Guitar Making Tip No. 97 is about your tools. Don’t worry in the beginning about not having many tools. Especially the larger tools that can be on the expensive side. You can start a build with a basic set of tools, and reach out for help when you need it. Here is how.
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Your Local Hardwood Store Can Help You
Most of the time, these places will have some larger tools in the back where they process their stock. For a small fee, they will make a couple cuts, joint some wood, or send the pieces through the thickness sander.
In the beginning, this can be a huge help. Bigger tools cost a lot of money, but they complete the process much easier than hand tools. They also do the task more accurately, leaving behind a better surface in less time.
So, if you are stuck with a plate that you can’t seem to get level, see if your local hardwood store can help you by running it through their sander or planer. Here is how you get them to help:
Come In With Everything You Need
If you show up with a board and say “I need you to sand this for me,” it’s not very descriptive, and you may not get a ton of help. However, if you say “I need to have this piece thinned to 1/8,” they will understand your needs better.
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Go in with exactly what you need, and explain it well. The person making the cuts may have never made a guitar before. You need to tell them what you need, and they can use their woodworking skills to help you.
The hardwood store can also help with sawing the pieces for a stacked neck, and making the cut for a scarf joint. While you do need to know all of these things eventually, at first it’s ok for you to ask for help making a few important cuts. Especially when you do not have the machinery that makes the operation easier.
This also helps you decide what tools you need in the future, here is how:
Deciding on Future Tool Purchases
As you notice that you are using one or two tools primarily at the wood store, consider buying them. This will help you quite a bit, because you will end up with a new tool that you really need. Over time, paying for someone else will add up. The faster you invest in your new tool, the less expensive it will be.
If you always bring your plates into the store to be sanded, then you know you need to look at a drum sander for the shop. If you are constantly bringing in pieces to be cut to length, then you need a good miter saw or cross cut sled for a table saw.
The tool that the wood shop uses for you the most is really the tool that you need in the shop the most. You don’t need to have the tool immediately, but over time you should consider investing.
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