Machines and Jigs

click on any picture for a closer look

 One of the most useful tools in my shop is the bandsaw. I have a Jet 18-inch with a 10-inch throat used for resawing lumber for sides, tops and backs. I use a Laguna Tools one-inch composite blade with tooth inserts and no set. Ths blade is expensive but allows me to get 7 pieces from a 4/4 board with a smooth finish that can be cleaned up with a sander. I also have a Craftsman 12-inch that I use for everything else

 This is my Performax drum sander used to thickness backs, tops and sides. I use 120-grit paper to avoid deep scratches. This machine creates a great deal of sawdust and must be connected to a dust collector. A shop vacuum will not do the job. I clean the drum periodically with a rubber cleaner bar.

 This is my shop-made disc sander used to "true-up" the assembled sides (the hoop) to fit the spherical radius of the top and back once the kerfing has been glued on. The center of the disc has a threaded shaft with a nut that can be adjusted to provide a 25-foot radius for backs and 30-foot radius for tops.

 Here is my shop-made sanding table which is connected to the dust collector in the garage. I use this for sanding the body, routing binding channels, etc. It catched most of the dust but I think it will work better if I move the dust collector hook-up from the back of the base to the bottom.

 This is a vacuum holding jig for scraping binding and sanding sides on the guitar body. It is just a piece of polycarbonite with a vacuum line connected to the center through a gage and shutoff. The black stuff is closed-cell automotive weatherstripping in two rings around the vacuum hole. I added the two vertical strips to better support the thin back wood. This thing supplies a tremendous amount of force on the body. I could lift the entire workbench by lifting the attached body under vacuum. This is powered by a small vacuum pump used to dry automotive air conditioner systems that I got at a pawn shop attached to a small air tank used as an accumulator.

 This is my side bender. It is just a piece of 14-gage sheet steel bent in the center to a 3-inch radius. There is a back plate welded to the bender to provide a 90 degree reference for bending. The heat is supplied by a silicone heater blanket glued to the inside using high temp automotive silicone RTV sealer. Some designs use a lighting rheostat to control the temperature. This one holds 400 degrees by plugging it in directly to the 110 volt house circuit. Simple.

 This is my shop-made buffer. It is just 3 Sears 8-inch linen buffing pads mounted on a mandrel driven by an old yard-sale motor that turns at 1750 RPM. The wheel sticks out beyond the workbench to give me room to work. You want to avoid presenting the wheel with any edge, (including a soundhole edge), or anywhere above the center of the mandrel. The rule for any power tool is: If you stop pushing, it stops working/cutting/sanding.

I decided to buy a milling machine from Harbor Freight to cut precise saddle slots and head blocks. I am working on a way to cut inlays such as the rectangles Martin uses on the D-45 fretboard
  Shop-Made Tools & Jigs

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