Guitar Making Tip No. 111 is about keeping your shop clean and organized as you work. When you stay clean, your shop just works better. This is also a way to make a smaller shop feel like a bigger shop.
Making a Guitar
The guitar making process is on the longer side for most projects, and the area that you work in can get really messy. It just kind of sneaks up on you over time, and the next thing you know you are in a messy shop.
This is not a great way to work, because if you are already in a small space, the mess can make it feel even smaller. Cleaning the shop can make a big difference, as well as keeping your tools organized.
If you need more ways to make a small shop feel bigger, my 29 Great Ways to Maximize Your Small Shop Layout can help. However, for now lets focus on cleaning and organizing…
Cleaning Your Shop
Guitar making is just as messy of an activity as any other kind of woodworking. If you rarely clean, you will have a big mess quickly. The shop mess kind of creeps up, because every little cut or process makes a little more mess.
One way that you can make sure your guitar making area is good and clean is to just make it one of your habits. Clean every time you leave the shop, and over time you will have less and less to clean, because you do it more often.
Also, you can clean in the middle of a shop session. When you notice that you are making a bigger than normal amount of mess, it is helpful to take a small pause, and clean. This will make the rest of the shop time easier too, because you are clean.
Organizing the Shop
In the beginning, organization can be kind of elusive. This is because you are new, and you really don’t know what you like to use yet. As you learn more, you will figure out what tools are used together more often, and you will end up just keeping things where they go.
Something you can do in the beginning, or even if you are a seasoned woodworker without any organizational skills is to give everything a home. Give every tool a place to live, and at the end of the day, return it to that home.
Over time, you will remember those homes, and you will be able to find things easier. This is because you have a place for everything. When you go to that place and find the tool missing, you will feel odd, and it will encourage you to put your tools away after each session.
Why is This Good For You?
A clean and organized shop just runs better than a messy and unorganized shop. Think about the amount of time that you spend looking for tools and stepping over messes. This is lost time, and you will never get it back.
Most of you are hobby woodworkers with real jobs. Making a guitar takes a lot of time, and you probably only have time some short bursts a few times a week. The more time you spend looking for tools and jumping over sawdust piles, the less time you are making your guitar.
If you have to waste a few seconds to a minute looking for every tool, over the course of a process or two, you can lose several minutes. If you only have an hour, you might just lose a third or a quarter of your time to looking for things, which is no good.
If your shop looks like a tornado got in a fight with a hurricane, then it’s time to clean. This is probably the best thing you could ever do for your guitar making. Clean your shop, and you will be amazed at the feeling you get the next time you walk in.
If it has been a long time, you will really feel the difference. Just don’t fall into the trap of not wanting to clean for a long time again. Many time, after a long cleaning process, you won’t want to clean again for a while.
This is not the way to go, because you will end up having to spend a long time cleaning again, and the cycle will repeat. Incorporate short cleaning and organization sessions at the end of each of your days in the shop, and you will have to clean a lot less each time.
Guitar Making Tip No. 111 Wrap-Up
One of the biggest killers of time in your shop is when you are not clean and organized. A guitar will take long enough to make without you having to spend a ton of time looking for tools and jumping over messes.
Instead of fighting your shop all the time, clean it. Clean your shop, and organize all of your tools. All that means is putting them in the same place every time you use them, which will build a memory of where they are supposed to go.
If you have been building your guitar in a dump, it’s time to make the change. Get out there on a day when you do not have anything to build. Your entire day is about cleaning. Take your time and make the shop a better place to build your guitar. It will work, and you will have a less stressful time building your guitar.
1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners
Tip No. 111 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.
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.
If you have any questions about Guitar Making Tip No. 111, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please Subscribe so that you don’t miss out on anything new. Happy building.