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  #16  
Old 06-10-2024, 05:26 PM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Still say hand tools are the best way to start.

Simon is a very experienced luthier, but I’ll say it again…

For making one or two guitars you’ll need a plane or planes and know how to use them anyway, so you might as well learn how to thickness with them. Drum sanders need careful setting up and also some skill to use. And they are not cheap. A good jack plane or No.5 and a low angle block plane will set you back £250. Quansheng is a quality Chinese brand. Veritas and Lie Nielsen are nicer still, but won’t get you any better results.

I know builders that use the Safe-T-Planer, but on the two occasions I used one the process is a little scary and not in the least bit safe!

At Newark College in the U.K. there was an expectation that you built a guitar using hand tools other than a bandsaw and drill press. Once you’d got to grips with the hand tool basics you may decide to purchase some machines to speed things up. Cutting binding channels by hand is a lesson all in itself, but a valuable one. One of my tutors had built over 150 instruments predominantly using hand tools.

I only build a couple of instruments a year and can take my time. Machinery speeds things up but brings noise and dust into you workshop in equal measures. So I stick with hand tools and enjoy the process.
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  #17  
Old 06-10-2024, 08:33 PM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikpearson View Post
Simon is a very experienced luthier, but Iíll say it againÖ

For making one or two guitars youíll need a plane or planes and know how to use them anyway, so you might as well learn how to thickness with them. Drum sanders need careful setting up and also some skill to use. And they are not cheap. A good jack plane or No.5 and a low angle block plane will set you back £250. Quansheng is a quality Chinese brand. Veritas and Lie Nielsen are nicer still, but wonít get you any better results.

I know builders that use the Safe-T-Planer, but on the two occasions I used one the process is a little scary and not in the least bit safe!

At Newark College in the U.K. there was an expectation that you built a guitar using hand tools other than a bandsaw and drill press. Once youíd got to grips with the hand tool basics you may decide to purchase some machines to speed things up. Cutting binding channels by hand is a lesson all in itself, but a valuable one. One of my tutors had built over 150 instruments predominantly using hand tools.

I only build a couple of instruments a year and can take my time. Machinery speeds things up but brings noise and dust into you workshop in equal measures. So I stick with hand tools and enjoy the process.
What is the purpose of spending $250 on planes for building two guitars? I do not equate the two together, "I want to learn to set up and sharpen planes. or "I want to build two guitars." I built my drum sander using a 2"x6", a 1 1/2" thick section of a solid core door, piano hinge, two pillow blocks, a shaft, some MDF to make the drum and a 1/3 hp motor that I bought for $10 from a thrift store. Motors might be had cheap from a friendly hvac outfit near you. I can dimension plates within 0.002" across the width. Dust collector attachment not shown.



Do the binding channels by hand? If you do meticulous work, you are not going to nail it in your first two guitars. A laminate router is one tool I think you should have in building a guitar. I have built without but that guitar was a nylon string and also had no binding.
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2024, 02:09 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Can you build a guitar without planes and chisels?

I may be missing something but Iím struggling to see how itís possible to build a guitar without using hand tools at some stages. I simply couldnít complete a build without a few chisels, a couple of planes, a carving knife and a spoke shave.

My logic is that as youíll need to be able to use some hand tools when building the guitar so why not use them for the thicknessing of tops back and sides? Itís tempting to buy all manner of machinery and specialist tools/jigs but thatís expensive and you still have to learn how to use the as well. My view is itís better to learn some wood-working essentials and hand-skills at the outset.

I do agree that a small router is extremely useful, particularly for cutting binding channels. I did this twice using a gramil and chisels and itís not easy. The first time the results werenít great. The second time much better, but it still took me an age, so I made myself a copy of Elevateís Ultimate Binding Jig.

Side-bending is another area where you can spend a fortune buying a machine or an eternity building one. A small bending iron gives you flexibility and good results with a little practice.

Constructing your own equipment and jigs is another skill but you need some experience to work out what you need and how to build them.

Last edited by nikpearson; 06-12-2024 at 12:17 AM.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2024, 06:06 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikpearson View Post
I may be missing something but I’m struggling to see how it’s possible to build a guitar without using hand tools at some stages. I simply couldn’t complete a build without a few chisels, a couple of planes, a carving knife and a spoke shave.

My logic is that as you’ll need to be able to use some hand tools when building the guitar so why not use them for the thicknessing of tops back and sides? It’s tempting to buy all manner of machinery and specialist tools/jigs but that’s expensive and you still have to learn how to use the as well. My view is it’s better to learn some wood-working essentials and hand-skills at the outset.

I do agree that a small router is extremely useful, particularly for cutting binding channels. I did this twice using a gramil and chisels and it’s not easy. The first time the results weren’t great. The second time much better, but it still took me an age, so I made myself a copy of Elevate’s Ultimate Binding Jig.

Side-bending is another are where you can spend a fortune buying a machine or an eternity building one. A small bending iron gives you flexibility and good results with a little practice.

Constructing your own equipment and jigs is another skill but you need some experience to work out what you need and how to build them.
There is a wide variety of work methodology that adapts easily from general woodworking to specific tasks such as musical instrument construction. I don't generally use any of the tools you cite above other than a few small chisels and have successfully built many instruments.

