Voodoo Tele: Making a nut and gluing the maple cap

I completed some of the small but time consuming jobs on the project guitar today.

First I cut down a piece of horn on the bandsaw to make a nut, roughly shaping it with sandpaper. I had been planning to make my own bone nut but I’m still waiting for my local butcher to get a suitably sized piece in and I had this horn sitting around doing nothing. I quite like the sort of mottled black to ivory colouring.

As I was planning out the next stages in more detail I spotted a flaw in my plan. I had intended to mount the neck pickup from the back, so that I would just have the chrome pickup cover peeking out. As soon as I laid the rout template on the back of the guitar it struck me. How am I going to make a cover that isn’t on a flat area of the guitar? Thankfully I found this out before I’d routed right through the body! Instead I’m going to install the pickup with one of the chrome pickup rings.

To make sure that I maximised the contact area between body, neck tenon and maple cap, I spent ages planing and sanding the top surface ready to accept the cap. This consumed the majority of the day but despite all of my natural inclination to just bung on the cap and clamp it down tight, I worked away at it until it was as close to perfect as I could get.

I made a template for the shape of the pocket that needs to be cut into the cap, so that it’ll fit round the neck heel. Once I was happy, a quick buzz round with the top bearing cutter and it was done. I’m really happy with the fit.

That left me with just enough time, in the fading light, to get the top glued up and clamped. But just as I was about to start slathering on the Titebond, I remembered that I needed to rout the channels for the wiring to run from pickup cavities to the control cavities.

If the weather holds tomorrow I’ll get the pickup and control cavities routed and then it is on to final sanding and prep for the finish to go on. The end is in sight!

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4 thoughts on “Voodoo Tele: Making a nut and gluing the maple cap

  1. Wow! Glad you caught the pick up issue and the wiring channel routing. The guitar is looking great!

    • Definitely. It would have been a nightmare trying to drill the holes through. Achieveable but scary nonetheless.

  2. But now you’ve cut up your drinking horn, what will you drink your mead from?

    You must be learning a lot from this. I’m sure the professionals have a few tricks to make life easier.

    • There is actually a perfect cup left from the remainder (I just used the tip of it for the nut). I was thinking about gluing it on to a wood base. Mead drinking capability will be restored!

      I’ve learned an incredible amount from the whole process. I know if I did it a second time it would be so much quicker because I’ve now got all of the templates and have an idea of what approaches work and what doesn’t. It is the experimentation on pieces of scrap that is so time consuming.

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