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Thread: Maple Thinline Telecaster

  1. #1

    Maple Thinline Telecaster

    I've been on a break from guitar building for the last few months but I'm planning a gew builds this winter. I've started the first of them and wanted to share some of the progress. Some new twists on this one.

    1.25" multi-piece maple core
    .25" flame maple caps, double bound.
    2mm flame maple cover the glue joints and end grain.
    Maple neck/fretboard

    The core is made up of 1.5" maple strips, from cutoffs, turned on edge, arranged and dry clamped to give the proper area for a blank.

    They were then marked and glued up in steps.

    Last edited by Mark Crenshaw; 11-24-2009 at 8:42 PM.

  2. #2

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    Out of the clamps and thru the planer...came out to a very nice 1.25" thick.

    Made a template for the chamber route.

  3. #3

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    I used a large Forstner bit to hog out most of the wood on the drill press.

    Then used a router to clean up the edges.

    I also resawed some flame maple for the top, back and sides.

  4. #4

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    I also ran some rosewood in case I decided to use it for binding and fretboard. I'm running four necks as well.

    I wasn't confident in the back having enough thickness to handle the control cover so I made a support piece that mounted from behind, but protuded into the opening. More on this later.

    Then, glued up the back.

  5. #5

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    Here's the finished cavity. The filler was routed to form the ledge for the control cover. The route for the cover inset wasn't necassary because the filler was thinned out to allow for that.

    The clear cover template set in place.

  6. #6

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    I decided from the start that I didn't want to use the standard f-hole. I wanted something custom. So I spent a bit of time in Photoshop mocking up some looks. I sort of ran the gammut here, but ended up with some more organic designs toward the end. I chose #15.

    It was a bit too large in the design stage so I reduced it in 5% increments to see how they looked on the actual guitar. I printed them out and mounted them on card stock.

    I ended up going with 95% knowing that the binding would close it up to about the 90% version.

    I did a test cut on some scrap and it came out pretty, onto the real deal.

  7. #7

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    I used my smallest Forstner bit to get as tight into the corners as I could and then went around the edges to drop out the center.

    Then, some time with my "custom" shaping tools and I was down to just the corners.

    I cut into the corners as far as I could with a very fine toothed hack saw blade, then cut a slit to the end of the corner and used a utility knife to shave away the rest until I had a nice, sharp corner.
    NOTE: The top is .25" thick but still a bit too flexible for the side-to-side sanding/shaping I was doing. I screwed 2 maple strips to the ends to brace the top. It went much faster after this.

    The finished opening.

  8. #8

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    I didn't take any pics during the binding process, I had my hands full on this one. I used Weldon cement, StewMac binding tape and a utility knife for trimming. Being my first attempt at inside corners, I'm happy with the results. It was a huge help having the top loose as I could turn it any way I needed to get downward pressure on the binding tape as I applied it.

    Ready for gluing up the top.

    Out of the clamps and ready for profiling. There's still a bit of planer snipe to deal with but I'll block it out after I finish the profile.

  9. #9

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    Some shots of the body at various stages during profiling and cavity routing.

    I rough cut it on the band saw and used a flush trim bit using the body core as my pattern.

    I blocked out the top seam and planer snipe before routing the cavities and neck pocket.

    I laid a neck and bridge in place just to get a feel for how it will look.

  10. #10

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    I drilled the wiring channels this morning. One from the bridge pickup to the control cavity.

    And from the back of the neck pickup to the bridge pickup. I know this means the bridge has to come off to change the neck pickup but I wanted a single entry/exit point for wiring in the control cavity.

    There's just too much open space back there to have wires coming from different directions...I think it's cleaner this way.

  11. #11

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    I have set the body aside for now to work on the neck. I want the neck profiled, fitted and mounted before I set the final position of the bridge.
    I roughed out the headstock on the belt sander.

    Set up to glue the fretboard. The inset shows the staples I put in the neck to lock the fretboard in place during clamping...nothing new here, just pointing it out.

    Lots of even pressure across the entire fretboard to give it a good seat...the long cauls are really helpful here. Not only for applying even pressure, but they're easier to work with than a bunch of small blocks.

    I layed out all the position markers...trying something different at the 12th fret...not sure I like it.

    A little wax paper, and some light clamping pressure, again using long cauls, to hold the markers in place while the Weldon cement sets up.

    Last edited by Mark Crenshaw; 11-24-2009 at 8:48 PM.

  12. #12

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    I did the final profile on the neck/fretboard and leveled the fret markers...I'm liking the 12th fret treatment a bit more all the time.

    Time to set the bridge. I clamped the neck in place and ran a straight edge down each side of the neck and transfered that line. I centered the bridge, checked the distance from the 12th fret to the saddles...12.75"...

    ...marked and drilled the holes. I don't have pics of this, but my clamping caul left room for me to run an old string down from the nut to the E and e saddles to check alignment down the edge of the fretboard. Looked good to me.

    That's it for now...

    Last edited by Mark Crenshaw; 11-24-2009 at 8:49 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Yorktown, VA
    What a great project... and super photo coverage of the process!! Thanks for sharing and am looking forward to the next post.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Rochester, NY
    Cool, Mark. I like these "unusual" project threads. Thanks for spending the time to document this.


  15. Ok... That just made my "freakin awesome" list... Nice work.. I'll be following this thread for sure to see how it turns out..

    #15 detail was my first choice for sure, looking down the thread.

    Makes me want to try my hand at guitar building again...

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