Telecaster project – step 4

I have 4 Telecaster bodies to work with now. Three are 100 year old barn wood, one is a solid ash body, but I’m still on project one, as I haven’t had the time to finish the new EZ bake UV cure oven (it is about half done), and the holidays are just busy with family fun, and family should always come first. I decided to make sure I did this first one “wrong”, ie: the way a rookie would do it. As I’ve never finished anything more complicated than a spice rack in Jr. High, this isn’t a difficult talks for me.

At this stage, I’ve sanded the Telecaster/Esquire/Barncaster down, and put about 3 days worth of aging on it. This isn’t much, just enough to get the grain to pop. I’ve done this with my old rig, 6 lights, 32 watts. I’m also using the exact WRONG lamp for the job, some prototypes of the Universal UV (ie: the A10R) which happen to have several hundred hours on them. That is ok, it will still cure, but it will take about 30 minutes instead of 10. This also means I can only do one side at a time. In this image, I’ve already done the front and most of the sides, here is the back and the sides again:
Telecaster ready to bake

Here is the guitar in the rig, very close to the lamps thanks to a sophisticated riser method (a styrofoam block I had lying around). I used a brush, which will produce a less than perfect finish, but the goal isn’t perfection, it is a bit of authenticity. I will sand it down a bit, and probably end up with 3 coats total, a very thin finish indeed. The goal is to allow it to age naturally. Also, even though Greg at Wahoo International (Solarez®) delivered a gallon of a new finish, I used the old surfboard finish on this one, to compare to. The new finish is thinner and can be sprayed, something that is hard to do with the old finish.
Telecaster is baking.  Smell that Fender goodness....

And more is planned. I have one more Esquire body, a full Telecaster body, and of course the Swamp Ash Telecaster. Ash is a hard wood, and will present completely new challenges. It is also my favorite wood for guitars, so if I’m going to do a project to show off what the lights can do, and I’m going to do it as a guitar, I’m going to build something that I really, really want: A very traditional sounding Fender Telecaster. I will use one of the spare Fender necks I have, put a thin finish on the Ash body, age it up just a little, and load it with 100% Fender electronics and hardware, including a set of Pure Vintage 1964 reissue pickups. I’ve even chosen a vintage bridge and notched it for my playing style. I don’t expect to use a full pickguard, however, as this wood is too pretty to cover up (this photo doesn’t do it justice)
Telecaster ready to bake
I just wet the wood down to draw up the little hairs, to further sand. This also lets you see what the guitar will look like finished. Wish I would have taken a photo, as the grain is much more striking when it is wet. I may put a very light stain on it just to make the grain pop. This is a lot of money to put into a project, so obviously I have a lot of trust in what the lights can do with the proper wood and some prototype finish. Time will tell.

Until next time, hope you had a great Christmas, and hope you have a great New Years as well!

Dennis