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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Restoring a Telecaster

Posted on March 20, 2012 by Isaac R., 12th Grade

One of the coolest projects I have gotten to do since coming to Wildlands has been restoring my Fender Telecaster. I bought the guitar earlier this year. When I purchased the instrument, it was in terrible condition. The paint on both sides of the body had been sanded off by the previous owner. They also burnt the exposed wood to cover up the mistakes made during the paint removal. The actual instrument worked fine but the body needed a lot of work before I could feel comfortable playing it without damaging the exposed wood.

guitarI started disassembling the guitar on September 23rd. Taking apart the guitar was easy and it only took a few hours to have all the parts taken off. The hard part was the three weeks of hand sanding that came next. All guitars are painted with the same Lacquer (paint) as cars are, making it very thick and difficult to remove.

Mr. Tweed has been a big help with this project. Even though I knew quite a bit about guitars he gave me a lot of good suggestions and had a lot of knowledge on the subject. We did a lot of research to discover the year that the guitar was built. I have quite a bit of experience working with wood, but this was my first time working with a guitar. I was very nervous about just taking my guitar apart. I was afraid of starting the project and not being able to finish it. He has advised me on a lot of different levels along the way, especially on the wiring and electrical side of things.

The guitar is completely done being sanded now. I am currently waiting on the lacquer I ordered to come in before I start on the next step. Instead of painting the guitar I plan on using stains to give it color. To do that I plan on burning the outer rim of the guitar lightly with a blow torch to give it a two tone color sunburst. After the guitar has been stained it will need multiple coats of clear lacquer put on to keep the stain from rubbing off and fading. This process has to be done in an air tight place and takes anywhere from four to seven weeks to finish drying. I hope to have this project finished around February. I can't wait to have the project finished. The guitar will be so nice once it's done! It will be amazing to be able to play it again!


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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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