It seems that, these days, shortcuts are referred-to as "hacks"?  Well whatever we call 'em, this might be a good time to share a few.... since the board seems to have a bit of a lull this week.

I like to take a few various grits of the sticky 3M FreeCut™ sandpaper and cut pieces to fit onto common hardware store paint-stirring sticks.  They're usually freebies at hardware and paint stores.

It takes a little sifting through the stock to find nice straight ones and, sometimes, it's even helpful to glue a couple together to 'average-out' any inconsistencies.  The sandpaper can be wrapped-around an edge (or not) if you find that a narrow edge is helpful.

The sandpaper eventually wears out but can be easily removed & replaced.  I probably grab one of these at least 4 or 5 times a day for a quick straight (and handheld) sanding job. 

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I like that :-)

Yeah, surely not rocket science....  but the board seemed a little thin last week :)

I have a big version of this in my shop. Three flat bookshelf planes about 120x30x2 cm with one or two self adhesive strips of sandpaper one side. Different grits. When I need to sand something I pull the plane up from under the bench and clamp it to the bench top and sand away on that big flat surface. One of the tools I use the most. I have to make me some small sanding sticks too!

Made them used them today. Nice tools :-)

Mike  -

That's pretty cool - I may have to make some myself, although I'll have to "get over" my frugal nature to actually spend the $$ for self-sticky paper. . .

Yes, those sanding sticks are handy.  I've been using them for a number of years and got the idea from Dan Erlewine and Brian Gallop.  I keep a few in a box along with sand paper strips backed with strapping tape for neck setting.  Sometimes the paint stirrers are a bit flimsy so I made a few from thin aluminum stock I had like a charm.  And Frank, one roll of 120 grit w/ adhesive will last a loooong time for this application. ;-)

A few more handy shortcuts are:  I like going to flea markets ,and one of the many things I keep my eye open for are older, metal (often art deco) tape dispensers.  Usually pay a few bucks.   I keep mask and low tack right on top of the bench because I'm always reaching for tape, and it's a one-hand motion to tear off a piece.

Also, don't chuck those champagne, whiskey and wine corks, they're gold for repair applications, especially to modify jacks for inside the guitar body use.


Another thing I like to pick up at thrift stores whenever I find them are old sets of feeler gauges. They're great for cutting up to make custom thickness Floyd Rose nut shims, among other things.
Well, for Memorial Day, I took a break and looked at the Hofner Violin Bass construction video.
Has anyone noticed the luthier cutting the fret slots by eye with a hand saw, and quickly?
Now, there's a shop shortcut!

yeah jeez!

i saw little nicks in the far edge of the wood that i guess served as starter points for each slot, but otherwise it was completely freehand, there was nothing controlling the handsaw blade for even being square with the neck except for the eye of the guy using it! (go to 8:38)

same with the fretboard dots and the nut slots (well, the behind the zero-fret keeper slots), just straight-up Mk1 eyeball! no jigs, no nothing.

When gluing binding on a fingerboard, I use feeler gauge as a dam to keep the glue out of the fret slot.

If the slot is 0.023 wide, a 12 inch 0.023 feeler gauge costs about $2.38.  I cut the feeler gauge into 24 pieces that are 1/2 inch wide.  They exactly fill the slot, keep the glue out, are easily removed, and are reusable.

Stew-Mac sells a Teflon fret dam, but it only comes in one size, and costs more.


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