Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cheap Homemade Tools

While waiting for the neck and neck block to arrive, I started building a binding jig. The binding jig I am building has two parts to it. First, there's a cradle which holds the body of the guitar. Second there is a doohickey that holds a laminate trimmer, and which will go up and down. When the cradle holding the body is run under the trimmer, and the trimmer will "ride" on the edge of the body in a perpendicular fashion, and will make clean binding channels.

I got the cradle finished today:

I was really pleased because it only cost a couple of bucks to make. Here's a detail of one of the corners.

Those corners are screwed to plywood in the shape of a guitar body. That plywood is the scrap from when I made the body mold from my last guitar, a 000. Underneath of the cradle, I've got pieces of felt arranged so that the whole thing will slide easily on a countertop.

As long as I'm posting pics here, there are a number of things I've made for nothing or next-to-nothing. All of this stuff, you could pay big bucks for. I have no idea why. Guitarmakers oughta be crafty, right?

Here's the mold I made that I used for my first guitar, the 000.

The whole mold was made out of a single long piece of plywood, about 10" wide, that my neighbor gave me. The only cost involved was the brass hardware. ($0.50 at a yard sale.)

This is my go-bar deck.

This too was made out of free scrap. I had those little "L" shaped pieces and the screws, but I can't imagine those cost very much.

And here are my go bars. They are just dowels cut a little short of 24".

These 2"x2"s have radii cut into them.

One is 15' and the other is 25'. When I turn the 15' radiused piece on its side...

... I've got a fret holder.

I'm actually planning yet another use for these two 2"x2"s. I have a piece of pipe and a flange that I will mount to a board. When the rim is built, I'll drill a hole in the center of each of the 2"x2"s, so that they can spin on the piece of pipe. I'll use this to sand the rims, transferring the proper radius to both top and back.

This piece of poplar has been trimmed for most of its length, so that it is the same shape as a fingerboard that is 24.9" scale and 1 11/16" wide at the nut.

When it is strapped to the fingerboard, the other end has a mark that should fall right in the center of the body.

Here's my version of a jig used to glue the bridge down. Again, it only cost me the price of the screws.

And last but not least, and probably most controversial of all, are my homemade nut files.

These are just pieces of string superglued to popsicle sticks. It is slow working with them, but they give you a perfectly round groove, the same size as your string, for sure.

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