Outside your two possibilities for a bending iron, I spent $5 at the local plumbing supply house on a foot of 3" type K copper pipe. Neither fortune nor eternity spent.

The great thing about forums is it gives folks an opportunity to see what solutions others have arrived at to perform tasks that they may not have thought of.
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2024, 07:10 AM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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I mostly only use hand tools for neck carving and fretting.

I don't think I used a plane until maybe my 5th guitar when I wanted to try one for joining top and back plates instead of the router. I found a nicely set up Stanley #5 for $50 Cdn, they are readily available but I think I prefer the router.

In general, I don't do so well with hand tools, I find them hard to use accurately. I understand that others have a different experience. Routers, bandsaw, belt sander and drill press are my go to for most jobs. I bought my drum sander new after fighting with a used one. If I eventually sell it, I will consider any financial loss as rent.

.
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2024, 10:43 AM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikpearson View Post
I may be missing something but Iím struggling to see how itís possible to build a guitar without using hand tools at some stages. I simply couldnít complete a build without a few chisels, a couple of planes, a carving knife and a spoke shave.

My logic is that as youíll need to be able to use some hand tools when building the guitar so why not use them for the thicknessing of tops back and sides? Itís tempting to buy all manner of machinery and specialist tools/jigs but thatís expensive and you still have to learn how to use the as well. My view is itís better to learn some wood-working essentials and hand-skills at the outset.

I do agree that a small router is extremely useful, particularly for cutting binding channels. I did this twice using a gramil and chisels and itís not easy. The first time the results werenít great. The second time much better, but it still took me an age, so I made myself a copy of Elevateís Ultimate Binding Jig.

Side-bending is another are where you can spend a fortune buying a machine or an eternity building one. A small bending iron gives you flexibility and good results with a little practice.

Constructing your own equipment and jigs is another skill but you need some experience to work out what you need and how to build them.
Uh yeah. Maybe missing the point of someone wanting to build two guitars and not outlay a professional shop. Hand tools are fine, the tool for the job they say. I did do a minimal guitar build once, only added a tool if I could not do without. Resawed a board with a handsaw, not a lot of fun though. I found other than a few hand tools, a drill press, six clamps, bending iron and a vice was needed. I have read that one poster here used a curling iron to bend the sides. And forget a fancy hand plane.



cutting the sound hole with an exacto blade, no need for a router.



But it was a lot of work and I have had enough experience building guitars that I knew what needed to get the job done. If I could hazard a guess, the OP wants to build a couple of good looking and sounding guitars without going on an apprenticeship to be a master woodworker (my original intent, to build three guitars, one practice one). We do get people come here saying they want to build many guitars, these people may be more inclined to outfit a shop and develop the skills with hand tools. I say it would be better for the OP to have a pleasurable experience and come out with two good guitars rather than develop advanced hand skills.

But maybe the OP does want to go the hand route. I used to work in a test lab and one of the things we did was take metal samples, encase them in a plastic puck and then proceed to sand the surface starting with 100 grit up to 800, then polish with two diamond grits and a very fine powder that gave us a mirror surface. Then we would etch the surface and examine it under a microscope. Sometimes, especially if the sample had a shape that was thick on one side and thinner on the other, the sample would get an angle sanded into the surface. The angle would have you readjusting the focus as you scanned across the puck. At times the angle was enough so that the lens body would hit the high side before you could lower it enough to get into focus.

I did learn to hand sand the pucks but I thought there was a better and faster way. I made a jig to hold the puck and put two rails on either side of the sandpaper. You then put the jig on the rails, push down on the puck and sand. The pucks came out perfectly flat and parallel to the back side making the microscope inspection a breeze. The old guy poo-poo'ed the new fangled device saying a lab tech should be able to do it by hand. But a month later he was using it also. Why? The results were better and faster. I bet new hire's there used the jig and never learned the fine art of sanding the pucks without it. As it was a skill that they would not use anywhere else there was little use in learning the skill. But if the OP wanted to learn and conquer all the hand skills, the more power to him. It is fun watching curls come off a piece of wood.
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  #22  
Old 06-11-2024, 12:22 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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It IS fun watching curls come off a piece of wood!

There's an app for that...



...or using a bit of power to do your surface planing:


Last edited by Rudy4; 06-11-2024 at 12:35 PM.
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  #23  
Old 06-11-2024, 08:48 PM
Wellington Wellington is offline
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Man this is all such good info, I have a lot more questions regarding different topics, I appreciate everyone's experience here and willingness to share it
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  #24  
Old 06-12-2024, 12:31 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default It is fascinating to hear the different approaches.

I have a number of luthier friends who have had to mechanise to be able to build a reasonable number of instruments each year. On occasion Iíll avail myself of their machinery - a thickness sander was invaluable when builing a double top guitar. But wherever possible my choice is the hand tool option to avoid the noise and dust. Building guitars is less enjoyable for me the more machinery I use.

My workshop is also tiny with just two small benches, so every piece of machinery takes up valuable space.

There are so many approaches to this craft and you need to find what works for you.
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