Thursday, 31 December 2015

12 String Telecaster: Shaping the Headstock

Finally a few hours back in the man cave today after a mad Christmas and New Year season. With only a little time at my disposal I was at least able to shape the headstock on the 12-String Telecaster build and get most of the sanding done.

With the headstock chock full of tuning pegs, the kit didn't leave too much space for anything fancy in terms of shaping. I finally opted to just round off the corners to create a Fender-esque curve to the top. With a little trial and error I found that the small Timbermate container provided the perfect radius. Out came the pencil and it was quickly traced to create the corners.

The small Timbermate container has a perfect radius.
Curve drawn and ready for the jigsaw.
With the line drawn, out came the trusty jigsaw and I cut just outside my line. Unfortunately the blade on the jigsaw was a little coarse for the rock maple and some small pieces were gouged out of the edge of the cut. Wouldn't you know, they were out of the front side of the headstock not the back. Lesson learned - always draw your line and cut from the front size of the headstock. I grabbed the disc sander to bring the curve down to my line. A nice job apart from the gouges.

Jigsaw cut complete and tidied up with the disc sander.
Gouges in the front edge of the headstock, care of the poor jigsaw skills.
With the shape cut it was then on to sanding. I started with 80 grit on the top (cut) edge to remove the burn marks created by the disc sander. The 80 grit really made light work of it. If you are having trouble removing marks and burns etc on your kits then I suggest starting at a lower grit. It really is the secret to a getting the finish you want in the quickest time. I worked my way from 80 grit to 120 then 180. With the 180 grit I started on the flat faces of the headstock and the neck as well. With 180 grit complete it was then on to 240 and 320 for the whole shebang. Very nice and smooth now. I would have gone down to 400 grit, but I seem to have run out. I raised the grain once with water and knocked it down again with 320 grit.

With the gouges requiring filling, I turned to my old friend Timbermate. Of all the containers I had lying around the man cave, the Pine seemed to be a reasonably close match to the maple. I filled the holes and waited 12 hours for it to dry.

Pine Timbermate to the rescue. Hopefully it will stain the correct colour.
Finally, I got the 320 grit sand paper out and sanded off the excess Timbermate. It looks *ok*. The fills are quite obvious, but I'm hoping that with a little Amber dye they will be less so. When all is said and done I may have to paint the headstock black but I really don't want to go there if I don't have to. I do love a nice yellow maple neck with a black Telecaster.

The Timbermate sanded off. Camera is blurry, but you get the idea.
The neck is now almost ready for phase 2. I need to get my hands on some 400 grit sandpaper, raise the grain a few more times and then I cal slap on some amber dye and Tru-Oil. Still a ways to go before assembly, but getting there now!