Wood Archives

New Pedal Board – HD500X on Risers

New Pedalboard HD500XI’m massively downsizing my stage footprint! This new pedal board will be much simpler- focused around my new Line 6 HD500X, and the footswitch controller for my Blackstar Stage 60.

The only pedals left on the board are my Planet Waves Tru-Strobe tuner and DIY clean boost.

I’ve got the Stage 60’s 4-footswitch controller up front, along with an additional switch for the lead boost on channel 3 (repurposed from my VOX AC15, with a red LED added).

Height Issue with FootswitchesThe problem as you can see here is that the Stage 60 footswitch is taller than the HD500X.  If I just sit them on the board next to each other, the Stage 60 switches are uncomfortably high relative to the front row of switches on the HD500X, making them hard to reach.

So I decided to put the whole HD500X on risers.  Here’s how:

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A Toothpick Trick For Loose Screws

A carpenter once showed me a great trick with a toothpick.  One of our doors was sagging, because the screws in the hinges were loose, and couldn’t be tightened.   With a glint in his eye, he pulled out a handful of toothpicks from his pocket, saying “my secret weapon”.   After removing the loose screws for the hinge, he stuffed a few toothpicks in each hole, cut them off flush, and then re-tightened the screws in the holes.  Presto chango- it was all nice and tight.  Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best!

In this video, I apply this simple trick to the tuners on my Epiphone Riviera P93. Some of these screws have been loose since day one – the kind of loose where no matter how much you try to tighten the screw, it just spins freely in the hole. The wood fibers in the hole are stripped out and no longer gripping the screw threads. One simple toothpick, inserted in each hole and cut off flush, just like that carpenter had shown me- and now the screws go in nice and tight. The soft wood of the toothpick makes the perfect filler. No glue necessary.

That same carpenter also shared these fine words of wisdom: “Caulk and paint are what a painter ain’t”, but that’s a story for another day Smile

Garden Arbor Bench Project

Site of the future garden benchIn addition to my usual guitar studies and projects, I’ve been working on some other projects over the summer.  I thought I’d share some details of what’s been keeping me busy.

At the beginning of June, Chunling hinted that she’d like something to go between these two Tristania Laurina trees along our fence – perhaps a nice shady place to sit.  

One morning, she pointed out a design she liked from Sunset magazine: 

Sunset Garden Arbor BenchSunset Garden Arbor Bench Plan Front ViewSunset Garden Arbor Bench Plan Side View

Chunling’s birthday was approaching, and this looked like a nice small-ish woodworking project that I could kick out relatively quickly, so I decided to go for it.    Most woodworking projects I undertake are more the indoor-fine-furniture variety, which take me months to painstakingly prepare and execute.  Now, here’s an outdoor project, where it’s gonna get all beat up by the elements anyway, so there’s less pressure for perfection.  I figured I could get it done in a weekend.  The reality was more like two and a half weekends, but still, that’s better than months 🙂

I bought the redwood at Home Depot.  It was hard to find perfect pieces- a lot of it was pretty rough.  Also some boards were much greener/wetter than others.  A few of those 4x4x8’s weighed a ton, and literally spit up water when being cut on the table saw.

A bunch of redwoodCutting slots in the legs for cross pieces

First job was to prepare the four posts for assembly.  After several crosscut passes on the table saw, I cleaned out the slots with a chisel:

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Wood Amp Cabinets

Some day I’d like to build an all-wood enclosure for my amp.  These beautiful cabinets from Matchless, Fuchs, and Mesa/Boogie are really inspiring.  Check out the nicely figured hardwoods and dovetailed joinery.  Those Matchless speaker grills are really cool too.

These amps are not standard production models, but can be built custom at Mesa/Boogie (and possibly at Matchless too?)

The Fuchs Overdrive Supreme is a 10th anniversary limited model, with only 10 being made.

Matchless Custom C-30Matchless Custom C-30 

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Building an Acoustic Guitar, part 3

Marc at The Wood Whisperer has posted the final part in the video series Birth of a Guitar, documenting Rick Urschel’s classical guitar project.   If you’ve been watching, part 2 ended on a cliffhanger, Rick having mistakenly glued on the fretboard before tapering it.  Disaster!  This video starts with Ricks laborious fix with Japanese saw, chisel, scraper and sandpaper.  Then Rick goes on to shaping the neck with a spokeshave, installing fret wire, and positioning the bridge.  The finish starts with pore-filling with pumice, then applying 5 coats of shellac and 5 coats of satin polyurethane.   Finally, Rick installs the nut, tuning machines, and uses a fancy vacuum press to glue down the bridge – how cool is that!?  You can also see Rick’s homemade walnut guitar stand.  

The final result is beautiful, and a testament to Rick’s persistence, patience and determination!  This really makes me appreciate how much effort goes into building a handmade guitar.  Even after all that effort, there’s some kind of “rogue” harmonic thing going on with the open G string that he was unable to figure out.  If you have any ideas, contact him!

Take a look:

Birth of a Guitar, part 3

Luthier in a Candy Store

In years past, Grizzly had an enormous booth at the NAMM trade show demonstrating all their power tools, table saws, planers, sanders, shapers, etc.   While they were absent this year, there was still plenty to excite and inspire.

For the aspiring luthier or woodworker, there’s nothing more appetizing than stacks of gorgeously figured exotic hardwoods. 

Taylor Build-To-Order Resources Taylor Build-To-Order Resources

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Artisan Luthiery

Some of the guitars I saw at this year’s NAMM trade show are true works of art.  Masterpieces of woodworking, incredibly fine detail, yes.  But, I must ask – have these instruments lost sight of their own musicality?  Do they sound any good?

I was afraid to (or not allowed to) play many of these, so I have to wonder.  I imagine that some of these do indeed triumph both as musical instruments and as works of art, but perhaps others will be better as pieces of furniture or wall art, rather than playing instruments…

Minarik Double Neck Minarik Acoustic with Hummingbird Inlays Minarik Acoustic with Hummingbird Inlays

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Building an Acoustic Guitar, part 2

Marc over at The Wood Whisperer has posted part 2 in the video series Birth of a Guitar, documenting Rick Urschel’s classical guitar project.   This time, Rick makes the kerfing, builds the back and the sound board with rosette, all the bracing, bindings, the bridge, fretboard.   If you thought from part 1 that it was gonna be all power tools, you’ll find a lot more hand tool and finesse work in this video.  Really inspiring stuff.  We get to see some of Rick’s clever jigs – like one to produce a raised curve in the top, a diy tilt-base for the trim router, a fret-slot cutting sled, and again the hot lightbulb-in-a-pipe wood bending jig.  Warning, massive amounts of blue tape will be consumed 🙂

One of the most interesting parts of the video is how Rick recovers from a couple big mistakes.  Every woodworker, from beginner to expert, makes mistakes, in every project.  I’ve heard said that the measure of a fine woodworker is how well they hide their mistakes.

There’s a huge amount of material here, and Marc has sped up a lot of of the video to almost comical speeds.   And best of all, it ends on a cliffhanger!  Take a look:


Building an Acoustic Guitar

It has long been a dream of mine to combine two of my hobbies – guitar and woodworking – and build my own guitar from scratch.   Some day…

Today, Marc over at the The Wood Whisperer posted part 1 in a new video series Birth of a Guitar, documenting Rick Urschel’s classical guitar project.    The video really shows how many steps are involved in building an acoustic guitar, and how many diverse skills are required.   Just imagine what it was like building such a guitar in the days before power tools!  Even with modern tools, it’s a gargantuan effort.

Birth of a guitar