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Classical Guitar on the Bench

Benches, Bench Tools, Vises and Clamps for Guitar Making

cabinet makers workbench

Any woodworking shop will have at least a workbench and an amount of vises and clamps. For me they almost feel like part of the shop. These tools appear in any shop where woodworking is done.

The workbench is probably the most important. I have worked on many types of benches in my 40 odd years of woodworking and by far the best type of bench to have is a traditional cabinet makers bench as pictured on the left.

These benches have been around forever which says there must be something to them. And that is that they were designed to do woodworking on, especially with hand tools. There are a few configurations of this bench available. I prefer the one with an end vice and side vise which is the one under the guitar. This just seems to work for me. Length is not as important as the vise arrangement. Be sure to check out the free downloadable drawings of shop fixtures and a work bench.

Vises

cam clamps used in guitar making

Holding devices such as vises and clamps are indispensable in guitar making. There are many types of vices available and I have a few different types in the shop. Specialized vises make certain tasks easier while minimizing damage from clamping pressure. A very useful vise is the pattern makers vise shown on the left. If I could only have one vise this would be it. The jaws swivel so they will hold odd shaped parts very well. It can also be rotated 360 degrees. It is invaluable when carving the heel, shaping the neck and setting up the instrument.

A universal vise in my shop is mounted on a stand and used to hold the solera which provides access all the way around the fixture. The small portable vise like a drill press vise is extremely useful for cutting small diameter round stock such as the brass registration pins, and shaping the nut and saddle. I also use it to drill the string holes in the bridge and to notch the fan braces to fit over the bridge patch.

Clamps

cam clamps used in guitar making

Holding devices such as vises and clamps are indispensable in guitar making. There are many types of vices available and I have a few different types in the shop. Specialized vises make certain tasks easier while minimizing damage from clamping pressure. A few types of useful vises are the universal vise, the pattern makers vise, and any small portable vise. The universal vise in my shop is mounted on a stand and used to hold the solera which provides access all the way around the fixture. The pattern makers vise will hold anything with a taper very well and may be rotated 360 degrees. It is invaluable when carving the heel, shaping the neck and setting up the instrument. The small portable vise is extremely useful for cutting small diameter round stock such as the brass registration pins, and shaping the nut and saddle. It can also be used to drill the string holes in the bridge and to notch the fan braces to fit over the bridge patch. A vacuum clamp although unnecessary is a real luxury. This type of clamp works well to hold the body of the guitar while providing unimpeded access all the way around.

    List of Clamps

  • 16 - 8" Clamps with 4"throat
  • 16 - 4" clamps with a 2 1/2" throat
  • 8 - 8" Cam clamps with an 8" throat
  • 8 - 8" Cam clamps with a 4" throat
  • 12 - 2" Hand clamps
  • 6 - 4" Hand clamps
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