25 Simple Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Changing the Tone

These 25 simple ways to customize your guitar without changing the tone are safe places that you can add your own personal touch without worrying about ruining the sound of the instrument. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to add your own touch. Here they are.

25 Simple Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Changing the ToneAs a new guitar maker, you want to have a nice sounding guitar at the end of the build, but you also want to add some personal touches that make the guitar your own.

This can be a challenge in the beginning, because you may not know how certain areas of the guitar affect the sound.

The best thing to do is focus on areas where you can add detail without having an effect on the sound of the instrument. There are several of them to work with.

Go through this list and take a look at the areas that have little to no effect on tone. Pick out a couple that you want to try out, and use your woodworking knowledge to make them your own. You do not have to add a custom element for everything on this list. However, you can select several or just a few and build a guitar that doesn’t look like it came from a store. Read more “25 Simple Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Changing the Tone”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Pen Making

This woodworking tips card is about pen making. As a beginning woodworker, lathe turning is one of the best areas of woodworking to get into. The lathe is fairly easy to learn in the beginning, but it can present a lifetime of challenges as you advance through all that wood turning has to offer. Here is how to start.

Pen Making as a Beginner Woodworking Project

woodworking tips cards pen makingMost new lathe turners get into making smaller items like pens, bowls, and pepper mills. Making these items is a great introduction to woodworking and wood turning.

As a beginner, pens are a project that you can learn quickly, and even start to sell or give away as you make them. The cost of starting up is low, and the process of learning basic pen making is fairly easy.

As you progress in lathe work, and even in making pens, you can find new challenges if you look around. The pens will top out long before the lathe will, and you can spend a lifetime learning all that the lathe can offer you for projects.

Here is a Turned Gavel that I made randomly on the lathe one day. It was a fun project, and quick too.

If you are struggling with what you want to do with woodworking, and you like the idea of turning on the lathe, start looking at videos about pen making and wood turning online. You will quickly be able to see if you like the process, and if you like what can be made. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Pen Making”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Wood Choice

Wood choice can make a big difference in your projects. This woodworking tips card is all about making the right choices with your wood. Even two projects that are identical can be seen as completely different with the right wood choice. Here is why.

Wood Choice Makes a Difference in the Look

woodworking tips cards wood choiceObviously different pieces of wood are going to make a project look different. The takeaway is that you can make even small and plain projects pop if you pick out a nice looking piece of wood.

Many new woodworkers just use whatever they have in the shop for whatever project they are making. While this is a great way to save wood, it’s not the best way to dress up a project. If you want to save wood, my post on how to Save Your Scraps is a better way to do it.

The next time you have a small project that is made from one piece of wood, I challenge you to drive to the wood store and pick out a new piece. Make it a priority to select something specifically for this one project. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Wood Choice”

How to Find a Good Woodworking Bench

As you start to become a woodworker, and you find that you enjoy the craft, you are going to eventually need a bench. These are a few ways to find a good woodworking bench without spending a fortune. A nice bench will last a lifetime, and every ding and stain drip will be full of fond memories. Here is how to do it.

What to Look For in a Woodworking Bench

How to Find a Good Woodworking benchThe type of bench that you want can vary greatly depending on the type of work that you do in the shop. However, some things are constant throughout.

A sturdy bench that can take the force of hammer blows, carving pressure, and repetitive movements is important. You want a bench that is strong, and that can be a very stable place to build on.

The woodworking bench needs to be large enough for the projects that you make. In the case of an instrument maker or a toy maker, this can be very small. However, in the case of a cabinet maker, it can be much larger.

A great woodworking bench also has areas where you can clamp things, and areas where you can set down your tools. Look for a bench that has vises that you like. If it does not, you can always add them later.  Read more “How to Find a Good Woodworking Bench”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Gluing Wood

This Woodworking Tips Card is about gluing wood. Wood to wood joints are the majority of what you are going to be working with as a new woodworker. It’s important to get them right, and that’s how you make them strong and long lasting. Here’s how.

A Little Wood Glue Goes a Long Way

woodworking tips cards gluing woodYou have probably heard it a hundred times already, but less is more when it comes to wood glue. This is one of the best woodworking tips around. You do not need to hose your project with glue to make a good joint.

The really important thing about gluing is to have an even layer of glue between the pieces. This means that there is no bare wood at all. If you open your joint while the glue is still wet, you should never see an area that is bare.

Gluing wood is more about coverage than anything else. In fact, a super thin layer with full coverage will be stronger than a thick layer with spotty coverage.

Apply some glue from the bottle, and then spread it into a thin layer with a tool or a finger. You should be able to see through the layer, but it should not be overly sticky. If you can’t see through the glue, there is too much on there. Wipe your finger across it and wipe the excess on a rag. Spread the layer again and see if you made an improvement. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Gluing Wood”

Woodworking Tips Cards – The Router

This woodworking tips card is about the router. This tool is a great item to have in the shop if you are making wooden signs. It lets you dress up the edges really quickly, and the resulting look stands out. Here are a few reasons why having a router is great for wooden sign making.

