Luthier Tools Available
Almost every luthier must make at least some of his or her own tools. The guitar making tools offered here were developed in the shop out of a need for a better solution to a particular problem encountered somewhere in the guitar making process.
Unhappy with the deep scratches produced by fret files and in need of a quick way to check for high frets, the fret kit was developed after trying many different methods to solving this problem. For cutting rosette channels, a see-thru, adjustable device that would mount on a laminate trimming router seemed like an ideal solution, and the tuning machine drilling jig was an excellent way to resolve the problem of drilling the tuning machine holes without removing the headpiece template.
All the guitar making tools shown here are get used in this shop every day and reliably produce good results. They will undoubtedly also help you with your guitar building efforts.
New Product - Radiused Sanding Pads
These sanding pads are just like the ones used in the classical guitar making book and video series - only better! The bottom of the sanding pads have been shaped to the 15 and 25 foot radius necessary for creating the dish in the back workboard and lower bout of the solera. Both are covered with 80 grit sandpaper for quick cutting action. A comfortable yet sturdy hardwood handle is firmly attached with hardwood dowels that go clear through the pad. These pads will make sanding your work boards to final easy. The 25 foot radius pad may also be used to shape the underside of the bridge to make sure it accurately fits the top. If you are creating your own sanding discs these pads will be a great help in getting the final shaping accurate.
BUZZ-OFF® Fret Leveling Kit
The BUZZ-OFF® fret leveling kit is popular with guitar players as well as guitar makers. The kit will enable you to locate high frets and level them, which in many cases will eliminate fret buzz. A fret only a couple of thousandths of an inch too high can cause fret buzz. The kit includes a 3" and 2" steel dowel with a flatness tolerance of .001" to check frets for high spots, a hardwood sanding block shaped to properly crown frets, a piece of 220 and 400 grit sandpaper, #0000 steel wool and instructions. The kit was developed to flatten and dress frets during the guitar making process. Traditional fret files make deep scratches that are not easily removed and therefore created more work. With this kit you can quickly locate high frets, then easily and cleanly reduce the height, and dress the fret. The kit is not for neck flattening.
2-Pi Router Attachment for Rosettes
The rosette cutting router attachment can be used to cut the channels for the rosette, cut out the sound hole, and make the patch under the rosette. The kit includes the two piece acrylic base, a 1/4" steel dowel pin, spacers for closed base routers, bolt, washer and wing nut. The attachment is fully adjustable and can be easily mounted on any laminate trimming router (see blog for router recommendation). The attachment can be mounted on both open and closed base laminate trimming routers. Diagrams for mounting on both types of routers are included in the instructions. Made of 1/4" clear acrylic, the device is durable, and you can see through it. This is very comforting when inlaying a rosette in a top that you have carefully jointed and thicknessed.
End Mill Bits for Rosettes
In order to get clean crisp edges on your rosette you need to make the direction of your cuts in line with the grain of the wood, and use the right router with the right bits. These three flute end mill bits are the best I have found for creating the rosette. The smallest bit at 1/16" diameter is difficult to find yet crucial to installing rosettes in any type of acoustic guitar. The complete set of bits include 1/16", 3/32" and 1/8" diameter bits. You want to use all three so as not to dull the small bit. It is also time consuming to work with a small bit. With the whole set you can fit the bit to the size of the channel and greatly reducing the number of passes you will need to do the job. The 1/8" bit is indispensable in cutting out for the center ring, and a center wheat section if you dare.
Use these bits with the 2-Pi Cutter Router Attachment and a variable speed laminate trimming router like the Rigid R2400. This combination will yield great results.
Adjustable Tuning Machine Drilling Jig
The adjustable tuning machine drilling jig is used to drill 13/32" holes for classical guitar tuning machines with rollers that are 35mm on center. This jig was designed to be used in conjunction with the template set when cutting and drilling the headpiece. Typically, the headpiece is cut out, then shaped using a router to trim along the template. Next, the holes have to be drilled before the slots are cut out in order to avoid tear out. This normally would require removing the headpiece template drilling the holes, then putting the template back in exactly the same spot in order to remove the wood in the slots. This jig is designed to fit right over the template so it does not have to be removed. The jig comes with two spacers for 16mm and 17mm wide base plate tuning machines (bronze leaf and stippled brass respectively). Using the headpiece veneer stack as described in the 10-DVD box set Making a Concert Classical Guitar these spacers will work for the Sloane leaf bronze or stippled brass tuning machines sold by Stewart MacDonald. The jig can easily be adapted to drill for any size baseplate or veneer stack by simply creating new spacers.
In order to build the guitar in the book or the DVD box set you will have to make some work boards. Minimally you will need a solera and a back work board. Both are domed either fully or partially, the back work board to a 15' radius, and the lower bout of the solera to a 25' radius. Drawing these radii accurately is difficult at best . Now available by customer request are both the 15' and 25' radius sticks. The sticks are made of rugged hardwood approximately 1/4" thick and stamped with the appropriate radius. The time saved in creating these yourself makes these sticks a real bargain. Also be sure to check out some of the guitar making kits that include these radius sticks free.