Introduction: Guitar Throne
So... you want to make a guitar throne, eh? So did I and this is what I came up with (pictures 1 and 2). When I looked around the interwebs for inspiration, I started with a few google image searches and found a few... here are two pictures I gleaned from the search (pictures 3 and 4). After reviewing the search, I decided that I wanted to make a throne that was easy to assemble/disassemble and all components could be contained within the suitcase in order to simplify storage.
After getting an idea for what type of throne I wanted to make, I went out searching for a large old suitcases at local auctions/flea markets.
Step 1: Material and Tool Lists
Several pieces of scrap wood - 2x4s, 1x4s
2 yards x 60'' of red velour
2'' wood screws
10' of 1/16 threaded metal cable
4 eye hooks
Metal primer spray
Gold spray paint for metal
Hot glue sticks
1 package of 1'' foam
Thread for sewing machine
Notebook paper/wax paper
4 1/16'' metal crimps
5 rubber coated U-hooks
Dremel with metal cutting discs
Sawzall with wood cutting blades
Electric drill with pre-drill bits and phillips bit
Hot glue gun
Step 2: Purchase a Suitable Suitcase
Choosing the right style, size, and shape of suitcase is ultimately dependent on your taste and needs. I picked a suitcase that had an interesting interior design. It included a cool set of pockets that could be hung within the case. I thought this feature would be good to store extra chords, pedals, picks, and strings inside.
The only problem with having the pockets is that it wasn't something that had been taken into consideration by the designs I found using google. As a result, I had to adapt my design so the pockets could be accessible when it is all set up. This idea will be more obvious as you continue through the steps of this project.
Step 3: Strategically Design and Create Braces
To start, I removed the bottom lining of the suitcase. I reinforced the bottom of the case with pieces of scrap wood. 2x4s and 1x4s worked well. The spaces between each dividing support was based on what instrument (e.g. acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, banjo... etc.) I wanted to put in each specific space. The final width of each gap was just slightly (~1/8-1/4'') wider than the width of each instrument to ensure a snug and supportive fit. Using 1x4s or 2x4s with this particular case allowed me to close the lid without having to remove them. Big plus in terms of easy storage.
As for the other side (lid) of the case, I partially removed the lining and inserted a 1x4. This will eventually provide structural integrity for the support cables that will keep the lid at a 90 degree angle. It will also be an important base for the U-shaped neck holders to screw into.
The support beam in the lid of the case (3rd picture) was eventually rotated 90 degrees so that it was flush and parallel with the top-most panel of the lid (the panel that is attached to the suitcase handle and latches).
Once I cut all the pieces, I made sure they all had a snug fit. I then pre-drilled all of the boards so I knew where to drill them into the suitcase. This is key since most of your markings will be covered with fabric later as you progress.
Step 4: Cover Braces and Suitcase Interior With Your Fabric of Choice
The color and type of fabric you choose to cover the wood is up to you. I suggest something that is soft, durable, and will be unlikely to scuff or damage your instruments. I chose red velour since it looked nice with my particular suitcase and seemed pretty durable.
I attached the fabric to the pieces of wood by precutting the fabric with about a 1/4'' overlap around the width/depth and a ~1/4'' overlap along the length (1/8'' on each side of the length). The fabric was stretched tightly over the width/depth of the 2x4 and then stapled to the wood while maintaining the 1/8'' overlap on each side of the length of the 2x4. The stapling was ONLY done on the part of the divider that faces down/into the case so that the staples wouldn't be visible when it is all put together. Once wrapped tightly and then stapled along the bottom of the 2x4, I then stapled the length overlap to the ends of the board (2nd picture). This will ensure a tighter-looking upholstery finish once they are put back into the suitcase.
An important consideration for this step the pre-drilling! Be sure to avoid screwing directly into fabric since it will probably catch on the screws, and then cause unwanted marring and emotional strain. Either modify your design so that you can avoid drilling through the fabric that coats each piece of wood OR CAREFULLY pre-drill through the fabric and into the wood once they are fully assembled.
I then lined the remaining portions of the suitcase with red velour using hot glue.
Once everything was lined, I screwed all supports into place.
I didn't end up coating the support brace in the lid with red velour since it was inserted between the lid's interior and the lid. Once the wood piece was inserted and screwed into place, I covered it back up with the original interior fabric and hot glued together.
Step 5: Create Custom Cushions and Insert Between Braces
I found a package of 1'' foam at a fabric store that I decided to use to insert between the wooden dividers in order to keep each instrument's bottom comfortable. They were cut to fit snuggly between each divider using an exacto knife. To cover them with red velour, I sewed the fabric into tight-fitting open-back pillows.
After fabric was sized and cut (1/4'' extra on the width and an 1/4'' on the length), seams were sewn flush (along the ends) 1/8'' from the fabric edges while fabric was inside out. The fabric was then flipped right side out so that the seams were hidden. The cushion was then inserted into the pillows. The remaining loose 1/4'' flap was then hot glued together.
The cushions were then inserted into the tightly fit spaces by first laying notebook paper (wax paper would be better) over the dividing gaps. Cushion were then laid on top of the paper and then pushed into the gaps. This may seem excessive, but it helped to slide these tight fitted pieces into place.
Once these pieces are in place, I "tightened up" loose fabric by taking a flat head screw driver and tucked it into the nearby corners and edges/seams near the pillows and crevasses between the supports and case.
Step 6: Neck Supports and Threaded Wire Brace
In order to keep the lid of the case at a 90 degree angle, while also being able to support the weight of 5 instruments, I braced it with two 1/16'' threaded metal cables (100 lb test) and wood screw eye hooks. The end of the cables were looped and crimped with 1/16'' crimps. The crimps were crimped onto the threaded wire using a pair of vice grips and brute strength. I recommend cutting the cable with a dremel and metal cutting discs since this cable is very cut-resistant - bolt cutters and normal wire cutters don't work so well.
I widened the relief gap of the eye hook using a dremel so that I could slide the cable loops in and out easily. This was an important consideration since the eye hooks need to be screwed into the wooden braces. In doing so, I could attach the cables after I screwed in the eye hooks. I spray painted my cables and eye hooks gold so they would better match the rest of the throne.
The rubber coated U hooks were screwed into the lid of the case at an ~45 degree angle.
The great part about this design is that everything added in this step can be unscrewed and placed inside the case for increased mobility.
Voila! That's it. Please leave comments if you have any questions or constructive feedback.