Guitar Making Tip Number 752 is about rosettes. When you are new to making a guitar, don’t feel bad about buying a pre-made rosette. Some of these are truly works of art, and you can make your guitar look amazing by installing one. Here is how.
Rosettes Can Be Difficult as a Beginner
In the beginning, the rosette can be a difficult job. The most basic guitars have concentric rings, or something really simple. That’s on the easier side, but sometimes lacks the same pop as a really elaborate design.
As a beginner, making a rosette from tiny pieces of wood or from sticks is tough. In fact, the process of making rosettes is almost another skill entirely.
Many master rosette makers do nothing but make detailed mosaic rosettes in giant logs. The logs are then cut down, and the slices are sold for guitar makers to inlay.
In the beginning, there is no reason why you should not choose a store bought rosette for your guitar. It will save time making the rosette yourself, and you will get to create a far more interesting look without the hassle. Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 752”
Guitar Making Tip Number 741 is about the circle cutter. On the drill press, you can buy a tool called a circle cutter, or wing cutter. This is a great option for rosette making. The tool makes large round cuts in wood, and can be used for a lot of things. Here is how.
Rosettes and Cutting Circles
There are a number of ways to hand cut rosettes. They have been hand cut for centuries, so you are in good company if you hand cut yours.
The only down side to hand cutting the rosette cavities is that its time consuming. If you are half way good with a chisel, you can do the job if you are patient.
However, getting the outside and inside lines nice and straight can be tough as a beginner.
An alternative that can give you a lot of help with the bordering of your lines on concentric ring or round rosettes is the circle cutter. This tool fits in the drill press chuck, and you can move one or two cutters on a shaft. The cutters are locked in place, and advanced into a piece of wood. Spinning, they cut circles according to how they were set. Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 741”
This wood finishing tips card is about oil finishes. When you are a new woodworker, oil finishes are some of the easiest to learn. They make finishing simple, and can have you feeling like an expert right away. Here is how you get started.
The Humble Oil Finish
Oil finishes have been around for a long time. There have been people coating things in oils to preserve them for thousands of years.
Everything from early pottery, to paintings, and even wooden creations have been preserved in oil. After all, thousands of years ago there were few woodworking stores available to buy lacquer from.
Oils were all around early wood finishers. Linseed, Olive, and other plant oils were found in nature, and used to coat and preserve things.
The beauty of an oiled piece of wood is amazing. Very few modern finishes can even come close to the look of a well oiled piece of wood. In fact, most modern finishes are all trying to accomplish the same look as an oil finish, but with the modern protection that a film finish offers. There is beauty in oil finishes, but there is one drawback that can affect the way you handle the pieces you finish… Read more “Wood Finishing Tips Cards – Oil Finishes”
Guitar Making Tip Number 794 is about epoxy based inlay. On a guitar, the inlays can be tough is you are trying for more than dots. Working with epoxy and additives allows you to create a liquid inlay. This is great for a number of reasons, and here is why.
Inlays and Guitar Making
In the beginning, doing more than dot inlays on the guitar can present a real challenge to any new guitar maker. After all, there is already so much to learn, now you have to learn how to inlay too.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to traditional inlay. With normal inlay, you have to create a cavity that matches an inlay piece. This involves tracing the piece, cutting the cavity, test fitting, and then fine fitting.
You can spend hours getting the pieces to fit well, and then one small mistake with the Dremel and you put a giant gouge in your inlay cavity. It’s rough stuff.
Thankfully, you can take advantage of something that the wood turning community has known about for a long time. This kind of inlay lets you accomplish just about the same look but with far less fuss… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 794”
Guitar Making Tip Number 649 is about the neck to body joint. This is one of the locations where you can lose the most vibration. The neck and the body do a lot to help the guitar make sound. Getting the joint correct makes a difference, and here is how you do it.
How the Neck and Body Work Together
The neck and the body work together to hold the strings in place. They also set the scale length, and resist the tension and pressure that the strings apply.
On the guitar, the neck is also tied to the body in a mechanically disadvantaged location. It hangs out into space, and needs a lot of strength at the bottom to keep it from waggling around and losing energy.
The most effective thing that you can do to ensure a great sounding guitar is to make this joint a top priority.
While there are lots of thoughts out there on the type of joint, or the virtues of one method over another, the truth of the matter is that all of the joints are just fine. What you need to do is pick one that you can execute really well… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 649”
I don’t have a lot of fancy tools. I do have a lot of tools, but I don’t own anything that you would consider to be very high end. Most of my tools are from home improvement stores, and others from discount tool stores. Either way, I still get stuff done. Here is why that’s great for any beginning woodworker following tutorials on my site.
Fancy Tools and Woodworking
One of the most interesting compliments that I ever received on my books was from a person who said that they liked how I had normal tools in my descriptions.
He said that it made sense for him, because the task I was teaching didn’t seem like something he would need a new shop to accomplish.
That was one of the nicest compliments and insights into my books that I have ever received, and it sums up the way that I like to teach others about woodworking.
