Carving the heel and preparing the Jazzmaster for finish

Into the final furlong now and there are just a few jobs left before the Danish oil goes on. To start the day I remove the neck clamps and check the joint.

For the neck heel carve I roughly mark where I’m aiming for.

With a spindle sander in my hand-held drill I start removing wood…

…until it is about the shape I want. I then finish by hand.

That’s the last of the woodworking finished. I drill the pilot holes for the hardware. The only complicated part is getting the bridge positioned correctly. As previously, I use a piece of cotton running from the bridge to the headstock and back again.

Drill the holes for the bridge.

While I’ve got the bridge unpacked I take a few minutes to run the base across a piece of 400 grit paper, to make sure it makes full contact with the body top once it is screwed down.

I mark up the legde of the control cavity and drill the 6mm holes for the neodymium magnets, and fasten them in place with CA glue. I glue magnets in position on the cover too, making sure the magnets are the right way round, so they don’t repel.

Check the alignment and fit.

All that remains is to sand and sand and sand. Working my way up through the grades to 320 grit, and then give the body a wipe with a damp rag to raise the grain.

And here are the first coats of Danish oil going on, using the approach I’ve written about previously.

One last thing, a couple of days ago Gtr1ab asked how I laid out the controls on the template. Below is a picture of the marked up template. If I was building an exact Jazzmaster replica I would have just transferred the positions from the paper plan, but I’m adding my own touches. I wanted the volume knob to be exactly level with the bridge saddles so using a square I extended the line down the body. I placed the centre of the volume approx half way between the bridge and the body edge.

I then drew a line, at a slightly descending angle, towards the tail end of the body. There was no science or measurement to this I just picked an angle that I found pleasing to the eye. I placed the other two controls and the jack socket along this line. When laying out controls previously I had measured equal distance between the hole centres but, because components have a different radius they end up looking mis-spaced. I measured each component and then made sure the gap between the edges of each was consistent. Again there was no science to this I just chose a distance that looked pleasing to the eye – in this case a 30mm gap.

Voodoo Telecaster: Carving heel and neck

Another day of steady progress. I started the day by nicking the back of my hand while making breakfast. Without thinking about it I dabbed it into one of the body cavities. This truly is going to be the voodoo Tele. Perhaps I should grind up some hair and fingernails and mix it with the glue when I set the neck. I think this is what is called the personal touch!

First job today was to remove the clamps from my neck heel repair and to trim it down to shape with a model-maker’s tenon saw.

I drilled the tuner holes out to 10mm and then carefully sanded the back of the headstock to ensure a constant 17mm thickness.

After that it was on to starting the carve of the neck. I made a couple of tentative swipes with the rasp and realised that the profile of the neck, particularly in the upper registers, is going to have to transition from the carve on the body, so that I can get the “heel-less” shape that I’m after. I decided that this is where I’d start and once I;ve got the body to neck transition roughed in I can take that smoothly into the slight “V” neck profile that I’m shooting for.

Here’s the neck heel joint as I start.

When cutting the neck I had left in the curve transition shape between neck and body (normally these are on the body) but I’ve decided that I’m not going to have them on this because they’ll just get in the way of the carve. It took a matter of seconds to whip them off with the bandsaw.

So when I mated up the neck to the body this is what I’ve got.

And after an hour or two of getting to grips with a new set of rasps, here is the rough shape of the neck/body joint.

I’m really happy with how things are turning out, but there’s a long, long way yet to go, and the opportunity to totally bugger it up at almost every step. It is starting to get rather scary.

Oh and here’s a quick shot of how it is looking from the front. Starting to look like a guitar, don’t you think?

I inspected the router damage last night and it is totally beyond repair. Straight on to Amazon and ordered a “Bosch POF 1400”. Once that lands I can skim down the top of the tenon and cut the control and pickup cavities. In the meantime I’ll keep going with the carving and perhaps even make a start on trimming down the ebony fretboard and walloping some fretwire in.