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.
https://youtu.be/eCMNqL5laEg 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
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