I don’t have a ton of really nice tools, though I do have several tools in the shop. I know that I have more than many, but there are many that have more than me. What I mean by “fancy” is that I don’t own anything that the average woodworker could not afford. My most expensive tool is my band saw, and it was $400. Here is why this is good for you as a reader of Westfarthing Woodworks… Read more “I Don’t Have Lots of Fancy Tools”
Guitar Making Tip Number 733 is about getting help from the woodworking store. In most wood stores, they have machinery in the back. In most cases, they will make a few cuts for you for a price. This is great for the new guitar maker, and here is why.
Getting Help as a Beginner
As a beginner, it can be hard to find access to all the tools that you will need to make a guitar. Especially if you are brand new, and have nothing, finding the tools can be a real challenge.
This is where the wood store and the woodworking store come in handy. A wood store will typically have machinery in the back that they use to cut and prep their materials for sale.
A good store will also let their customers know what they have, and how much a cut or a pass will cost.
In the event that you need access to a larger saw, or a thickness sander, working with the wood store is helpful. I recommend that you do at least this one thing though before you count on getting help from your local store… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 733”
Guitar Making Tip Number 731 is about using the rosette area to showcase a little woodworking flair. If you are comfortable woodworking, then you can use the rosette to show a little skill without worrying about ruining the sound. Here is how.
Rosettes are a Beautiful Focal Point
When you look at a guitar, one of the first places that you look is the rosette. It’s right there on the front of the guitar. In most cases, it also contrasts, so it really screams for attention.
This is a place that you can go a little over the top with in a safe way. The rosette does influence the sound to a point, because the stiffer area around the soundhole opening helps reduce vibration loss.
However, once you have something stiff in place around the soundhole, the look really doesn’t have much of an effect.
If you are a new guitar maker, and are struggling to learn woodworking at the same time, stick with a store bought or basic rosette and it will be a much easier process. However, if you are a woodworking master, then you really should make the rosette something to admire. Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 731”
If I can do it, you can do it. I am not any more talented than anyone else, nor do I have any super powers. I just really like woodworking, and I have been working at it for a very long time. Here is why this is great for you.
I’m Just a Normal Person Who Loves Woodworking
The simple truth behind why I tell people they can do my tutorials if they try is because that’s all I really do. I just try things.
Most of my woodworking ideas happen as I do something else. I think about it a while, and then just go try it. Sometimes they work, and you end up with a tutorial on my site, and sometimes they don’t.
All throughout my woodworking career I have been really good at having the confidence to try new things. This is really here you can make a big difference in your woodworking ability.
Many people shy away from trying new things because they are afraid they will fail. Sometimes they are afraid that they will ruin some wood. Either way, you should never be afraid to try something new.
Try Something – You Can Do It
I have always said that trying new things is important. In fact, I wrote a whole post a while ago called Try Something New, which explains it on more detail. However, when you try new things, you increase your skill level much more quickly than working with familiar things.
A good way to know if you are doing something that will increase your skills is when the thing you are doing is difficult. If it feels harder than normal, that means you are increasing your skill level at that task.
If what you are doing is very easy, then you are not adding to your skill. The fact that you are already comfortable with the task demonstrates that you know it. In a case like this, look for something else to try that will add to the existing skill.
Just Try It Yourself
You will never really know what you can and can’t do until you fail. This goes for just about everything. There is a natural path that you can follow where you add and add, learning more and more about woodworking. Until you reach a failure point, you really have no idea how good you are.
That being said, just try it yourself. When you see a tutorial that you like, and you think it may be a little outside your comfort zone, be careful and give it a try. Now, don’t do anything that will risk you becoming injured, but find something that you might otherwise shy away from and give it a try.
When you work from the perspective that you will most likely succeed, you tend to succeed more than you fail. Confidence is huge, and if you approach the tutorial or project with a little confidence, you will have a far better chance of winning.
If I Can Do It You Can Do It Wrap-Up
Long story short, feel free to go through my site and know that I am not going to attempt to teach you something that you have no business learning. Everything that I do, including the guitars is designed with the beginner in mind.
Make sure that if you feel unsure about a project, that you at a minimum keep yourself safe during the process. There is no sense in trying something that you are nervous about and hurting yourself. However, once you are fully conformable using the tools, then feel free to try the new projects and ideas here on the site.
If you have any questions about If I Can Do It You Can Do It, please leave a comment and I will be glad to help. Happy building.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
While I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well. You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
You can also Join the Community, and receive updates from me about new articles, upcoming books, and when I release new books. It’s completely free, and full of great tutorials, freebies, and great content.
Guitar Making Tip Number 624 is about fretting the neck. When you hammer your frets, especially as a beginner, lots of bad things can happen. Here is how you can still fret your neck and not worry about all the bad things.
Fretting the Neck as a Beginner
In the beginning, fretting the neck is scary. It’s a completely new skill for most, and a lot depends on the fretboard being right.
This causes stress, and sometimes it can cause people to rush through the process. Rushing just makes it worse, and everything spirals out of control from there.
The biggest problem with fretting in the beginning is hammering. It really does take some skill and practice to hammer in the frets without damaging anything else. It also takes skill to seat them well.
With the alternative methods to fretting available to guitar makers, it’s a surprise that some people still use the hammer. Pressing frets into place with a caul is a much better method, and it alleviates a lot of the problems associated with hammering. Here is how… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 624”