the fretboard on them start shaping the neck. Going to play around with a little bit of inlay stuff first though... if I'm going to make it hard for myself, I might as well make it properly hard. 🤣

Anyway, I did have a quick question that I was hoping someone could help me with. I'm looking at using a tuneomatic type bridge, which is obviously quite tall. I know les paul's run an angled neck to get the action right, but I'm not 100% sure how to work out that angle. I'm figuring I need a target height for the strings above the fret board at the 12th fret, or something similar, then I could work out the angle?

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:38 am

Okay, I think I get it now, I was a bit off with my understanding of action. The string should be parallel to the fret board, the action being the same height over the whole length. That makes sense, and makes it a whole lot easier to calculate.

It also makes new think my old guitars I've got might need a proper setup some time soon. 🤣

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by seeaxe » Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:42 pm

Nope
Strings are NOT parallel to the fret board. They start at a very small amount over the first fret (assuming you are not using a zero fret) and pass over the 12th fret at around 2.5 to 3mm depending on which string, preference etc. You have some height adjustment at the bridge/saddles. If a conventional Tele bridge then the two grub screws raise or lower the saddle/s. What ever you change there you only get half the change at the 12th so you need to get it pretty much spot on first.

I found the best way to do this is to either draw it out full size or make a very accurate scale drawing. If its a bolt on neck then you can shim it to get the right angle, but that's probably deemed "not done". i confess I have done it many times!.

You should be able to google all of this anyway.

Cheers
Richard

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:44 am

Hi Richard,

Thanks for that. You're right, I was eventually able to google most of what I needed. So essentially the string is approx 0.5mm above the fret crown at the first fret, and about 2.5mm above the 12th fret.

That sets the angle between the strings and the fret board. That was the bit I was stuck on, so thanks.

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Re: Nicco's Lying-Around-Timber-o-Caster

Post by nicco » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:53 am

I took a couple of days off work last week to make more progress on the guitar (and, you know, just not be at work too, which was nice. Ha ha)

I ended up deciding that my little timber inlay dots were going to look a little boring, so I went and found some inspiration for something more interesting and made it happen. It was my first time doing any inlay work, so while not perfect, I was very happy with the result. The light, lengthways strip is an off cut from the neck blank, its provided a really nice contrast with the feet board timber.

Unfortunately I didn't do the best job of radiusing the fret board and ended up sanding through one of the blue inlays. I had to dremel it out and go again. Anyway, all fixed now.

So I'm now up to the stage of finishing the fret ends, then I can start shaking the back of the neck which I'm super excited to get to.
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