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  • jallen76 commented on joshuallen's instructable Electric Guitar Project2 weeks ago
    Electric Guitar Project

    You should be good to go with that toolset and a router to start. You can always add tools as you feel you need them, rather than buying a bunch of stuff you'll never use. There are fret-slotting blades for table saws you can find and things like that. My bandsaw is small and wimpy and worked perfectly fine for hard maple and ash, which are about as hard a wood as you'd want to make a body from.

    I find the pattern bits from Stewart-McDonald, in combination with their templates (or templates I make myself with a coping saw, rasp and sandpaper) work really well. Use the bigger bit for hogging out material, and the smaller bit for refining the inner curves. http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tool...Like I said, you don't need a top of the line router. A smaller router plus an edge guide and pattern bit will allow you to do anything you need to do. Start by drilling out material to reduce the stress on your router and you should be good to go. Anything with a 1/4" collet will work for routing the cavities. I have been using their template for humbuckers but I use shopmade templates for everything else. They work perfectly fine. My take is that necks are such a perso...

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    I find the pattern bits from Stewart-McDonald, in combination with their templates (or templates I make myself with a coping saw, rasp and sandpaper) work really well. Use the bigger bit for hogging out material, and the smaller bit for refining the inner curves. http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tool...Like I said, you don't need a top of the line router. A smaller router plus an edge guide and pattern bit will allow you to do anything you need to do. Start by drilling out material to reduce the stress on your router and you should be good to go. Anything with a 1/4" collet will work for routing the cavities. I have been using their template for humbuckers but I use shopmade templates for everything else. They work perfectly fine. My take is that necks are such a personal thing, it's a great skill to learn to make one. You can conform it to the shape that feels best in your hand. My first neck was very playable, and I got better at it as I went. Partly it's just having the confidence to make it thinner, and learning what you like. A store bought neck just is what it is and you'll have to live with what you get. I like having the flexibility to do bolt on or set neck or neck through. I love fine-tuning a neck until it feels perfect to me. I use some guides and gauges I bought (or just measurements you look up online) to steer me, but it always comes down to what feels best for you. I use a drawknife, rasps and spokeshaves to shape the neck. I find it fun. Fretboards on the other hand might be different. I think it's a great skill to learn, but if you're worried about it or don't feel you have the skills, then you can buy pre-slotted fretboards from Stewmac or Luthier's Mercantile International (lmii.com) and take the worry out of that part. I use an inexpensive template to mark for the fret slots, then just saw them with a square as a guide. There are various jigs and aids you can buy and make, just search for fret-slotting jig or something like that. Fretting is kind of a pain. It's my least favorite part, but it brings everything together. And if you buy a neck with frets installed, you're still going to benefit from leveling and crowning the frets, which is the part that is the least amount of fun. Lots of videos online how to do that, so check them out.

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  • jallen76 commented on joshuallen's instructable Electric Guitar Project3 weeks ago
    Electric Guitar Project

    I was just thinking of another trick I used for the pickups. So the height screw is often very long (really, probably too long), which is why on a Les Paul, for example, they route the part for the ears deeper than the rest. What works just as well is just drill a hole into the wood where the screw will be to allow the height screw room to fit.

    Definitely grab Martin Koch's book. He gives a lot of great tips for if you can't afford bigger power tools. This was my 10th guitar and the first I made with bigger power tools. I made 2 entirely with hand tools. It is a lot of work.First bit of advice, choose your wood wisely. Don't go for ash for hand tools, especially on your first go. Try alder and basswood instead. Much much much easier to work. Get at least a semi-decent bench. It's an important tool in and of itself. Check out Getting Started in Woodworking online for a solid starter bench that uses threaded rod for stability. I made one entirely with hand tools and a borrowed circular saw. A plow plane or a router works well if you don't have a router.For cutting and shaping the body you'll want something bigger than a coping s...

