More work on the Strat/Tele body

I’m delighted with the progress made today. I started out by transferring the pickup, control and bridge routs from the old body to a piece of MDF, using the bottom bearing router bit.

I had hoped to use the neck rout shape from the old body but, if you look at the picture above, it was badly misshapen so I decided to do my own. I clamped the neck to a piece of MDF, and then replicated the shape of the neck heel using scraps of MDF. What I’m doing here is making a temporary template to accurately cut a final template.

I flipped it over, ran round it with the bottom bearing router bit and then tested the fit against the neck heel.

I switched to the top bearing router bit and cut out the neck pocket to the same depth as the old body.

I stuck the pickup, control and bridge rout template to the sapele blank and clamped it to my bench.

I routed this to 17mm deep and then removed the template.

The cavity for the controls needs to be a little deeper so a stuck down a straight edge for the back of the router plate to run against and then carried on (still with the top-bearing bit).

Thankfully my router and bit can just go to 30mm deep which exactly what is required.

The bridge rout needs to go right through the body so I drilled a 10mm hole right through, switched to the bottom bearing bit, flipped the body over and finished from the other side.

The rout for the vibrato springs, was transferred from the old body using the same approach I described above. I was able to align the template using the centre-line and the hole through from the front.

I used a 1/2″ roundover bit to give both front and back a Strat-esque body edge. Early Telecasters has a 1/8″ roundover which softened to 1/4″ in later years.

Then it was time to break out the rasps and break into a sweat, carving the forearm bevel, and belly cut.

A quick pass with 40 grit paper to remove the worst of the gouges left by the rasp and I’m ready to pop in the hardware to see how it is looking. You’ll notice that I’ve roughly trimmed the pickguard to a new shape (the Strat and Tele have different bottom horn shapes) and also I’ve slightly remodelled the shape of the headstock.

And that’s it for today. The forecast tells me we’re going to have fine weather tomorrow so I’m hoping to get the body and neck prepped ready for finishing, the pickguard edge finished and the neck joint glued up. That’ll allow me to start applying the finish on Sunday, which is great because it looks like it is going to be raining all day.

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