• Stewart Turner

Deepset 2 Build Story

Following the success of Deepset 1 I was keen to build another, this time doing more of the build without help. For this I needed some raw materials and new tools. A friend offered me an off-cut from a kitchen worktop in solid walnut. That was too good to refuse, and a project I coined "The Kitchencaster" began...

Enough for 2 guitars, so kitchencaster 2 will follow at some point!

I decided that I needed to get to grips with using a router for shaping the wood, so bought one and plucked up the courage to use it. First I cut the rough shape out with a jigsaw a little bigger than needed. Then clamped to a template and routed the outside edge to shape. It worked pretty well, one or two rough bits (caused by joins in the wood) that will be corrected by sanding.

I don't have the tools or space for creating a neck from scratch, but this time I wanted to do a little more of that too. I bought an unfinished 'paddle headstock' neck, with a view to shaping the headstock and finishing it.

The neck I bought has a non-telecaster shape heel, so I needed to make a template for it. I routed the neck pocket, having first taken out most of the material with forstner drill. I made a small mistake with the neck pocket, but fortunately I was able to fill and recover. It's not structural. The neck is a good snug fit so that's one of the most critical bits done.

I marked out the bridge position and rough position of pickup cavities for the next session. I placed an order for a lot of the hardware, going for Irongear pickups, which are highly rated.

Next step was to rout the pickup cavities and control cavity in the back. This required making some templates and a jig for the back plate recess.

I drilled cable channels and fitted all the hardware, drilled guide holes for the controls.

Then comes the sanding! Belt sander for adding the curves and flattening the bumps. Then sanded to 400 grit, wetted it down to raise the grain, sanded to 800 after drying.

For this build I wanted to get the finish as smooth as possible. Two coats of sanding sealant with sanding inbetween, then grain filler and final sanding before applying the finish.

Then came about 8 layers of Osmo PolyX Gloss hard wax oil.

On to the neck...

This neck was significantly less 'finished' in more than one sense than Deepset 1. A lot of the frets on the neck were slightly raised in the middle. To fix them I put some protective beeswax on the fretboard and put a drop of thin CA glue on the edge of the fret to soak into the crack, clamping until set. After they were all rock solid I levelled and polished the frets. The ends of the frets felt a little sharp too, overhanging very slightly and not smooth to the touch. filing and sanding sorted that out too.

I wanted something a little original for the headstock rather than opting for the standard telecaster shape. After lots of design rejections I settled on a simple shape, which worked well I think.

I had tinkered with the idea of a headstock logo. I didn't use one for Deepset 1 because the neck was already finished. For this one, I decided to use waterslide decal paper, which allows you to design and print a decal, which you then cover with layers of finish to prevent it scratching off.

I designed a logo based upon my initials , ST. I was trying to achieve something that looked a little like a backwards Greek letter 'pi' - π. I think it worked ok. I 'traded' under the band name 'Deep Set' years ago (my initials are SET, and Deep makes it .. er .. deep).

So, I own the domain, and might as well use it!

Then it was a case of layering up the Osmo PolyX again...

I would have drilled the tuner holes before doing the decal and applying the finish, but I was waiting for a piece of kit to arrive (a kind person on the 'UK Amateur Guitar Builders' Facebook group offered me a free drill press stand).

Tuners fitted, time to put it back together!

Now the electrics. That's the fun bit. Firstly, cavities all need shielding against interference (and to make them cool and shiny).

Components all get attached and the lighting circuit wired in. I altered it a little from Deepset 1, changing the power supply to the phase flip and adding two diodes so that the middle LED comes on with either of the pickup LEDs but off when both are off. A minor change but I like it better this way.

I had a couple of hiccups along the way. The battery container came with the wiring integrated. I couldn't work out why the LEDs weren't working until I realised the red and black from the battery were the wrong way round! Also, one of the toggle switches I had bought was a dud so once I worked out it was that and not a dry solder join I swapped it with one I had in stock.

Next, it's reducing the nut height. I used the tried and tested technique of removing the nut and sanding the underside. Why anyone would do it any other way with a nut that already has the grooves cut into it I have no idea.

And finally, to the main circuit.

I'm pretty slow and methodical with these things, and it's usually the right way to do it. I used heat shrink sleeving this time, mainly on the 9v circuit for lighting. It's a pain to use, especially if you need to change anything later, and probably not really adding value to the process.

Unfortunately when I tried it out one of the pickups wasn't working. A bit of diagnosis, and one of the pots was shorting to the shielding. Easily fixed once found.


There are some quality promo pictures here if you're interested. It'll be going up for sale very soon, get in touch if you would like to be notified when it goes up - the price will be lower than you expect!

It sounds pretty good, brighter in tone than the other build. Part of me wants to keep it...

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