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    Definitely grab Martin Koch's book. He gives a lot of great tips for if you can't afford bigger power tools. This was my 10th guitar and the first I made with bigger power tools. I made 2 entirely with hand tools. It is a lot of work.First bit of advice, choose your wood wisely. Don't go for ash for hand tools, especially on your first go. Try alder and basswood instead. Much much much easier to work. Get at least a semi-decent bench. It's an important tool in and of itself. Check out Getting Started in Woodworking online for a solid starter bench that uses threaded rod for stability. I made one entirely with hand tools and a borrowed circular saw. A plow plane or a router works well if you don't have a router.For cutting and shaping the body you'll want something bigger than a coping saw, which can't really handle 2" thick material (the blades get too hot and break). I recommend a 12" turning saw. You can make one various ways. One way is to buy the pins from Grammercy tools (see toolsforworkingwood.com). You'll at least want to buy their blades. You could also use a jigsaw, which are much cheaper than bandsaws. The thing with both of those is you'll probably end up with an out-of-square cut, so cut well outside your lines to compensate. For example if you cut from the top with a jigsaw, the blade will tend to deflect away from the curve, so outside curves it will deflect out, and inside curves it will deflect in. With handsaws you're arms will get tired and your arms will tend to drop as you go so the exit side will be higher than the entry. Just be aware and give your self room for error. To finish the edges, you will want some hand-stitched rasps or razor files. They are made to remove a lot of wood. The trick there is to go at the edges at an upward angle, from the front then the back, then file off the triangle in the middle. If you don't, you'll split out the wood on the back (called spelching, if you're wondering). I like to also use spokeshaves. Don't bother with the cheap hardware store spokeshaves, they're completely worthless. Pick up an antique stanley or find a cheaper one on Lee Valley's website. You could also, once you rasp it close, finish with hand sanding. A sanding block (or scrap of wood) plus maybe a couple of dowels for inside curves will help a lot. You can use sandpaper to soften the edges as well.For the neck, you'd want to use the method of starting with a board, then making a scarf joint for the headstock and building up the heel. Making a neck through without a bandsaw... I've done it but I used a frame saw for the bulk of the cut. If you want to build one, look up Roubo saw. You'll have to get it started with a turning saw for the curve on either end until you get deep enough for the frame saw to fit. To use a frame saw, you also need a really stable bench, either one bolted to the wall, or a heavy roubo-style bench, or something like that. A weaker bench will wobble as you cut and you'll waste a lot of energy (he said from experience :)) Easier method would be set-neck or bolt on. You can make one from a single board glued up at the heel. I use a big back-saw for my scarf joint, but a small back saw will work. Just cut carefully and slowly and give yourself extra room for error that you can plane out later.Bare minimum planes you'll need are a block plane and a #5. You can get vintage stanley or similar planes lots of places pretty cheap or you can make a wood-bodied plane. For the block plane, I have a Lie-Nielsen. It's pricey, but man does it work well. A vintage stanely would work just as well.So the routed parts. You need the best 1-inch chisel you can buy. I recommend Lie-Nielsen. You don't need a whole set, just one really nice one and a couple waterstones to keep it sharp. For set neck and bolt on, what I used to do was set the neck in place, then score around the tenon with a knife. Then mark the depth. You can saw a diagonal cut that ends at the front and back corners of the mortise on each side, then chop out material with a chisel. You can also use a forstner or spade bit in a hand drill to hog out material and finish with a chisel. To finish the bottom of the neck mortise, you'll need to either use a router plane (and old Stanley, or a shop-made one, or Veritas/Lie-Nielsen, all work well), which will give you the most consistent results, or carefully pare it with a really sharp chisel. With any handwork stuff, the most important thing is to check your work with a square frequently. So for the neck mortise, you want the bottom to be square to the backs and sides. Then dry fit the neck, pare away, and repeat until you get a good fit. If you end up taking off too much, you can compensate a little with wood shavings or a shim, but try to avoid that by being careful as you remove wood. One tip with a forstner bit or and drill bit is to set up a square on the top nearby and periodically check that your drill is square. Check for front to back square and side to side. Keep the square in place as a visual guide. Also, don't go too big with forstner or spade bit when hand drilling, as they can get jammed and the drill will twist in your hands and can sprain a wrist. Three quarters is plenty. Spade bits are a worse choice because the point is so long you can't remove as much without leaving big divots.Pickup cavities what I used to do was just treat them like a standard mortise. I'd trace out my pickup and check the pickup cover would still cover the hole and have somewhere for the screws to go, and then just chop out a rectangular mortise wide enough and deep to fit the pickup (I frequently use a forstner bit in a hand drill to speed up the process). For the "ears" of the pickup you have two options, chop out a little extra to fit them so that you leave a place for the screws to go into, or make custom pickup covers that are a little wider, then you can just chop out a mortise wide enough for the whole pickup and don't have to worry about it. If you make custom pickup covers, I find the best way is to start with a thicker piece, like 4/4, cut out the space for the pickup (you can chop it, drill then chop, or drill out a couple holes and feed a turning saw blade through the holes and saw it), then use a backsaw to saw off the final pieces to length, width and thickness. Otherwise, they just break. Pickup cavities are areas that don't really have to look pretty, since you can just cover them up with pickup covers. And if you are using a pickguard, Strat style, then you really don't have to worry about aesthetics (I've made a pickup cover out of 1/4" cherry before and it looked pretty nice). Finally the truss rod section. What I used to do was use a router plane with an edge guide to route form the slot for the truss rod. I actually used to use a stepped down approach to form a curved channel for a single action rod, but a straight channel with a double action rod is more straightforword. I've also done it with a plow plane by just plowing the entire length of the neck, then adding an scrap of wood back in at the heel end for a stop. Once it gets covered by the fretboard, no one can see it anyway. Arguably a decent plow plane can sometimes be just as expensive as a small electric router, though. You could do it with just a quarter inch chisel, preferably a mortising chisel. Use a drill to mark the heel end and depth. You'll probably want to use a scrap clamped on to guide your chisel to make sure the channel is straight, but you could just chop out the whole channel that way. Just be conscious of not going too deep. And don't worry if the bottom of the channel looks ugly, since no one will see it. I'd do that when the neck was still full width and thickness. Give yourself lots of material to support the chopping.Basically, yeah, anything you can do with power tools you can do with hand tools. It takes some problem solving and planning. The order that you do stuff will be important, so think through each step first. How it will work. You'll make some mistakes, depending on how comfortable you are with hand tool skills, but it can definitely be done. I guess theoretically you could do the whole thing with nothing but sandpaper. But a) that's going to take, perhaps literally, a ton of sandpaper, b) you're going to generate tons and tons of dust, and c) your arms will probably fall off before you finish. I've described several hand tools I use in the instructable. Really my cheapo bandsaw is just to speed up rough cutting the body and neck. A majority of it I still do with hand tools. And if you don't have a router, you can find them dirt cheap on like craigslist. You don't need a big one. I mostly use a small DeWalt. It's way easier to control. But routers though nice, can quickly destroy a project if you aren't careful. But they are also very loud and generate lots of dust and shavings, so it wasn't practical for me to use one until recently. Hence the chopping methods. My point is you will need a few tools, some of which you can make (router plane) if you need to cut down on cost, some you're better off buying (chisel). Any tool you acquire will either require you to invest time or money, so which you have more of is up to you. I've made a lot of my own tools with varying degrees of success.If you have any specific questions as you go about how to do something. Feel free to drop me a line. Let me know what tools you have and I can give you some ideas on how to accomplish what you are trying to do.

