Starting work on the Strat/Tele hybrid

This afternoon I took one of the raw body blanks that I glued up yesterday and started on the first steps to turn it into a guitar. My vision for this guitar is a hybrid Tele/Strat, using my Tanglewood Nevada as a donor. It will feature Telecaster body, neck and headstock, with Strat bridge, pickups and controls (albeit with just a master tone and in a Tele configuration).

First off I drew around my MDF Telecaster body template and then, with the bandsaw, roughly cut it to shape, staying at least 2-3mm from the line.

The body blanks are close to 60mm thick and, being rough sawn timber, not even close to a uniform thickness. To plane the body to a uniform thickness I started out by building myself an MDF routing sled. This consists of a baseplate that rides along two level rails. The baseplate is reinforced with a glued structural support. Here it is glued and clamped.

Because neither surface of the body blank is flat, I initially position it on a bed of damp sand to keep it in one position, and use the router and sled to plane the top face. This gives me one perfectly flat side.

I can now brush away the sand, flip the body over and plane the other surface, leaving me with a uniform thickness across the body and a big pile of sawdust.

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I’ll continue on. The body is currently 49mm thick, so I need to take another 5mm off with my router and sled. Once that is complete I’ll attach the MDF template and rout the outline of the body to shape. If I get time I’ll dismantle the Tanglewood and, using the body as a template, transfer the neck pocket, pickup and trem bridge routs onto new MDF templates.

2 thoughts on “Starting work on the Strat/Tele hybrid

  1. Once again I am very impressed. Great job! I look forward to the rest of the project. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks. I’m looking forward to this job. Still not sure exactly how it will turn out yet. By this stage I’ve usually got every detail finalised, but I’m leaving this one a bit more open, to see what develops.

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