I work on about 3 guitars per month so buying expensive tools is not something I do unless it will greatly improve my effectiveness. Lately I have noticed making shims is taking me way too long and they typically come out less than acurate. I have contemplated buying or making a "luthiers friend sanding station" or getting a safe T Planer.
The shims I most often make are approx .025" for shiming neck resets, or bolt on necks(fender) for either underneath(angle) or the gap on the sides to increase the contact on the sides of the neck.
I normally use mahogany for acoustic and maple blanks for fenders. My current method is using my beltsander which has proven to be less than acurate and less than efficent. Is there a better method I could be useing. I have tried to use a hand plane but I can never get them small enough...
Any and all advice, input, and examples would be greatly appreciated.
I know a violin maker that uses willow and says it is traditional for this job. I used some from her stock on an old Gibson and it worked well.
Andrew, I don't know about the 'squishiness' of other woods, but I'm in SE PA and many home owners have planted holly trees as ornamentals, so there's lots of them around. So if you're handy with a chain saw in the dark of night... ;-)
Actually, I just went to a local saw mill and spent a few bucks for a rough-cut plank about an inch thick, 10" wide and about three feet long ... that's a lifetime supply for me. I'm sure you could find a small piece like that on the inner web for little money.
Holly is also used for purfling strips. It's a nice flexible, white wood.