Tool advice

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by cip 123, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. cip 123

    cip 123 SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys,

    Just wondering if you could give some tool advice. Still very much a beginner when it comes to wood working in general but I'm wondering what you guys use for building. I'm looking at getting some better equipment as I'm currently using very basic and cheap stuff. I know tools don't make the builder but it always seems like it'd be easier to have a planer thicknesser rather than my super cheap plastic plane from Amazon.

    Anyone got any recommendations for good solid Bandsaws, planers, etc. Just stuff you find really useful when working.

    I understand this is a pretty vague ask but I'm just looking to create a little list and start getting some better tools in my workshop.

    Cheers
     
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  2. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    I'll +1 this.

    Soon enough I'll be trying to make a little work shop of my own.
     
  3. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    We had a similar thread some time ago, but it's always fun to talk about tools, sooo here's my list...

    1. Tools I couldn't live without
    - Mafell P1cc: brilliant piece of engineering, never cared to get a bandsaw so far
    - Veritas hand planes: not as expensive as Lie-Nielsen, still really nice
    - Japanese saws: I use those all the time, every human being needs at least a Kataba, a Kugihiki and a saw rasp (some more won't hurt though)
    - Drill press and battery powered screwdriver with the highest quality drill bits you can afford
    - Clamps: you can never have enough clamps. I use the (single-handed) Juuma clamps for most task and the Bessey cast iron clamps when more power is needed e.g. for laminating body woods/laminates
    - High quality sanding paper on rolls
    - Aluminium radius sanding beams (+3M Photo Mount to glue on the sand paper)
    - Nut files (I use the Ibanez set) and various other files (Glardon Vallorbe)

    2. Still missing / room for improvement
    - Router Table: super useful and a lot safer than hand routing, but I bought a router w/ too little power (1.25kW). Planning to upgrade to a Festool OF2200 or Mafell LO65 at some point
    - Planing bench: simply no room for one, t.b.d. once we move to our new house. Candidates: Sjöbergs Elite or (if only it wasn't sooo expensive) CNC Epple Profi
    - Table saw: nice to have, I'd probably use it more for other wood projects than guitar building

    3. Bad buys
    - All tools that are too cheap to be true
    - Orbital sander: barely in use, I prefer hand sanding
    - Electric (handheld) planer: wondering right now why I even bought it in the first place
     
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  4. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Essential:

    - ear protection
    - a good respirator (none of that doctor mask bullshit - get a real cartridge mask. An extra 30 bucks to preserve your health is worth it)
    - eye protection
    - router (ideally a router table, for safety and ease. Tools cost less than surgery. In the US anyway)
    - good template bits for the router.
    - band saw
    - thin kerf saw for fret slots (I use a dovetail pullsaw)
    - drill press and cordless drill (most important things to have in any shop)
    - more clamps than you think you need

    Nice to have:
    - table saw (don't use it often but for long straight cuts it sure helps)
    - cnc machine


    I can't stress enough how important the safety gear is. You don't want to hurt your lungs, eyes, ears, or hands. Those are important. Plus with a full kit of respirator, goggles, and ear covers, you get to pretend to be Darth Vader.
     
  5. cip 123

    cip 123 SS.org Regular

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    Thank you! This is great!

    I need a good hand plane as I'd like to get in to more general woodworking projects but still looking at planer thicknesser or something as in my mind for guitar related stuff it just seems like it'd be so much simpler, thoughts?

    As for bad buys, yea my current planer was just a cheap Amazon one, silly buy.
    Orbital Sander I actually find use for, 120 grit disks and I find it pretty good for levelling high spots on some woods.
     
  6. cip 123

    cip 123 SS.org Regular

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    Yes ear protection! Been using the same plugs I use for my band. Realised that after my first day spent with my router.

    Any suggestions for bandsaws? Even just blade types etc. I currently have a little bandsaw that I'll hopefully upgrade from it, it's a really small blade that wanders a lot even when tensioned up quite a bit.
     