Creating a Decorative Edge with the Router

woodworking tips cards the routerWooden signs are super popular. They are also an easy woodworking project, which is why lots of beginners pick them up. If you are going to make wooden signs, you are going to need a router and a couple bits.

A wooden sign that does not have an edge treatment is not very attractive. Some of these signs do look good if the focus is elsewhere, but most signs do better with at least some kind of edge treatment.

The router can make this process really easy. With an Ogee bit, you can create a nice looking pattern around the outside of your signs quickly, and the look is very professional.

Lots of wooden sign makers use a router and an Ogee bit for their signs. This is so common, that simply using the router will make your signs look more professional. The Ogee is the most common pattern, but you can use any other style that you like in your router bit set. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – The Router”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Using Wood Filler

Don’t be ashamed of it. Everyone uses wood filler. This woodworking tips card is all about wood filler, and why you should use it on some of your projects. Used well, this is a great product, and it will help your work look more professional. Here is how.

Using Wood Filler for the Right Reasons

woodworking tips cards using wood fillerThe point of wood filler is to help disguise some of the smaller imperfections in a piece of woodworking. Small cracks, dings, and places where the surface just needs a little help.

Wood filler can be used to fill in cracks around knots, joints that are not exactly perfect, and surface dings that cannot be sanded out.

Using wood filler for other reasons, like hiding gigantic defects or incredibly poor craftsmanship is frowned upon, so make sure to keep it to smaller things. If you do, you will notice that over time, as you get better at woodworking, you will end up using the product less and less.

I wrote an entire tutorial on how to use wood filler, which you can see by following the link. The post gives you the nuts and bolts version, and the step by step instructions. If you are completely new to using wood filling products, then I really recommend reading that post. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Using Wood Filler”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Clamping Pressure

This woodworking tips card is about clamping pressure. As a new woodworker, this tip is going to be very helpful. When you clamp things together, the amount of clamps that you use and the amount of pressure makes a difference.

It’s Better to Use Even Clamping Pressure

woodworking tips cards clamping pressureIf you have the choice, it’s much better to use even clamping pressure than high pressure. This means you need to use more clamps. Even smaller projects can benefit from several clamps being used.

When you are going to glue a couple pieces of wood together, look at the way you clamp them. If you can get a couple or a few clamps all around the edges, this is better than using one clamp right in the middle.

The more you can add clamps to the mix, the more even your clamping pressure will be. This does a few things. First, it closes gaps. Gaps make your glue up look bad, and it can be hard to close them all with one clamp.

Second, even pressure causes less squeeze out. When you ratchet down one clamp to try and close all of your gaps, you inevitably crush out a lot of glue in the process. This is a waste, because adding another clamp would have solved the problem. Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Clamping Pressure”

Woodworking Tips Cards – Setting a Depth Stop

This woodworking tips card is about setting a depth stop. When you are working on the drill press, using the depth stop feature is a must. If you are not drilling completely through a piece, you can easily set the depth so you do not have to guess. Here is how.

Setting a Depth Stop for the Drill Press

woodworking tips cards setting a depth stopMany times, you are only going to need to drill through a piece of wood partially. In a case like this, using the depth stop on the drill press will give you a much more accurate hole. I used this feature on when I made my Wooden Candle Holder.

With the drill off, chuck the bit that you will be using. Then, move the table top up or down to allow room for the piece that will be drilled.

Again, with the drill off, lower the head until the drill bit is at the depth that you want to drill. If this is a very specific measurement, then mark the piece first and use that as a reference when lining up the bit. If not, just eyeball it.

With the head lowered, locate the drill press depth stop. Use the controls to lock the head and prevent it from advancing any farther than it is. Check the motion of the head by raising and lowering the drill. It should raise freely, but stop suddenly once it hits the target depth on the setting. If you need to make an adjustment, do it now. Once you are satisfied, you are ready to drill.

Read more “Woodworking Tips Cards – Setting a Depth Stop”

Solving Problems in Woodworking

Woodworking is largely a process of solving problems in the beginning. How do I cut a curved line? What is a burnisher for? How much glue is enough? When you first start out, remember that you are going to have a lot of problems to solve. It’s ok. You will make it, and here is why.

You are Not the First Person with This Problem

solving problemsEven though it can be frustrating in the beginning trying to figure something out, you should not worry. You are not the first person to encounter this problem, and you won’t be the last.

The solution in out there. All you need to do is go find it. Thankfully, we live in the age of Google, so there should never be any time that you have a question without an answer. I wrote about Following People Online in another post, and this can help you answer questions too.

Spend a little time looking online and seeing if you can fins an answer to your problem. If you are a member of a forum, this is a great place to start asking. Odds are someone has gone through the same thing before, and they will be happy to help you avoid the trouble.

If you can’t find someone on a forum, look for someone with experience and send them an email with your question. I get emails like this all the time and I answer them all. Sometimes they are even completely unrelated to anything I show on my site or in my books.

If you cannot find someone to email, then start searching online and watching videos to see if you can find a solution. Search the thing you are trying to figure out, and ask questions in your search. Many times, people type a question into Google, and this is how the results are found. When you search this same way, you will more than likely find what you are looking for. Read more “Solving Problems in Woodworking”