I am always on the lookout for a new or different tool or method, and the cheaper the better. Here are some items that I've found lately that worked out well.
My wife uses false finger nails, and part of the kit are these great little sanding boards; stiff foam with fine and finer grits. I guess around 220 and 300 maybe. Work great for sanding carved tops, neck angles, etc. Check with the wife, girlfriend, sister, etc.
Another item found at the big box store, is double-sided masking tape. I believe this was Duck brand, and it's incredibly cheap, and holds very well. I loosen it with the old standby, naptha dripped under the template. I was having trouble with the other stuff being very thin, but this is a little thicker and conforms to tiny irregularities.
Last item is a cheapie nail file. I believe these are diamond coated, as they stay sharp a long time, but cost only about a buck or less.
Thanks to Frank's site for the inspiration to look for new uses for old or free stuff. I'm always picking up old knives for other uses. Cheers.
You know, I really might have to go out and break a clamp just to make one of these. I've got some aluminum stock that I plan to turn into fret cauls but I didn't have a press yet. This is just perfect for a someone like me that can't justify spending too much on a tool I'll only use a couple of times a year. Thanks again, John, for a great idea.
Here is one in the spirit of this thread, a pencil and a scrap of laminated particle board.
Had to pull the ribs from the tail block of this guitar. The top and back shrank and both the sides popped out way proud of the bindings but with the sides still glued firmly to the tail block. I ran a router up the seam of the sides, still attached to the tail block, removing a swath of material to shorten the sides so I could correct the problem. Then I separated the sides from the tail block.
The instrument has continuous linings, which where loose on both sides. I couldn't figure out a reasonable way at first to clamp the linings in place without pulling the ribs away more, which I did not want to do. I had been using a pencil with a large eraser end on it to test the springiness and the light bulb came on.
I have to ask, John; Do you make cho-cho, steam engine noises when you use that winder?
Not making fun of the winder, it's a good idea. It's just the way my mind works.
I will now. This is the second one i made, I lost the first one. I've probably only used it a dozen times in thirty years. Really handy when you need it though.
My daughter has a few neat things in her repair shop. She uses a leg wax melting pot - $9.95 - to heat her HHG. Also, she uses a nail buffer to polish bone:
I checked out the rest of Ed's L-00 rehab pics. What a beautiful transformation! If anyone needs a seminar on rehabbing basket cases, check it out.
My favorite cheap gadget is a baby bottle warmer to keep my hide glue squeeze bottle hot. $5 from Craigslist. They also show up in consignment shops for baby stuff. My others are acrylic drafting triangles which are very accurate and can't get bent if they hit the floor; bulk bulb pipettes from a lab supply house or Ebay...~$0.05 each; bulk scalpel blades; Corneal surgery forceps for any splinter removal and other precision placement or extraction chores.
A lot of fun, not much to lose, and now I have a great guitar that I couldn't afford otherwise. Plus it's a bonding area with my daughter.
I've also started using Ben Crowe's double stick masking tape trick. Much better and cheaper than regular double sided tape:
I bought my fret-dressing file from those guys recently! It's the best new tool I've bought this year and I've bought a few :P