Wooden guitars are beautiful
After watching a few videos that regular contributor Mark Salusbury sent my way I feel the urge to try my hand at making one of these finely tuned guitars.
I’ve never made a guitar. Heck, I’ve never even played a guitar.
At first glance, you’d think anyone who knows how to work wood could make one, but I think the material is one of only a couple similarities between guitars and furniture. The tools used to make both guitars and furniture are likely very similar, too, but many luthier tools are so much smaller and more exacting. I’m also sure there are many tools used to make a guitar that a typical furniture maker would never come across.
We ran a guitar project in the Aug/Sept 2010 issue titled “Build an Electric Guitar – Without the Fancy Tools.”
Even though I don’t build guitars, watching the videos Mark sent were enjoyable, in part because there were a lot of little woodworking tips and tricks anyone who works wood would be fascinated by. Sanding, boring, routing, inlay, finishing and repairing a finish are all topics that would have a lot of crossover with woodworking. One video showed a small, sharp blade chucked into a drill press used to accurately miter inlay before it gets installed. This may be old news to the luthiers, but it opened my eyes to some interesting ideas. Some furniture can be pretty accurately made, but most of it has nothing on a lot of these instruments.
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Belt Sanding Tips
Frank Ford, a master at repairing guitars, shares some tips on how to accurately sand and thickness small pieces of wood. Here, he’s showing viewers how one of his 1" x 42" belt sanders works.
Sanding and Sharpening
While Frank Ford uses this setup for sanding guitar saddles, this same approach could be used for sanding furniture parts or sharpening woodworking tools.
Dan Erlewine, who makes and repairs guitars for some of the biggest guitar players around, shares some of his secrets when it comes to making and using templates to shape wooden parts.