Hello! I'm Joshua Kim, giving you a tutorial on how to make an elegant wooden portable guitar stand, inspired by Hudson Valley Hard Wood's "Stol" design, but with a clever and convenient twist to it.
- 300 x 560mm sheet of 18mm thick plywood
- 2.5 Inch Stainless Steel Narrow Butt Hinge x2
- Screw x12
- Sandpaper (preferably 3 different grits: from coarse to super fine)
- Varnish (small can, any finish you want)
- Medium-size square rubber stopper x14
- Small-size circle rubber stopper x2
- Velcro square (hook & loop pair) x2
- Inkscape (computer program)
- VCarve (computer program)
- CNC Router Drill
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Step 1: Design the Outline in Inkscape
Let's begin! Now, you could do this the easy way by simply downloading my pre-made vectors from Inkscape that I uploaded here.
If you choose to use Inkscape or hand draw the design yourself, you're going to have to start off with 2 slotted "V" shapes, with slots at each foot, facing left. The exact dimensions of the shape are given in the image above. The next image shows both "V" shaped pieces halved, to minimize unused wood when cutting.
Step 2: Create the Toolpaths in VCarve
In VCarve, set your x, y, and z axes to the lower left and top of the wood, respectively. Now import the vectors you made from the previous step into your VCarve file. For this step, you're going to make 2 toolpath files: one for the Left V Piece, and one for the Right V Piece.
Either make profiles for each vector, OR just download the pre-made VCarve files here! Choose either horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on the shape of your wood sheet. Once you're satisfied, export your toolpaths as a ".tap" gcode file.
1H: Left Piece (Horizontal Orientation)
1V: Left Piece (Vertical Orientation)
2H: Right Piece (Horizontal Orientation)
2V: Right Piece (Vertical Orientation)
Step 3: Cut Out the Pieces With a CNC Router
Now that you have your toolpath files ready, start up your CNC router!
Plug in the power cable, and turn on the machine. Now, lay your 18mm thick sheet of plywood, on the cutting bed, and clamp it down securely, to ensure it doesn't move during the cutting process.
For this project, you're going to be cutting 4 separate pieces, which is actually 2 copies of the 2 half "V" shapes (LeftPiece and RightPiece) we made in the previous steps. So for this cut, find 4 clean areas on your sheet, that are at least 560mm x 50mm, to leave space for each of the 4 shapes you're about to cut out.
To start cutting out a toolpath, use the CNC router controller (x, y, and z axis) to move the cursor (mill bit) to the lower left of the area you want to start cutting, with the mill bit just barely touching the wood. Set all the axes to zero, plug a USB with your toolpath file into the controller, and hit run!
You should end up with 4 pieces:
- LeftPiece x2
- RightPiece x2
Step 4: Sand Down Each Piece
Now your 4 wood pieces probably came out extremely rough. This is the part where you sand them down until they're nice and smooth, to your liking.
NOTE: While you're sanding, keep checking that the slots of opposite pieces slide smoothly into each other. You can sand until the slots go in loosely (to leave room for varnish), but don't go overboard.
Start with your lowest grit (maybe around 100), getting rid of big imperfections, then sand, sand, sand. Work your way up to higher grits (from 240 to around 500) to smooth out smaller imperfections, and keep polishing until it's smooth enough for you!
Step 5: Varnish Each Piece
Here comes the most time-consuming part. You're going to need to add (preferably 3 coats of) varnish to each piece, for a layer of protection.
Before starting, make sure your surface is free of dust, or other materials that could ruin your coat of varnish. Take your paintbrush and apply a full layer of your varnish onto the entire surface area (including inside the slots) of each wood piece. After applying this first coat, leave the wood out to dry for a few hours, preferably 24 hours to be safe.
Once the first coat is done, repeat the process 2 more times to get your 3 full coats of varnish! Make sure the surface of the wood isn't sticky or runny to the touch. That means it isn't finished drying!
Note: Do NOT varnish under direct sunlight. Varnish is flammable.
Step 6: Drill Holes for Hinges
With your newly varnished pieces of wood, you're ready to start connecting the 2 sets of left and right pieces, 2 complete the 2 foldable "V" shapes!
But before you screw in the hinges, drilling pilot holes in the places the screws should go will make the job much easier.
Pair up the 2 sets of left and right pieces, and push them firmly together at their bases. Next lay your 2.5 inch steel narrow butt hinges over the middle of their intersections. The hinges should fit perfectly along the length between the inner and outer vertices (center tip) of the "V" shapes. Remember to place the hinges in the orientation that will allow each "V" shape to easily open and close.
IMPORTANT: This is where the 2 "V" shapes will stop being identical. For one of them, align the hinge with the wood where the connection slots are facing LEFT, and one of them where they're facing RIGHT.
Once you have the hinges aligned exactly along the intersections, clamp the pieces firmly in place, and mark the 6 screw holes (per hinge) with a pencil. Finally, with a drill press, drill small holes through each of the pencil marks, just wide and deep enough for the screws you will be using. Tip: Don't make the holes too loose!
Step 7: Screw in Hinges
Since you've just drilled all 12 of the holes you need, this part should be pretty straightforward. Place your hinge over the holes, between the 2 wood pieces. Using your Phillips screwdriver, screw in all 6 of the screws for each of the 2 hinges, locking them firmly in place. If you did it right, you should end up with 2 sturdy fully foldable "V" shapes!
Step 8: Attach Rubber Stoppers
Your 2 "V" shaped wood pieces should now be mirror images of each other. With the hinge up, the piece with the slots facing left is the Bottom Piece, where the guitar's butt will rest, and the piece with the slots facing right is the Back Piece, where the guitar's back will lean on.
You're going to have to attach rubber stoppers to these key points so the wood doesn't scratch the guitar or the floor!
For the Bottom Piece:
- Place 8 medium-sized square rubber stoppers on the inside, just in front of the slots [Pictures 1 & 2]. These are meant to cover all areas of contact the guitar will have with the wood, including corners, so don't be afraid to overlap!
For the Back Piece:
- Place 6 medium-sized square rubber stoppers at the top, middle and just above the slots (2 each section, 1 on each side) [Picture 3].
- Place 2 small-sized circle rubber stoppers at the feet, where the wood contacts the ground [Picture 4].
Step 9: Attach Velcro Squares
To make sure the folded pieces can stay closed, you're going to have to attach Velcro squares near their feet, on the same side as the hinges (shown in picture).
This part is extremely simple, just attach the hook Velcro square to the left foot and the loop Velcro square to the right, exactly so they come into contact and lock when the piece is folded!
Step 10: Set Up Stand
The hard part is over!
Now that you've made your stand, here's a quick lesson on how to set it up. Hold the back piece (the one with rubber stoppers on its feet) upright, and the bottom piece perpendicular to it.
NOTE: The hinges should be facing AWAY from you, essentially invisible from the front view of the guitar. This means the back piece will have its hinge facing backwards, and the bottom piece will have its hinge facing the ground.
Simply hold both "V" shapes open and align the slots, which should be facing each other and slide right in, since both pieces are mirror images of each other. Don't force it in! If the slots aren't inserting correctly, adjust your angle and placement and try again.
Step 11: Place in Carrying Pouch
Now there's only one step left.
When you want to bring it around, fold your 2 wooden pieces in half, and secure them with the Velcro locks. Grab your carrying pouch (which you can just recycle from a badminton or tennis racket pouch) and drop the pieces in. They should slide right in. Now that you're ready to go, sling that bag over your shoulder, take your guitar with you, and enjoy the newest aesthetic piece in your guitar accessory collection!
Happy playing! Play your heart out, anywhere, anytime.