Introduction: DIY Veneer Guitar Picks
For many years, I have played guitar off-and-on and like most people who work; I have spent too much time away from the instrument. One day, while listening to my daughter playing my old acoustic I had an idea for a fun and simple project.
- One sheet of Maple and Cherry Wood Veneer (the selction of wood up to the craftsman)
- One bottle of Cyanoacrylate (CA) better known as Super Glue and a can of Activator
- One piece of scrap wood 1x4x8 but size is adjustable
- A ruler
- Razor blade knife
- Wax paper
- Latex gloves
- 1x30 belt sander with a 120 grit sanding belt
- Sanding Paper 220 to 400 grit
- Natural finish or any finsih you are comfortable with
- Paper towels
- Masking tape
Step 1: Video Tutorial
Here is the link to my You-tube video if you would like to see the build process.
Step 2: Measuring & Cutting Long Strips
Phase #1 Preparing Stock
In this step, I arrange the sheet of Cherry Wood veneer so it can be cut with the grain. The ruler is aligned to measure out one inch of material. Use and little caution when cutting with the grain by using a fresh and sharp blade. When cutting with the grain the material will have a tendency to just split. Press firmly with the ruler and cut slowly.
Step 3: Changing Grain Direction
This time using the Maple veneer we will be cutting across the grain. Align the ruler same as before. When cutting notice the difference in presure that it takes to complete the cut. You may have to make several passes with the razor blade.
And, it maybe necessary after several passes to attempt the score-and-break technique. When scoring and breaking the materail it is a best practice to flip the material over and reposition the ruler and pull up on the exposed edge. The material should snap right on your cutting edge.
Step 4: Measuring & Cutting Squares
Now that you have two stripes of veneer it is time to cut them down into one inch squares. Notice that the grain direction has changed. Therefore the Cherry wood will now have to be cut across the grain and the maple with the grain.
Step 5: Prep & Align Squares to a Cross Grain Orinatation
Prep work- Lay down some brown crafter paper, wax paper and tape the edges. I wood recommend two layers of wax paper which may seem excessive but I had some moisture penetrate.
This step we need to align the veneers in a complex or plywood pattern to produce a stronger material. You may want to take a second to draw out some arrows to ensure grain direction.
Step 6: Prep - the Press Board and Glue
In this step, we are going to prepare the scrap wood to use as a makeshift press. Take your wood and roll it with wax paper and tape it into place. One side of the board should be completely sided with wax paper and the back side should have a taped edge.
On the market there are a few quality CA glues. The glue pictured here is just what I had on hand. I recommend the thin glue formula for this project as it penetrates deep into the wood fibers but medium and thick should also work.
Step 7: Appling the Glue
In this step, coat the veneer squares with a liberal amount of glue wearing some latex gloves. With the thin formule glue the wood should soak up the glue and appear drenched. At this point, you need to ask how much glue to use. While at the cost of CA glue you want just enough to coat the wood and have just a little extra.
Step 8: Stacking the Squares
Working fast - take the squares and stack them. Stacking pattern:
Reminder: Keep the grain orintation
Step 9: Press the Plywood and Spraying Accelerator
Once the wood has been stacked take the Make-shift press (scrapwood) and press down on it. Once firmly in place spray the AC activator inbetween the press and work surface. Overall, hold in place for approximately 45 seconds. A little of the activator goes a long way and there is no benefit for using extra.
Step 10: The Clean Up -
After pressing the material there will be a need to cleanup your project and workspace. Wax paper and AC glue bond slightly so expect some torn paper.
Step 11: Copying the Pick Design
Phase #2 Shaping Project
In this step, I use an old pick to define the shape. Using a sharpie I draw its outline.
Step 12: Cutting Out the Profile
In this step, I use a 1x30 belt sander (120 grit) to cut the materail to the desired profile.
There are several options to perform this task but I like the belt sander. As the operator, I have a greater amount of control feeding the materail into the moving sandpaper. The belt sander opposes a scrol saw and its metal toothed blade.
Note: For greater control using a finer grit like 220 or higher will slow the cutting rate of the material.
Step 13: Cutting Away the Excess CA-Glue
In this step, I use the 1x30 belt sander to clean away the excess glue on the surfave of the pick. Take care to lightly touch the sand paper surface with the flat sides of the pick. Veneer is thin wood and 120 grit can remove a layer pretty quickly. I would recommend using 220 or high grit belt, if you have it.
Tip: When using a 1x30 belt sander or an operation like this use all of your senses. Esp. your hearing - as the material approaches the belt, listen for the whisper of contact.
Step 14: Prep - Sanding Set-up
This is a step where we are setting up the next operation. Take a paper towel and fold it in half and lay it on your work surface. Use some masking tape to secure it down. In like manner, tape a peice of 220 grit sanding paper over the paper towel. What this set-up allows is for the work surface to flex around the project and reach hidden gaps.
Step 15: Sanding and MORE Sanding
This it the most dreaded step of all projects. SANDING - but I encourage you to really focus on this step.
At this stage our project has three sides - top, bottom and the edge.
Sanding angle #1 - The Flat surfaces known as top and bottom
Holding the pick with your finger tips slide the flat sides across the sanding paper. Use caution to avoid the paper as it can wear down your nail.
Sanding angle #2 - The Edge
Sand the edge flat and refine the profile of the pick if needed.
Sanding angle #3 - Beveling
Tilt the pick to an angle and run it across the sanding paper. My approach is to trim away the dark Cherry wood to expose an outline of the Maple circling around the entire pick. This angle is the hardest to describe - but all you are doing is creating a transition between the flat surface and the edge.
Step 16: Pictures - the Desired Results
These pictures show what I felt to be a nice transition and constrast of woods.
Step 17: Applying Finish
I like to finish a lot of my projects with a natural type of finish. Here I am using Howard's Feed and Wax. I like this product because it is stupid simple. Just apply a dab and rub the finish in with a paper towel. I focus on using very little of the papertowel. I work in stages - first, is the wet stage, where the pick is soaked with the finish and it works best if allowed to sit for some time. Second, I wipe off the finish and buff it down. For this project, I find two clean spots on the paper towel and drag the pick in a circular pattern until dry to the touch.
Step 18: Final Product
I hope you liked this Instructable and if you read this far go ahead and check out my video.
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