Hand Tools Archive

Re: Guitar
Response To:
Re: where is everybody? ()

What kind of guitar would helpfully narrow it down.

I never use plans, the proportions are pretty easy to come up with as they relate to the string length which is not a fixed number, but there are some basic scale lengths. To develop the scale length itself, there is the utility Frets (or was). You just enter the length you want and it prints it out graphically and the numbers. That knocks out a really expensive and useless ruler I once bought. :)

So you might want a plan form for the box, the shape of the soundboard. You can find free plans online, and you can copy forms you see online, of say a concert SS guitar. Luth.org has some plans, often for kinda weird instruments.

I remember reading this article on how a luthier created an assembly line. He just made a workstation for every step in the process, then staffed them. The point being when you do a guitar, you have X processes. A lot of luthiers are not competent woodworkers, so there are probably 100 different, reasonably credible ways of doing every one of these steps, and the best place to find out about them is almost always on the internet. Another alternative for hand tool expert people is just to do them all with relatively available tools. So you can spend hundreds on a jig to cut fret slots, or make one, some of which are truly brilliant, or set up CNC. I cut mine with a small, cheap hacksaw.

It all comes down to a lot of steps, and then you just do them. It is actually pretty easy woodworking, getting the to the point where you have any control over the acoustics is possibly a myth, or the work of a lifetime, but there are plenty of 1rst time guitars that turn out great.

You can start out with something small like a strumstick, or Uke. Maybe a large Uke, like a Baratone.

There are Youtube vids that go through someone's whole process, I haven't watched any, but it is more a case of there being too much out there, not to little.

One nice thing about making acoustics is the wood tends to be extraordinary. So for hand tools it is a lot of fun.


Charles Fox, not the guy I was referring to above. He has for years been offering courses that deal with how to up your production so you can make 2 guitars a week. For a lot of luthiers, one is a push in a one person shop. I don't care about that, but it is interesting to look at the steps, and options available.

Fox also invented the bender, now a little obsolete, that really opened up lutherie to the masses, as it made it possible for anyone to bend sides. Silicon heaters are probably more common today, but he is a guy with a lot of ideas.


Once one is familiar with the steps, one can start to look at the different ways one might deal with them.

If you look at what many of the people selling plans or templates are doing, mostly it is just selling the outline of the guitar. Some of the sets, and these get really expensive, are selling multiple template sets, but most of that info for things like body heights, or neck widths, is going to be online in manufacturer's websites, or many many other places.

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