-Block of tonewood (The average size you generally see for a guitar is 14" (wide) by 21" (tall) by 1.25" (deep), common tonewoods include Mahogany, Ash, and Alder. The wood has a huge effect on how your instrument will sound, and for this project I used an African Mahogany, because of the smell of the wood (sweet cocoa) and the details in the lumber itself. I went to Warmoth.com and ordered a Stratocaster replacement so that I could have the holes prerouted, this ended up causing a lot of trouble (especially with the neck) but if you lack a router, this is an astronomically cheaper option.)
-Neck (this can be hand made, however it requires a much higher level of woodworking beyond my talents. There are guides out there that will tell you how to make one, for my guitar I bought one off of GuitarNecksUSA. In my case, the fretboard is rosewood and the neck itself is Maple.)
-Pickups (I had the help of a guitar collector on this one, it generally depends on what sound you want. I decided I wanted an older era sound, so I chose a single P90 humbuckler Pickup, the less pickups you choose the less complicated the wiring becomes later on)
-Bridge(this holds the strings in place at the end of your guitar, should be highly adjustable, especially if this is your first guitar. I chose the Fender American Flat Mount)
-Potentiomaters (probably butchered that spellings, commonly referred to as "Pots", make sure to get the ones that your Pickup recommends, you are not smarter than the manufacturer)
-Knobs (Make sure they match the same markings as your pot's. There are 16 line knobs for 16 line pots and 24 line knobs for 24 line pots. They don't mix)
-Stereo or Mono jack (In my case I chose a mono jack)
-various wiring (the wiring is all identical, except for the wiring of the pickup. The pickup should always be insulated.)
-Tuners (those little nubs at the top of your guitar, make sure you get the ones that match your neck, I.E 6 in line means 6 in a row and you need to make sure that the dimensions of the tuner match your holes, this is especially important with a pre-made neck.)
-Screwdrivers (You will need a set of jewelers screws for smaller stuff, and a ratcheting standard will make your life easier for the big stuff)
-Various saws for cutting the block (I used a Jigsaw with a standard single sided woodcutting blade. I made a small jig using a ruler to cut straight lines, I am most comfortable with a jigsaw, but this is easily capable with a tall scrollsaw or a bandsaw)
-Paper (you want to draw out the shape of your guitar until you think it's perfect, I spent a few weeks drawing out the shape until I came up with something I was happy with)
-Time (This project alone took me two months)
-Pizza (Because why not?)
Step 1: Planning
Step 2: Cutting the Body
Step 3: Staining and Shine
I picked a redwood stain and a satin Polyurethane paint at Home Depot. I chose redwood because I wanted to bring a darker color to the wood (and walnut was too similar to the initial color of the wood), Follow the directions on the tins, but the jist is to take a paint brush, brush the wood with the stain, quickly wipe it off with a paper towel, repeat until the entire piece is stained. Try to steer clear of staining any ports or holes, as they will expand slightly, which will ruin your day when you get to attaching the parts. Same thing goes with the Polyurethane. I chose a satin finish because I wanted to let my wood breathe, and it is one of the lighter finishes you can put on your piece. Letting your wood breathe will increase the longevity of the piece and give a warmer tone to guitar.
Step 4: Neck and Electronics
Your neck screws shouldn't grab your body, they should only grab the plate they are attached to and the neck itself. This is all to do with tone, and damaging the wood itself. Make sure your screws are stainless or at least a higher grade. I bought some cheap screws from a company that rhymes conspicuously with Bro's and they shattered inside my neck, causing all sorts of drama and forcing me to hull out a broken screw and replace the hole with a cut dowel. You also don't want to overtorque your screws. Steer clear of drills, and focus on handturning your screws with a screwdriver. Ratcheting screwdrivers will spare your palms.
If your necks holes are too large for you to thread (add ribbing for the screws to grab) then you will have to fill them. I filled mine with a wood putty, I compressed it as much as possible and let it dry 24 hours before putting the screws in again. The screws grabbed the neck with easy and it won't budge anymore. Nothing is scarier than a neck that could pop off and punch you in the face! When you get your neck on, you should be able to hold your guitar by just your neck. If you hear any creaking, or if it moves in the slightest, take the neck off and rethink your strategy. You don't want to be that awkward guy walking into a concert and your guitar gets decapitated.
The electronics were done by a friend of mine at a local business called Heatsync. I was fortunate enough to get it done for free, but the electronics behind my guitar are relatively simple. It still took about two hours, so go to your local guitar store or electronics store and see if they will do it for you. Your pickup will ship with an electronics guide, if not, Stewmac.com has almost every possible setup for free. Make sure you distinguish your Volume pot and your Tone pot. Generally, the volume pot is 500k (ohms) and the tone pot is 250k.
The ground that any of the guides say (Ground to the Bridge) is literally a wire that goes underneath the bridge, it runs the length of it and then you screw the bridge on, this is essential, because any extra metal put inside your electronics box can rattle, and it involves more anchoring on a very thin surface.
Step 5: Attach Everything!
I'm extremely happy with my guitar, although I have some slight fret buzz at random points and the action on my bridge is fairly high, it turned out awesome. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!
Cheers, and happy building guys!