What to get?

Danjabellza

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So, I have a bundle of things I’m selling on Craigslist, and I’ll have $1000 to burn. I was thinking about a guitar or some other toy type purchases… but then I got to thinking that maybe tools would be better. That way I can really get into building guitars (and other things too).

So… what are the must have tools? Obviously a band saw, router, drill press, clamps, and a table saw.

what else? What isn’t obvious?
 

adjason

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buy used tools on facebook or craigslist. Using quality parts will still cost you about $400 to build a tele...... its worth it but I think only if you have aspirations of doing other woodworking. A router, bandsaw, planer, fret files, good neck shaping files, drill press are all a must........a joiner, and a sanding station are nice but not necessary. You could get by with just a jigsaw, router and drill press but it will take some work. Its easier to start being a woodworker and then make the move to guitars as you will have a lot of the stuff needed. Read Melvin Hiscocks book before you dive in
 

guitarbuilder

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Knowing what I know now after 40 years of making luthiery tools, using work arounds and throwing out bad parts, a long aluminum radius beam, a fret press, and a fret slotting system... would be my first purchases, as this will improve your guitar building over other less useful stuff liked notched straightedges and other things you don't need.

Aluminum Radius Sanding Beam 20.5" (520mm) length - Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies, LLC


Fret Arbor Press System - StewMac


StewMac Fret Slotting Miter Box - StewMac
 

Freeman Keller

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So, I have a bundle of things I’m selling on Craigslist, and I’ll have $1000 to burn. I was thinking about a guitar or some other toy type purchases… but then I got to thinking that maybe tools would be better. That way I can really get into building guitars (and other things too).

So… what are the must have tools? Obviously a band saw, router, drill press, clamps, and a table saw.

what else? What isn’t obvious?

So much of that depends on what kinds of guitars you want to build and how much you really want to invest in your shop. Some random thoughts

- my first home built guitars were acoustic kits (plates were thicknessed, sides bent, neck rough shaped). The only power tool I needed was a laminate trimmer for the binding. I did, however buy several hundred dollars worth of lutherie hand tools.

- I bought an inexpensive bands saw at a yard sale. I use it daily. I bought an inexpensive table saw at the same sale, I almost never use it. I have a small belt sander that I use daily, likewise a small drill press. The drill press has some limitations, I work around them. My second router was a small router table, it pays for itself every time I do a truss rod. I recently bought an oscillating spindle sander but I had built 30 guitars before I felt I needed it.

- Each time I build a guitar I think of the tool that would have made the last one easier or better and buy it. Might be a side bender for acoustic sides, a floating binding router. I have a few things on that list but I might not be building too many more guitars

- There are some specialized lutherie tools that you can't live without. Yes, you can Macquiver your way around buying nut files and fret files and pin hole reamers and binding routing bits but eventually you'll buy the right tool and be happy you did.

- You can cut costs but cheap tools are bad. Get good quality chisels and planes and scrapers and learn how to sharpen them. Take the time to set up your band saw with as much care as you would set up your guitar.

- Last anecdote. Last summer as part of my covid challenge I decided to build myself a classical guitar (it had been years). I set four restrictions, three which don't matter here. But one of them was to build the guitar with only hand tools - planes, scrapers, hot pipe, hand saws. I cheated and used my drill press for the tuners and my laminate trimmer for the binding, I honestly didn't want to buy the hand tool equivalent just to make a point. What I learned is that you need less than you really think to build a pretty OK guitar.

Have fun
 

Archtops

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Plus one on the fret slotting jig. A good spindle sander. Chisels and sharpening stones. Thickness Sander.
Hand planes. Tuners like a Petersen Strobe Tuner. How to build manuals.
Be prepared to make a ton of jigs. A lot more is needed if you’re serious about being able to replicate your designs. Best of luck!
 

Freeman Keller

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Read the sections on tools. Read it again
 

Octorfunk

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I've built several partscasters over the years, using a combination of existing parts (the neck & hardwareusually) and small bits of homemade stuff (bodies, neck pockets, etc). I have zero desire to cut out and fret a neck from scratch or to wind my own pickups.

So my most valuable tools would be a router (neck pocket, pickup cavity) and probably a dremel (assuming you already have a basic saw of some kind). I can get a body cut out with just about any kind of saw if I really had to, but there just isn't a very good workaround for the tasks designed for a router.
 




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