    I'll say one last thing. You can avoid a truss rod altogether if you invest in really high quality quarter-sawn hard maple (sometimes sold as rock maple) for the neck. If you do this, you'll have to be extremely careful in planing the neck and fretboard perfectly flat (or with just a very slight backbow in the fretboard, if you plan on putting heavy strings on it). Really nice quartersawn wood is very stiff and will naturally counteract the pull of the strings. Truss rods were introduced to allow guitar makers to use cheaper flatsawnboards for necks. I've also seen people use laminates (layers) of maple and carbon fiber instead of truss rods. You lose the ability to set the neck tension and it may mean your guitar has slightly higher action, in which case you could use lighter strings t...

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    I'll say one last thing. You can avoid a truss rod altogether if you invest in really high quality quarter-sawn hard maple (sometimes sold as rock maple) for the neck. If you do this, you'll have to be extremely careful in planing the neck and fretboard perfectly flat (or with just a very slight backbow in the fretboard, if you plan on putting heavy strings on it). Really nice quartersawn wood is very stiff and will naturally counteract the pull of the strings. Truss rods were introduced to allow guitar makers to use cheaper flatsawnboards for necks. I've also seen people use laminates (layers) of maple and carbon fiber instead of truss rods. You lose the ability to set the neck tension and it may mean your guitar has slightly higher action, in which case you could use lighter strings to lower the tension. Anyway, yeah, lots of options.

    I can also give recommendations on my favorite vintage and new tool dealers.

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  • jallen76 commented on joshuallen's instructable Jefferson Style Modular bookshelves1 year ago
    Jefferson Style Modular bookshelves

    It's been doing fine with 6. Filled with books, the shelf hasn't had any wobble or stability issues, so I'm pretty satisfied with it. I did spend quite a bit of time trying to get them all to sit stably on each other in the construction phase, which seems to have paid off.

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