I saw an Instructable by cman997 on how to make a pick out of wood: https://www.instructables.com/id/Wooden-Guitar-Pick
He stated "any wood will work".
Since I normally have some thin plywood or fibreboard lying around, I figured I could give it a shot.
I entered the Remix 2.0 contest with this Instructable on 20 september 2015.
My conclusion is:
Don't make picks out of fibreboard, they're not strong, and not nice to play with
Plywood, on the other hand, holds up fine.
Always wear protective equipment, e.g. protective eyewear, hearing protection, and possibly a dust mask or protective gloves.
Make this project at your own risk.
I do not give any guarantees on the result, since it depends on tools and materials used, and on individual woodwoorking skills.
Step 1: Tools and Materials Used
I used the following tools and materials:
- pencil and eraser
- plectrums to trace
- scrollsaw, you could use another precision saw
- rotary tool, not necessary, but was easier than manual sanding
- lacquer, varnish, paint or other finishers of your choice
- 4mm thick MDF fibreboard
- 3mm thick plywood, I didn't have much, so I used spare cornerpieces of a canvas
- any thin wood, including plywood, and if you would like it, fibreboard, will do. 3 mm thick, or less thick is better
Step 2: Cutting Out the Pick Shape
I started with tracing 2 different plectrums, with a different shape and thickness, onto the wood.
I marked the 2 shaped like the purple, thicker with an 'X'.
I then cut out the rough shapes with the scrollsaw, as seen on picture 4.
And finally I cut out the final shape.
Remember when using a saw that the cut of the blade will take up a bit of width. It didn't matter here, since the lines were traced around the plectrum, so the outline was slightly bigger.
Step 3: Finishing: Sanding and Lacquer
I sanded one of the mdf picks down to 3mm, to see how it would hold up.
I sanded the edges of every pick to a curve, as you can see on the first 3 pictures.
The little notch in the back of 2 of the picks is to help me remember which were shaped like the thicker purple pick, just like the earlier 'X'.
The other two were shaped after the orange.
I used a clear, quick drying lacquer.
I would suggest a stronger varnish or lacquer, so the plectrums are stronger.
Step 4: Testing and My Findings.
The mdf plectrums played horrible.
The 4mm thick one was too thick to play easily, the 3mm thick one was slightly better.
They both added a horrible dull sound when hitting the strings.
And it felt as if you were shaving off the top layers while playing guitar.
The plywood plectrums played quite nice.
They were thin enough to play nicely, a bit thinner might even be nicer.
They didn't add much sound.
Compared to my regular plastic plectrums, they sounded a bit more 'earthy' or 'natural'. The sound wasn't as sharp as with plastic picks.
I do not know how regular wooden picks feel or sound, so I can't share any experiences of that.