Voodoo Tele: Two steps forward and one back

So just two jobs remain before the woodworking phase is over and I can start prepping for finish. I need to drill the 22mm hole for the jack socket and drill the string through holes.

First job went very smoothly. I ran a 5mm drill bit through from the marked spot, into the control cavity. This then gives the brad point on the 22mm flat hole cutting bit something to follow.

OK, so it was on to the last job. My drill press doesn’t have a deep enough throat to be able to reach across the body and drill the six holes so I needed to find an alternative approach. I first used the drill press to bore a vertical hole through a thick offcut of the sapele. I then used a piece of wire poking through the hole to locate against the mark in the top of the body. I clamped the guide hole to the top of the body took a deep breath and drilled away, and repeated for the other five string holes.

The six exit holes are slightly wonky (particularly the A), as the drill wanders through the wood, but close enough for my needs, because the holes drilled for the ferrules will cover the misalignment.

I marked out and drilled myself a template of six 8mm holes in a straight line. It took me four goes to get a template I was happy with. On to the guitar body and drill the holes. I drill them slightly deeper than I would normally because I want the tip of the ferrules to rest in the neck tenon that runs under the bridge.

So that the ferrules can bed right to the bottom of the 8mm hole I need to drill a 10mm countersink for them. This is when disaster strikes. My lack of woodworking experience bit back because the cutting edges on a 10mm drill bit grab very nicely into the 8mm hole and effectively screw themselves in, tearing as they go. Were I doing this again I’d drill the shallow 10mm hole first and then use the 8mm to go to the full depth. The benefit of 20:20 hingdsight.

So I took a deep breath and made myself a cup of tea while I decided how I was going to tackle this. On my previous projects I’d already found out that if I dive straight in, with the first remedial solution that comes to mind, it invariably makes things worse. This needed the proper contemplation that only Tetley tea can provide. Problem one is that the edge of the hole was torn and unsightly. Problem two was that the 10mm hole went too deep into the body. To tackle the first of these I made a quick template and routed a 3mm channel over the ferrule ends. I had originally thought about doing this as an alternative to the 10mm countersink hole. To fix the second problem I whittled down a piece of sapele into a 10mm dowel, applied some Titebond Original and tapped it into the hole.

Tomorrow I’ll use the router to trim off the back end of the plug and then redrill the 8mm hole and I should, finally, be ready to prep for finish.

One thought on “Voodoo Tele: Two steps forward and one back

  1. Taking a moment to think about possible solutions is so helpful. I don’t know how many mistakes I’ve had to come back to the next day, but it is a lot!
    It looks good. Thanks for sharing this project!

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