  7. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Mine is an old craftsman unit I inherited from my grandpa. It is a little underpowered (3/4 hp) but it gets the job done. For blades you'll want a thin one (1/4 inch or so) for more detailed stuff. For cutting out bodies you'll want one a bit thicker with a lower tpi so you can cut the relatively thicker wood. I also have a very low tpi 1/2 inch blade made for resawing that I LOVE. I use it for ripping 3/4 inch maple for fretboards and even bookmatched tops.

    I would recommend hitting up Craigslist and your local pawn shops for tools. You can get good deals on good used tools at both.

    OH. I also have a thickness planer. Probably not essential but oh man is it helpful. Especially for laminated necks.

    Also a jointer or jointer plane and some bar or pipe clamps for joining and gluing body blanks is pretty important. You can also just buy body blanks.
     
  8. cip 123

    cip 123 SS.org Regular

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    Old inherited stuff is pretty good haha, I have an old drill press from my dad that I also use as a makeshift spindle sander sort of thing.

    I'll have to hit up Ebay for stuff, Craigslist isn't much of a thing in the UK and neither is pawn shops.

    Definitely looking at a thicknesser planer it just seems like I'd use it a lot.
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I would go for Lateralus first. :p

    +1
    Clamps get expensive, but there's always a time when you'll be short.

    Obviously all of the PPE is absolutely mandatory.

    I've only done rudimentary work. The main problem I always end up having is running out of workspace. Sometimes, if you put some muscle and patience into it, you can get by without fancy power tools that have a large footprint. It really all depends on your style, your strengths, etc.
     
  10. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Much of what I'd recommend may not apply to you, depending on what kind of woodworking you see yourself doing, and your shop situation. Do you prefer working with hand tools, or power tools? Do you see yourself working mostly with plywood and pre-milled solid woods, or unmilled solid woods? Are you going to be doing any hard carving or turning? Etc etc.

    I'm to the point in my own experiences where I have a planer, but not a jointer. There are times I wish I had both. And there are times I wish I had a thickness sander, instead of the planer.

    I have a bench top drill press, but there are times I wish I had a spindle sander or a band saw instead.

    I have a table saw, but there are times I wish I had gotten a track saw instead just because of my shop situation...meaning I don't really have one. Everything is crammed in the garage,and the only time I can use it is when I can pull it out into the driveway. Peter Mallard on Youtube (10 minute workshop) has a fully-functioning shop with no table saw: everything is done with a track saw system in his tiny space.

    Definitely definitely, though, spend on hearing and eye protection (I'm thinking of moving to a full face shield soon, like what a lot of lathe turners wear) and a resperator. I'm still using the disposible 3M ones, but only because I can't trust myself to maintain a "real" one...

    Don't undersetimate dust collection. I'm planing down wood for my fence, and just from doing about 40 8" wide boards 8-ft long, I've filled two of these make-shift bags (queen sized fitted bed sheets, folded in half and hot glued at the seam. Ha!)
    [​IMG]
     
  11. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Threaded rods, thumbscrews, and wood can make some pretty cheap and pretty okay clamps.
     
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  12. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon Party’s over

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    I bet Roy Underhill from the Woodright’s Shop could churn out Custom shop guitars with 3 homemade hand tools lol
     
  13. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Just like with guitars, and lubricant, too much/many is almost enough.

    [​IMG]

    There are some OK ones at Harbor Freight. Never buy any from Rockler at full price. They go on sale quite often. Also, almost every estate sale has a clamp or two for sale.
     
  14. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    i couldnt live with out a bandsaw, drill press and a router. the rest is just fretsaw and hammer and clamps.

    basically built my first 5 guitars with just those

    dont skimp on a bandsaw, i'd put the brunt of your budget towards that - or bargain hunt. i got mine for 100 canadian. its a craftsman 14".

    Use a 1/4" blade with many teeth to cut your shapes. Use a 1/2 to 3/4" blade with 3 teeth per inch and a really good fence to resaw wood for guitar tops. i really cant stress the importance of a good fence and a good setup for resawing though.

    get a decent router that can take 1/4" and 1/2" bits.

    dont spend your money on a jointer or planer yet. use a router sled to plane things flat at first.

    cheapie table top drill press will work fine for drilling bridge holes and tuner holes.
     
