Parts arrive and routing the neck pocket

The Telecaster parts started arriving today, which cheered me up after a disastrous day yesterday. As I mentioned in a previous post the bridge pickup cavity was not large enough and so I was sorting that out. Whilst doing that my router technique (and a lapse of concentration) let me down and resulted in a couple of big tear-outs. Both of these go beyond the area covered by the bridge and so I’m going to have to find a way of covering them up. My plan is to use part of the veneer I’ve got on order and inlay it in to the body to cover these mistakes. I’m not yet sure to go with a maple veneer and try to blend it in, or whether to use a contrasting colour (rosewood or ebony) and make a feature of it. I’ll probably spin some sort of BS about it having a rosewood bridge plate inlayed to improve sustain.

Today I laid out the new parts to check how it’ll all go together. The bridge, scratchplate and neck all need to be in the right place relative to each other. I started with the scratchplate, because this has to follow the body shape. I marked and screwed it into place, then did the same with the bridge. That then gave me the exact location for where the neck pocket had to go. The scratchplate will need some work because it doesn’t exactly match up where it meets the control plate. Tonight I’ll be researching how best to cleanly trim down a scratchplate.

To make the neck pocket jig, I drew round the neck heel and, using double-sided tape, stuck down one guide. I clamped the neck tight up against the guide, to make sure that when I stuck down the second guide it was in exactly the right place.

The jig was an exact fit for the neck. Nice and tight and able to hang onto the neck heel by friction alone. So it was on to routing out the neck pocket to a depth of 17mm which all went very smoothly.

I then cleaned up all of the surfaces and glued and clamped the neck in place. A glued neck is a real break from standard Telecaster construction, but I want to get creative with the shape of the neck heel and having a neck plate at the back would restrict my ability to do this.

As with the RockMangle, I used Titebond Original, and if my calculations are correct, even the small contact area of the Telecaster neck heel will be more than strong enough.

Tomorrows job are to:

  • Drill the holes through the body for the strings,
  • Drill holes and countersink the string ferrules into the back,
  • Drill the holes to connect together all of the cavities,
  • Shape the neck heel.
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