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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:55 am
Posts: 21
I'm an old retired guy. Have been playing guitar since college with a break of 20 years. Started up again at age 60, ten years ago. I play with only my fingers, no picks, on steel stringed acoustic guitars. Right now I own two Eastman D sized guitars. I also play a Pono tenor uke.

I am looking for a hobby, and I've always been interested in guitar construction, woods, etc. I am not that experienced with building-type woodworking, though I've done the usual repairs around the house. I am pretty good at furniture refinishing and gun stock finishing, both of which I think will serve me well with finishing the guitar once built. I have basic hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers, electric drills and a circular saw.

After a day's research, it appears a bolt-on necked D sized StewMac guitar would suite me. However, I am totally confused over what tools I'd need to complete their kit project. I see tool "kits" on StewMac's web pages for $20 to over $400; but I am not sure what I really would need to do the job. I'm having a hard time figuring out what tools are mainly for repair or building from scratch, and what tools are needed with the kit. I'm not afraid of spending $300-$400 dollars on tools, but I'd like to know if they are the proper ones I need to build one of their kits.

As an aside, I don't really need three guitars. If I enjoy building this first guitar, I am considering donating it to a worthy cause (perhaps as a raffle item?) or taking it to my local guitar academy for them to sell on consignment, or maybe donate to an aspiring guitar player. This appeals to me mainly if I build more than one guitar, and would obviously mitigate the cost of tools. Anyone have recommendation on what to do with the guitars I'd make, above and beyond the ones I'd want to keep. <g>


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 541
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
You've come to a good site for advice. Well worth your time, a call to John At Blues Creek would be the first thing you might consider. (see ad on the left for the tel #.) John sells kits and tools, too, including the Martin kits, if I recall correctly. And even better he has a boatload of youtube ideos on how to build, too.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1574
Hi. Welcome to the forum. You'll end up with quite a list for tools. I'll start the list and I'm sure others will chime in.

A worthwhile place to donate guitars is the Guitars for Vets program. Guitar lessons and playing are used as therapy tools for veterans, both physically and mentally. I'm an Air Force get, and I fix up old guitars to donate. You can call your local VA office or hospital for more information, or look it up on the internet.

For building a single guitar, these will get you started. If you like building, then you'll want to add a lot more specialized tools.

Tools:

1. A decent chisel or two. I use 5/8" and 1/4". Used ones are great. Dont get cheap chisels. I hurt my hands on cheap chisel that wouldn't stay sharp and ended up having surgery on both hands.
2. I use a 6" block plane almost daily.
3. CLAMPS, lots and lots of clamps! You can never have too many. Harbor Freight tools is a great source for clamps (not chisels).
4. Drill with bits
5. Chalk, plain old white chalk sticks
6. Dovetail saw. I have an Irwin Marples Blue chip. It has the right kerf to make fret slots, plus it saws everything else. If you know you're going to keep building, then think about getting some sort of slotting system. I used this saw on 2 fretboard, which turned out great.
7. Machinist rulers with 1/64" and 1/32" scale. Both 6" and 24".
8. Guitar mold for whatever size you decide
9. Laminate trim router, or another way to cut binding and purfling channels, with a bit.
10. A jig to hold the trim router parallel to the sides. There are different ways of doing this. There is a handheld jig that will do this in which you only need a single bit, with adjustments made on the jig for depth and width of cut. There are also elaborate jigs that hold the router. You use a bit with various bearings to cut these channels. The first type is cheaper, but potentially harder to control. The second type is more expensive, but extremely accurate and, IMO, easier to use.
11. Wood reamer, for reaming holes
12. Something to slot the nut. You can find nut slotting rods on eBay, which are inexpensive. Nut slotting tools from luthier sites are more expensive. I have both. The rods were okay in the beginning, but if you end up building more, you'll want a set of slotting files.
13. X-acto razor saw will cut through bone. I use it to start the slots in the nut, then use files or rods to complete the nut. It's also good for cutting braces and other things.
14. Circle cutting jig. Mine holds my trim router to cut the rosette.

A word on the trim router. I started out using my 25 year old dremel, in a stewmac base, to inlay and cut rosettes. I used the Dremel circle cutting jig for the rosette, and the stewmac base for inlaying. Stewmac also makes a holder for cutting the purfling and binding channels with the Dremel. I don't have any experience with that particular jig. The Dremel was fine for one or two guitars, but if you decide to build more, you'll want to go to a trim router and possibly an inlay tool. My personal favorite laminate trim router is the Rigid.

There are other tools, but this list will get you started.

For kits, if you've not checked out the Blues Creek Guitar kits, you really should.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 1071
Watch John's series of videos on YouTube (search YouTube for "Blues Creek Guitars") to get an idea of what is involved in building a guitar. The tools required may tend to become self-evident.

SewMac sells a host of specialized tools for every conceivable task. You don't need them all!

_________________
Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5649
Location: Hegins, Pa
after watching a few of the videos feel free to give me a call at blues creek
570-682-8046

_________________
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:55 am
Posts: 21
Danl8 wrote:
You've come to a good site for advice. Well worth your time, a call to John At Blues Creek would be the first thing you might consider. (see ad on the left for the tel #.) John sells kits and tools, too, including the Martin kits, if I recall correctly. And even better he has a boatload of youtube ideos on how to build, too.


I did a lot more surfing online on this potential project, and saw Blues Creek in many places. I checked out John's site and viewed a few of his YouTube videos. Looks good. I think I will have to give him a call once I know enough to ask some intelligent questions....like does he offer "bolt-on" necks, which I read somewhere are "easier" for the novice to attach/configure than the dove-tail ones. And John's kits, as opposed to a stock Martin kit.....are his kits basically Martin kits with additional features, detailed directions, etc?

Thanks for the reply!

PS - If anyone has sent me a PM that I see on the logon page I am not able to access it.....when I click on that I get a message saying I am not authorized. IT's WORKING NOW>>>>>>>DISREGARD


Last edited by OldManGuitarGuy on Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5649
Location: Hegins, Pa
Yes we do bolt on neck

My kits are first quality and I do specific custom kits ,and I also sell the CF Martin kits What I do , do is offer full building support. You don't know what you don't know till you know it
feel free to call anytime

_________________
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:55 am
Posts: 21
tippie53 wrote:
after watching a few of the videos feel free to give me a call at blues creek
570-682-8046


John, thanks for that invitation. I will be taking you up on that in the coming weeks!

Doug


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:55 am
Posts: 21
tippie53 wrote:
Yes we do bolt on neck

...You don't know what you don't know till you know it
.....


Dang, John, you are a phrase master also! <G>

Doug


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1574
When John says he gives full support, he means it. He's super helpful.


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