Don’t worry, I’m not prophesying the coming apocalypse. But the Telecaster is now within a week of being finished. I flattened the lacquer on the neck last week and buffed it to a high gloss, and the colour work on the body is now done. Once the lacquer on the body has cured I will install the hardware, do the final set up, and finally after 2 years work, play her for the first time.
Today I spent a couple of hours preparing for the final assembly and set up next week, the main task of which was refitting the neck to the body. Prior to spraying the lacquer, the neck was a perfect fit for the neck pocket, with very little wriggle room. Which is as it should be, but meant that the build up of lacquer, particularly in the two corners, meant that the neck no longer fit as it should. This did not given me any cause for concern – photos of vintage Fender guitars show paint dribbles in the neck pockets, and I had anticipated needing to spend a little time cleaning the pocket up. Half an hour of easing out the build up of lacquer from the walls of the neck pocket with 320 grit paper soon had everything fitting nice and snug once again. I suppose that I could mask off the walls of the neck pocket in future, although you do want some lacquer on the top corner of the neck pocket so as not to have an abrupt transition to bare wood, and so some sanding to remove the worst of the lacquer build up is always going to be necessary.
Having got the neck fitting snuggly, I re-drilled the body stringing holes and screw holes for mounting the bridge, to clear them of lacquer so as not to foul the screw threads.
I will write more fully about the finishing process (and some lessons learnt on this build) separately. But for now I’ll leave you, dear reader, with a picture showing the lovely grain on the swamp ash body showing through the butterscotch blonde lacquer.