Friday, April 27, 2007

Let's see if I can actually pull this off.

I live in a moderate sized single bedroom apartment in Chicago. My goal in life is to begin building guitars in this place. So far, all I have done is amassed some tools and done some research.

Big Pile of Tools:

This is where my nearly obsessive compulsive organization urge becomes apparent. I know and I'm not ashamed.

What I have so far:
  • Black and Decker Workman--This is the little bench. I just carried it home from Home Depot today. (Did I mention I was doing all this without the aid of a personally owned and operated automobile?) Let me tell you, it's only moderately heavy at the store but it's heavy as a motherfuck once you've carried it a mile on your shoulder. Putting it together was great fun too. I'm probably gonna take it apart tomorrow and put it back together just for the hell of it.
  • Free Drill--Black and Decker also. I got it for free w/ the Workman. (Take that, capitalism!) I have drill I paid for too but, you know, fuck paying for things.
  • Cheap-Ass Dremel Tool--I got this sucker to polish frets, which I think it will do just fine. It's not really Dremel but made by Chicago Electric so I know it was built in my hometown, Chicago, China. I got it for ten bucks from Harbor Freight, my favorite purveyors of cheap and shitty tools. All I've used it for so far is to tear the crap out of a hunk of Styrofoam which was fun as hell so as far as I'm concerned, it kicks major ass.
  • Ratchet Set--This one was made in Pittsburgh, China. I used it to put the Workman together rather than the bizarre and twisted wrenching devices included and that's probably the last I will see of it for a while.
  • Random Orbital Sander--This kind is the best for some reason. Ask anyone. Another score from Harbor Freight, also made in Chicago, China.
  • Straight Edge--Well, it's actually a straight-level tool but straight enough for me, especially after a few beers. I also have a carpenter's square when I need to see if larger things are straight. Yeah... You guys can take that and run w/ it if you want.
  • Skil Jigsaw--I left in the little case for the picture because I don't like you lookin' at it. It has scrolling action if I need it and I will once I make the templates. I got this originally because I wanted to get a metal-cutting blade for it and use it to remove a U-lock that had a key broken off in it. I can't begin to tell you how well that worked. Anyway, I got some nice Bosch blades for it and it will serve a purpose now.
  • Clamps, clamps, clamps--I've been told I need a lot of these so I am amassing a collection. Luthiers often collect at large conventions in order to train clamps, that's how much they like them. I like the ones that look like giant alligator clips best because they're cheapest. Let's hope the work. I got others just in case.
  • Assorted Safety Gear--I am too old to worry about looking like a dork. I wear my helmet when I ride and when I use power tools, I suit up like Robocop. Them shits are dangerous.
Not shown:
  • I got a really expensive fret-working set from Stewart Macdonald which came w/ a semi-worthwhile book on fretting. I use three things out of it but I can crown and level my own frets now so that's OK. Next time, I will just get what I need and throw the rest of my money in the garbage.
  • Soldering Iron--I love soldering! I'd do it all day if I could. I have changed pickups in my guitars just because I was bored on more than one occasion.
What I need:
  • Router--Probably gonna get this Hitachi one I've been seing on eBay for cheap (though refurbished). I need this to make the electronic cavaties and for the neck pocket. Once I build necks, it will be use to rout the channel for the truss rod amongst other things, I think. I haven't gotten that far ahead yet.
  • Finishing supplies--I'm not even gonna think about this.
  • Good Old Fashioned American Know-How--I don't know shit. My goal, at least to start, is to keep at least eighty percent of my fingers.
  • Probably a lot of other stuff but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So that's that for tools. I will tell you some more about my first project, the baritone guitar body, once I get a chance.

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