Woodworking Tip Of The Week

This woodworking tip of the week is about making multiple pieces to save time. In most shops, there are parts or pieces that are always needed, but can take some time to make. If you make several at once, the time per piece is greatly reduced. Save the extra pieces for next time, and you are instantly ready to build.

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woodworking tip of the weekFor me, making fretboards takes a lot of time. First, I have to mill the boards. Then I have to thickness them. Then I have to run them through my fretboard slotting jig. (You can take a look at the video of my jig using the link.) All of this takes time, which is mostly consumed with setting up the tools.


When I have to make fretboards now, I have a different approach. Once the table saw is set up for milling the 4/4 boards into fretboard size blanks, it only takes seconds to make the cut. Once I have done the setup,several boards go through the saw. I end up using these anyway, so even if they sit for a few months it doesn’t matter.

woodworking tip of the weekThe next step is to thickness them all on the planer. Again, sending them all through back to back saves me time, because the planer is already set. I just keep passing them all through and planing them down until they are the right thickness.

After that, I get out my fretboard duplicating jig and start sawing away. This does take some time per piece.  However, it is nice to have a pile of fretboards on the shelf waiting to be used. I always make multiples for fretboards, especially if I am using a different species than normal. This way I have several in case I like the new wood choice.

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Saving time is what this woodworking tip of the week is all about. If you are making something that you will need more of in the future, just make several at once and you will have stock for a while.

Since I am primarily a guitar maker, fretboards, bridges, and necks are items that I use quite a bit. I always make several of these whenever I run out. This takes some of the time out of a build, especially if I have to work quickly. Pulling a fretboard, bridge blank, or stacked neck “off the shelf” is far easier than making one from scratch every time.

This has been the third edition of the Woodworking Tip Of The Week. Last week I discussed how to Make and Use a Sanding Block, and why it’s important. The week prior I showed everyone my secret to Getting More Time in the Shop. I’ll be posting another woodworking tip every Saturday, so please check back to see what’s new.

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Do you have any tips on making repeatable processes quicker in the shop? Please share and we can all benefit from your experience.

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