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  15. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    My fence is just a 4x4 piece of pine XD
     
  16. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    mine is home made, out of birch plywood. but its well built.
     
  17. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    If Mathias Wendell has taught me anything, its that any tool can be made from birch plywood.
     
  18. electriceye

    electriceye SS.org Regular

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    I'll chime in:
    -Shop vac with the best filter you can get.-
    -Good air filter

    -Dust collector - I thought I could get away with just a ceiling mounted air filter. Nope. The thickness sander spews out TONS of dust and my shop vac can't handle too much fine dust.

    -Spindle sander (I got a great deal on a free-standing JET http://www.jettools.com/eu/en/p/jovs-10-floor-model-oscillating-spindle-sander-1hp-1ph-115v/708411)

    -Band saw with large enough opening to be able to re-saw large boards. If you think you'll be slicing boards for bookmatched tops and such, you'll want one this size. This is the one I have and I love it. Just make sure you get a really good resaw blade, if that's what you'll be doing a lot: http://www.rockler.com/rikon-10-324-open-stand-14-bandsaw?sid=V9146

    -Drill press - again, I got on oldie on Craigslist. It does the job.

    -Thickness sander - To me, these are invaluable. A must-have. If I could have afforded a larger one, I would have. But this it awesome: https://www.cpooutlets.com/jet-6289...MIjKvBqty32wIVj4ZpCh2ucAehEAQYASABEgJihfD_BwE

    -Hand router with routing table. I don't see how anyone builds without these. By far, my most-used tool. Get various bits as needed, but you'll mostly need pattern bits to route from templates. You use these to make your truss routes, too.

    -A....large TABLE! You need a workspace you can do anything on. Be sure to go to the hardware store and get some of the padded, non-slip pads so you don't ding up your bodies.

    One of the items I'd love it a planer/jointer. But, I have a woodcraft store nearby that has cheap memberships and I can go there if/when I need to. It's the one tool I'd love to have, but don't use often enough to justify buying one. Yet.

    I've seen some spectacular builds done with MUCH less than the above, by guys who are incredibly persistent and ingenuitive and find ways to get the job done. But, IMO, the above is sort of necessary to make building a lot more efficient and fun. You can save a ton of only perusing Craigslist. I always see guys unloading entire woodworking shops when they shut down.
     
  19. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    I see a lot of recommendations for a bandsaw but I don't see it as necessary. Maybe for rough cuts yeah but I don't trust my bandsaw to cut straight, then again I traded it for a case of beer so, it's not the best. A thickness planer would see way more use in my opinion, you can use most any other saw (reciprocal, jigsaw, circular) to hog out the extra wood around a body but using a thickness planer takes a fraction of a second compared to using a router and proper fences/trays to do it.

    Router is the biggest one, though, and a router table isn't too hard to make yourself if you can make a router base and a table with a hole/slot in it.

    Table saw or good circular saw with a fence will help for neck blanks and long straight cuts.

    Spindle sander helps a shitload for guitars because the inner horns are a pain in the ass to do by hand.

    Drill press is also a life saver, and a quality hand drill.

    And to echo what everyone else said, a ton of clamps (always buy them when they're on sale). I prefer F-clamp ones over the trigger locking ones because the trigger lock ones almost never give enough pressure and I can guarantee you'll see glue lines if not gaps. F-clamps are a bitch on the hands but I think they're the next best thing to pipe clamps.

    Also, get good quality sandpaper, drill bits, router bits, blades, and chisels. Spending an extra $5-$10 is worth it in the long run and they'll last a lot longer.

    For finishing and dyes, all you need is some old (but clean...) socks and t shirts.

    And PPE is also a must.
     
  20. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    The band saw is indispensable if you’re into book-matched tops. Any other method will remove too much wood and ruin the bookmatch. They’re also a huge benefit if you buy lumber/timbers instead of S4S, etc. boards. You can cut down a lot with a tablesaw, but there will be more waste.

    I’ve never met a jigsaw I actually like, but then I’ve never used an expensive one, because if I’m going to be spending $100’s on a jig saw, I’d rather spend it in a bandsaw.
     
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