I’ve been making solid-body electric guitars for a few years now. While I’ve used power tools on everything so far, I’ve been slowly transitioning some processes to hand tools. I’d like to build some acoustic instruments soon, but so far everything has been solid and electric. Anyway, here are some pictures of a couple of the instruments I’ve built:
This one is a hollow-body fretless bass guitar with an undersaddle transducer pickup instead of the more common electromagnetic coil pickups. The body is Tropical walnut on top and African sapele on the back. The neck is Quartersawn honduran mahogany with a Mexican katalox fingerboard.
This one is a baritone guitar, tuned somewhere between a standard (tenor) guitar and a Bass guitar. It has a 27″ scale and 26 frets. The Body is African padauk and American white ash with a Purpleheart and Maple veneer detail in the center. The neck is Wenge, Purpleheart and Bloodwood with Maple veneers, a Gabon ebony scarf joint chinstrap, and an Ash headplate. The fretboard is Gabon ebony as well.
My processes for guitars is, I think, about 25% power tools and 75% hand tools. I use a thickness planer, bandsaw, and routers for a lot of the milling and machining of blank stock. Then I used a series of handplanes, rasps, files, and scrapers for shaping and surfacing (for finishing). Both of the above guitars are finished with boiled linseed oil and wipe-on satin polyurethane. The baritone also has some Timbermate ebony pore filler in the ash grain for contrast.
I have lately become interested in building a lot more than just guitars. For example, I also made this Dungeons & Dragons dice roll tower:
I made that entirely with hand tools, including a Rabbeting plane I made out of maple and an old 1/2″ chisel. I got a lot more tear-out than I expected, so the surface finish isn’t as nice as I would have preferred. Still, it looks nice and it works, so I call it a success. Future versions will be better.
Thanks for looking, and thanks for all the hand-tool videos.
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