Telecaster Build

The headstock

I stuck the headstock template onto some thin ply and marked out the rest of the neck for a 43mm nut and the 2 3/16″ heel width.

Got a bit close to the line when I was roughing it out and had to un-cut some wood:

oops template

To the router table…

(Actually it’s a piece of plywood with a hole in it that my router drops into)

Router table

I straightened up the edges of the neck template with the router, sanded the headstock to shape, then fixed the neck template to the blank with a screw through the tuner hole and another through the waste at the heel of the neck

Straightening the neck

headstock template

I could then cut one half of the neck to the template with a bottom bearing guided cutter, then flip it over and put the top bearing back on the cutter to do the other half:

Bottom guided cutter

top guided cutter

Things started going a bit pear-shaped at the end of the headstock (I sort of expected them to – this maple seems to burn *really* easily). I quit before I buggered things up completely, and finished it off with the sander

router burns

sanding to shape

nicely sanded

Not too bad otherwise


headstock 2

Slight line where the cuts overlapped, but looks worse than it is.

side of neck

I drilled the tuner holes after setting up a fence on the drill press to keep them a straight line

drilling tuner holes

tuner holes

And checked that the tuners would fit (nasty Chinese Klusson copies bought from evil bay in a drunken moment of weakness)

tuner test fit

Pleased with that!

Before disturbing the drill press, I also maked and drilled the pilot holes for the tuner screws (in an effort to keep them in a straight line).

drilling tuner screw holes

I could now cut the headstock down

Marked the finished thickness (0.6″ IIRC)

marking headstock thickness

Then cut down to the line at about an inch behind the nut (this bit will eventually be sanded away, so the position isn’t critical – as long as the cut isn’t too deep)

headstock cut

Then very carefully used the router to carve away the surplus

thinning headstock

Looks a bit rough, but it cleaned up quickly with the plane

headstock roughed out

After a bit of trial and error on some maple offcuts to find the right drill size, I could counterbore the tuner holes for the bushes. (I was lucky that I had a stepped drill bit that was just the right size to centre itself in the tuner holes and drill pretty much the right size for the bushings – the holes just needed deepening slightly with the right sized drill bit afterwards).

bored for tuner bushings