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Cheap Homemade Tools
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 338
I built this today and was pretty proud of myself. It's the cradle portion of a binding jig. Next I'll build the portion that holds the laminate trimmer. (I ordered a Porter Cable last week.)

I only put a couple of bucks into it, for the hardware. And after I put this together, I looked around and realized I have a little collection now of homemade, very-cheap tools and jigs. I'm a packrat and I have a mound of free scrap wood in my garage, which I used to make all these things.

Here's the mold I made that I used for my first guitar, the 000. On my second guitar, a 00, I've decided to get more precise with a KMG mold.

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'. I don't have a shop. I just have a bench. So efficient use of space is crucial. 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. (Idea stolen from John Hall)

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. Although susceptible to warpage, I figured it wouldn't be so bad to use this for one one or two guitars, before I someday pay the hardware store to cut me one out of plexiglass.

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 the bridge gluing jig. Again, it only cost me the price of the screws.

And last but not least, and probably most controversial of all, (you've prob'ly seen em before) are my homemade nut files!

Nov 22, 09 | 7:08 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Martin -- very good! Now if you could only get the guitar parts at a similar price break! :-)

Nov 23, 09 | 5:56 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
I working on that. My father in law has a barn full of maple and cherry. But he guards it all, like it was pure gold or something!

Nov 23, 09 | 8:46 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I think you might want to delete the previous post. I'm not clicking on those links! Hope all is going okay with you. You can delete mine too. :>)


Feb 24, 10 | 5:56 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Martin, seems that when we aren't building guitars, we're building jigs!! You've paid your tribute to the jig gods, now you can get back to guitars!


Feb 24, 10 | 4:55 pm
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Thanks Ken.

Wish I had more progress to show on a guitar from the last few months. When I had the issue happen with my top going concave, I turned to making more tools and jigs, while I seasoned bracewood.

Since my last post in this thread, I have:

made two radiused dishes (15' and 25')
completed the 'tower' portion of my binding jig
made a work board for planing the radius onto the bottom of bracing
made a miter sled so that I can taper fingerboards
made a rosette cutter base for my router
built a little psychrometer setup with two thermometers and a printout chart

total cost for all was about $55.

Feb 26, 10 | 6:31 pm

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
You certainly are a handy fellow! Before I starting building guitars, the best thing I ever "constructed" out of wood was a pile.

Mar 12, 10 | 5:01 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Thanks. I suppose I appear to be "handy" when I don't picture the things that I've screwed up!

Mar 12, 10 | 7:12 am

Total Topics: 28
Total Posts: 65
Martin, you have given me the encouragement to attempt to make more of my own tools and jigs ... certainly will help with the lack of pennies at the moment.

By the way; the man who hasn't made a mistake yet hasn't made anything yet!

Mar 14, 10 | 8:13 am

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