Pencil Tele part 1

In recent times there has been a bit of a craze among the “maker” community for making things out of pencils glued together with resin. A few people have even made guitars like that…

Playing with resin has been on my to-do list for a while, and some time ago my girlfriend bought me some coloured pencils, a bit of resin and some coloured powders with a view to starting a similar project. Contrary to some of the build videos that I’ve seen on YouTube, I decided to just make a guitar top from the pencils, and fix that on top of a regular sapele body. This would be a lot cheaper, and also easier because the body is just a regular build.

The first step was to make a mould for the top. I dug out the offcuts from a previous guitar body and used those to glue onto a backing piece and create the mould. It was in the shape of a Telecaster, mainly because the previous guitar had happened to be a tele!

The mould for the pencil top

I took the pencils and taped them together so that I could cut them into small, roughly 10 mm segments. These pencils have black wood, so they are quite striking and different from regular pencils.

The pencils taped together, in front of the cylindrical boxes that they came in

My girlfriend was in charge of placing these pencil stubs into the mould before I poured the resin over them to create the piece for the guitar top.

The mould, filled with pencil stubs and after the resin was added

Once this had all glued together, I prised it out of the mould – this was partly successful; the polythene that I had put in to try to prevent the resin from sticking to the wood of the mould wasn’t fully watertight so there was a bit of bashing involved. The lower horn broke off in the process, but that was easy to glue back together afterwards, when it was all glued onto the body. There was also quite a lot of work – and a heck of a lot of mess – involved in getting this top flat and ready to glue onto the body.

Talking of the body, I made that from sapele. I thought that the brown sapele butting up against the black of the pencils would not look very good, so I also added a thin stripe of maple around the edge. I wanted to weight relieve the body, but I also wanted to make sure that the top was well supported, so I took inspiration from Gibson’s modern weight relief patterns and prepared the body as below.

The body with the control cavity, and a channel to the bridge pickup location, and extensive weight relief.

In part 2 of this series, we will come onto the neck, which has some other special features!

Continue to Part Two