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January 26, 2016 3 min read 3 Comments


Tommi Rapeli has kindly sent in his latest project pictures. In Tommi’s own words:


To be honest I really didn’t need another guitar, but tinkering with one

is so fun to resist. I just had to build something. I have earlier

experience of building a partscaster tele and modifying an Italia

Guitars Rimini, but I have no earlier experience in painting and

finishing except building scale models as a youngster.


The beautiful shape of the Roadhouse Guitars barn red Jazzcaster caught

my eye and I thought that roadworn look is something one could achieve

with resources available for someone living in city flat. So that’s

where the idea of telemaster originally came from. For the sound I was

still looking for even better bright and twangy single coil funk stab

sound despite having a tele and a strat. Hmm, what if I used lipstick

pick ups? Never had those. And three of them to get those quacky strat 2

and 4 positions. But I started to think that funk does not go that well

with barn aesthetics to begin with. Everybody from James brown to Bootsy

Collins has quite a bit more flare…


One could buy a finished body from someone like Warmoth, but there’s not

enough fun building time I wanted. I continued to search for finishing

method without a need for painting booth and spray equipment. I found

interesting info + videos about mixing  tru oil with artist oil colors.  And saw some great examples

of mirror like finish possible with tru oil. Maybe I could do that… Or

even try to get something weird, if one mixes silver pigment thru out

the process it might get some of that candy apple red feeling to it…


Early fifties clean design of telecaster, swooping lines of Jazzmaster

combined with candy apple red made me thinking of cars, especially 57’

Corvette as an inspiration. Thats it! I started thinking and refining

design in Photoshop. Two color body, red top and black back. I contacted

Guitarbuild about price for custom routing. Price was very reasonable.

I decided to pull the trigger! What I got was excellent and swift

service, quick delivery and a body with beautiful workmanship.


Time to start building! While sanding, I also started ordering other

parts. Mostly usual stuff, except the cool Texas Custom bridge to fit

the desired fifties automotive aesthetics. Waiting for the parts started

to grow long as there was a postal strike in Finland in November. Then

again I was in no hurry as the selected finishing method was guaranteed

to be a long process.


I started sanding with 320 couple of times. Then 600. And again. First

darker colors and silver pigment to the grain. Then filling them with

true or sanding slurry. Had some errors I managed to fix, sand thrus

etc. The dyed Tru Oil layers are very thin. I learned that don’t use the

same rubber gloves twice if you use silver pigments. It flakes off from

the gloves when dried and gets stuck on the next layer. I also learned

that lot’s of layers is needed to get an even finish. And drying time

for alizarin crimson hue is much longer than any other color. ;)

Gradually getting smoother and smoother and final sanding with 2500 grit

body was ready for final finishing on Christmas. It was set aside for

the Christmas break and finalized it with polishing & waxing when I got

back in town. I think I managed to get it surprisingly smooth. It only

took some patience. And even though it does not show that well in the

images, it actually is a metallic colour with see thru wood grain. So

success! it is Interesting enough the hardest part was getting a chrome

colour on the edge of the pick guard I had gotten made in a shop. It

took five trials and different approaches to get it look like as I

wanted. No wonder you don’t see them anywhere.


Electronics are fairly standard except the half way super with and push

pull volume pot to be able to select telecaster style neck+bridge middle

position or just middle pick up if desired. I designed a pick guard that

continued the swoop on the body as far as possible echoing the shape

found on the side of a fifties Corvette. The same shape is also found on

the true oil finished headstock as a white plate with the “model” name

Funcaster. Well, it’s fun, functional, funky and some sort of a caster. ;)


Let's see how long I can stand the itch to build again yet another guitar!



-tommi - Helsinki custom build

3 Responses


May 16, 2016

Thanks for your kind words! It was my first try at this so there’s more patience than skill at work here. ;) I’ve built another one since in a bit different style also using tru oil as a finish. Even more beautiful wood grain on the top. Hopefully it will be accepted to be displayed here for you to see. Thanks again!

Albie aka ziggybass
Albie aka ziggybass

March 28, 2016

Well I’m all bass but just had to say how much I loved your work. I resurect old bass here in Malaga Spain. Nice Axe!

Michael Hastrup Bendsen
Michael Hastrup Bendsen

February 10, 2016

What an awesome job, fantastic paintjob.

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