Guitar Making Tip No. 30 is about lessons learned from mistakes. When you make a mistake, the only time it’s bad is when you don’t learn from it. In every mistake is an opportunity to start again, this time with a little more experience. Here is how you can get the best from the moments in the shop that you are not the most proud of.
Lessons Learned From Error
Being new to anything, you can expect to make a lot of mistakes. This is completely normal, and you should not be troubled.
It takes time and practice to learn something new like making acoustic guitars, and you will surely encounter a little heartbreak along the way.
When you make a mistake, it’s important to do a kind of autopsy on the error. You need to dig in to why it happened, what caused it, and what you should have done instead.
Guitar Making Tip No. 206 is about the X brace. The spread of the X brace has a big effect on the stiffness of the top plate. You can open and close the X brace in relation to the top and bottom of the guitar, and it will make a big difference in the performance of the top. Here is how.
The X Brace Patter for Bracing the Top
Once The Martin Company started using the X brace design, it did not take long for the rest of the guitar making world to follow along. It’s the best design we have so far, and it makes some of the best sounding guitars in the world.
The beauty of the X brace is the ability to spread out the rigidity over the entire top, and overcome the disadvantages of the previous bracing systems. Even being the best, there are still opportunities to tweak the way it works.
The job of the braces is to spread out the forces and tension from the strings. They work together to make the top stiff enough not to bend or break under the force. They also must allow the top to vibrate. Doing these two things at the same time is an art, and the X brace does it extremely well. Here is how you can manipulate your X brace to change the strength of the top… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 206 – The X Brace”
Where to buy woodworking tools is a common question among new woodworkers. In the beginning, it can be difficult to know what you need. You also may not know all the places you can find woodworking tools. Here are a few places to look.
Where to Buy Woodworking Tools
There are actually a lot of places to find woodworking tools. Where you go does depend a little bit on your project type, and what you are looking for, but you can find them in many different places.
In the beginning, it can be tempting to buy all of your tools from one place. While this is fine if you are comfortable with that place, you can save some money and expand your tool choice by combining a few different types of places.
After all, you need to get the tools that will make you successful. You also need to spend your money wisely in order to get the most bang. Depending on what you need, check out one or all of the following places, and you will be happy with what you find.
Guitar Making Tip No. 231 is about preventing plate scratches while carving and sanding the internal braces. There is one easy trick that you can do to protect the inside of the plates, and you probably already have the item in the shop. Here is what you do.
Preventing Plate Scratches on Your Guitar
As you sand and carve the braces, you will come really close to the plate itself. Whether this is the top plate or the back plate does not matter, on both jobs you will come really close to the plates with your tools.
If you accidentally strike the plate with the chisel, or rub over it a few times with your sandpaper, you will leave scratches that are easy to see. When you do that, you will need to go back and sand them out, which adds time to the build.
Even the most careful luthier can make a mistake and scratch something that they did not intend to scratch. That’s why they call it an accident, because it’s not intentional. As a beginner, you are at more risk of contacting the plates with your tools and sandpaper, simply due to inexperience. Either way, this is the only thing you need to prevent these accidents… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 231 – Preventing Plate Scratches”
Guitar Making Tip No. 181 is about edged tools and guitar making. Edged tools are wonderful to use, and they connect you to the woodworkers of the past. There are a few things you can to make your experience the best it can be. Here is what you do.
Edged Tools and Guitar Making
As you make your guitar, you will find many opportunities to use edged tools. Before modern tools, the entire guitar was made from edged tools. This means at essentially every step in the process, you will see that opportunity.
With modern advancements, you will naturally use many power tools as well. This is ok. Living in the time that we live in, you are going to be able to choose what direction you go for your tools.
As you choose your tools in the beginning, or decide how to complete each step, think about your edged tools. If you are already comfortable with them, then this will be really easy. If not, you might have to push yourself a little to find places to add them in. One thing I can promise, is that if you do this one small thing, you will actually enjoy using your edged tools… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 181 – Edged Tools and Guitar Making”
Woodworking in small spaces like basements, apartments, or garages can be a challenge as a beginner. However, the size of the shop does not mean much. It’s really more about the quality and the determination of the woodworker. Here is how you get the most from your small shop.
Woodworking in Small Spaces
The only real limitation from a small shop is the size of things you can produce. In a second floor apartment, it’s going to be difficult to make big furniture pieces. You can find ways around it by making the items in sections, but it’s still not ideal.
As you look at your space, remember that you only need enough room for your tools and for your materials. Add in a little for moving around, and you have enough room to start making things from wood.
Having worked in several very small shops, and still working in what most would say is a smaller space, I don’t believe that the shop makes much of a difference at all.
Guitar Making Tip Number 101 is become a student of guitar making. In the beginning, you will not be able to spend all of your time in the shop. In the between times, you can still feed your interest in making guitars by learning about the guitar making process. Here is how.
Guitar Making Tips and Becoming a Student of Guitar Making
One of the best ways to keep your guitar making fires fed is to become a student. This means doing everything you can in your down time to learn about guitar making.
At first, you are going to be super interested in guitar making, and you will want to spend every waking moment working on your guitar. However, with life, work, kids, and school, you may not always have the time.
You can advance your guitar making knowledge by simply using those down times to add to your guitar making arsenal.
Guitar Making Tip Sumner 36 is about taking a tour of a guitar maker’s shop. You can learn a lot, and find inspiration for miles when touring a shop. It’s not as difficult as it sounds to find someone to visit, and it can make a big difference. Here is how you do it.
My First Shop Tour as a New Guitar Maker
When I was a new guitar maker, I had the pleasure of visiting someone that my father knew, who also made instruments. Though he did not make guitars, the meeting was incredible.
This was the first time that I had ever been into another woodworker’s shop. Seeing the different tools, different organization, and the random projects everywhere was inspiring.
The biggest inspiration was the luthier himself, because until that point I had also never met anyone that was as passionate about making instruments as I was. Not only was he passionate, but he dragged me from area to area around the shop telling me about everything he had. He was more than happy to tell me all about each new tool, new finish, and fixture/jig that he made. It was awesome, and I truly recommend that you visit another shop early on as a guitar maker… Read more “Guitar Making Tip No. 36 – Tour a Shop”
How to choose a woodworking project will show you a proven way to select the right project, and increase the chances that you will complete it. Choosing a project is an important step in woodworking, and can be the difference between a fun experience or a bad one. Here is how you do it.
How to Choose a Woodworking Project
Most people end up in woodworking by accident. What happens is that they need something for the house that is made from wood, or they need something else that is made from wood, and they are forced to figure out how to make it.
Other times, they need to finish something, or change the color of something that is made from wood. In cases like these, they brush arms with woodworking. This is where the bite happens, and suddenly it begins.
Woodworking is a means, not an end. Woodworking is no different than plumbing, or welding. The skill itself is not the product, it’s what you use the skill to make that has all of the value.
What tools do I need to get started woodworking? This is a very common question from beginning woodworkers. The answer is pretty easy, and if you follow this advice you can save a lot of money in the beginning. Here is what you need to do.
What Tools do I Need as a New Woodworker
Woodworking can be a money pit. Like any hobby, there are thousands of manufacturers and stores that are lined up and ready to take your money in exchange for materials and tools of the trade.
As a new woodworker, getting started in woodworking can be costly. However, you can lower that cost if you make good buying decisions. After all, at the point where you are right now, you may not really need as many tools as you think.
Also, by purchasing the right tools, you can significantly reduce your costs. What are the right tools? This is where you need to look at what you are making, and it will become abundantly clear.