Guitar Repair Bench

Discussion in 'Videos' started by ArtisanLuthiers, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers New Member

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    I'm soon to make a new 24"x48" workbench. I would appreciate comments on what size workspace people prefer, and any thoughts on preferred bench tools (vises, etc.) Thanks!
     
  2. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    Can you be specific about what type of work you'll be doing? Scratch builds would require a different workspace than general guitar setups.
     
  3. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers New Member

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    Good question, and that's part of waffling back and forth on sizes. I'm doing both but far more repair/maintenance.

    On other benches I've built I either "permanently" mounted bench vise/grinder/polisher or at least had hole patterns to quick mount.

    I've considered going to 60-72" long thinking that, working from the middle, I've got plenty of space on either side.

    Going deeper (width) to 32-26" is looking better as most everything is directly in front of me, no real lateral movement.
     

  4. Manodano

    Manodano Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, this is going to be fun.

    Several decades ago I inherited the perfect Sears Craftsman workbench, probably originally purchased in about 1964. I'll measure it and take some pictures of how it's set up. I'd rather be at that bench than just about any other place I can think of. It's home base.

    It was originally set up in what morphed into my basement music room. So I redesigned an adjacent basement space around the workbench.

    Here's a few tips that come to mind: 1) Round the sharp corners of the edge of the bench facing your belly with a router, or split a full size pool noodle lengthwise and wrap it around the edge - sort of like the padded front edge of a recording console.

    2) I like the bench pulled away from the wall with a raised 6" deep shelf running along the back of the bench.

    3) Preferred setup is an L-shaped space made by a table the same height but a little longer and about the same depth as the workbench, preferably on the left side.

    4) The bench height is critical, as is obtaining the right height stool. I'm short and I rest my feet on a low shelf underneath the bench.

    5) Make sure you have lots of light. I mount a lighted swing arm magnifying glass in the far left corner, a swing arm drafting table type lamp in the far right corner, with a 4' shop light overhead (recently replaced with a LED shoplight - the brightest, whitest one I could find).

    6) I have to sit a clock in my field of vision or I'll lose track of time and sit at the bench for four or five hours without looking up.

    7) I have a little elevated wire cradle where I sit my cell phone out of harms way. I learned not to lay it anywhere on the bench, lots of breakage potential, there. I regularly find myself reaching for that phone to consult the internet on some aspect of what I'm doing.

    8) You need to plan for plenty of electrical outlets.

    More details later.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  5. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    @Manodano
    Awesome detailed suggestions!
    I have a lot of similar set up for one of my benches. Fairly large old metal office desk with a credenza / long kinda narrow unit on the left to form an L.

    Used to be my sewing / utility bench, before that my reloading bench.

    Have a broken arm swing arm light just propped up to provide TASK lighting; plans to upgrade.
    Good lighting a must; task lighting different from area / general room light.
    Power strip on desk for light, solder station, amp / variac/ light bulb current limiter, etc. as needed.

    Definitely always keep my phone nearby to look at time - I fall into a void where time just seems to pass way more quickly than perceived.
     
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  6. solteroblues

    solteroblues Well-Known Member

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    interested in this, too. I'm starting a journey into building a guitar from scratch, and the bench I have now is already out of room for half of the tools I've purchased just in the last month...
     
  7. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    Here's a short tour of my shop. It is a little above bare minimum, and I have a lot of upgrades in mind. I'll show you what I'm working with, and tell what I do and don't like about it. Hopefully, that'll give you a better idea of what you might want.

    So far, I have cut and finished 24 solid bodies in this shop which is what it's normally used for. This November I made a 4-player arcade control surface (actual arcade cabinet joysticks and buttons) and had plenty of room to do so. I have plans to build a full arcade cabinet at some point (mainly as an excuse to buy a nice table saw) and expect I'll have decent room to do that as well. This shack is a really nice step up from where I first learned to build. I was using a 10' X 10' area in my garage at our previous residence.

    The pics I'm posting are from last summer, before the shop was encrusted in an inch thick layer of MDF dust from the arcade build. There's also a couple of feet of snow on the ground surrounding it at the moment. I am a warm weather person living in a place that keeps snow on the ground between 4 - 6 months out of the year. The shop is not insuated or climate controlled. Since I'd like to be able to work year round, finding a solution for this is a priority.

    It's a shack, so I don't care if paint gets on the walls, floor, roof, or windows. Dust is an issue, since I finish bodies in there as well. Working with hardwoods isn't a big deal to keep clean, I just run a shop vac near whatever's making the mess at the time, but MDF is a different story. You'll need to plan for dust management according to what you're cutting into. I have a good quality dust mask that can handle fine particulate, chems, and paint - and I make good use of it. I also have a couple of box fans to circulate air and help expel some of the dust. It's not optimal, but it works for now.

    Don't cheap out on the dust mask. Just don't. While you're at it, get some decent eye and ear protection as well. I also like to wear some work gloves depending on the task at hand.

    The shack has a good (not great) electrical capability. I'd like to install a few long outlet strips as time goes by. I popped the breaker a few times while running power tools as well as space heaters during the arcade build, but this was only due to the heaters being run. I don't normally have an issue with that. Make sure your wiring can handle the load.

    Not pictured is an extra wide driveway, half of which is behind backyard privacy fence. The houses around here have super big driveways because people love their RV's and mega ATV's, and the driveways are often paved into the backyard to store them. Our place has this feature. If I had gotten the bright idea to build an arcade Xmas present earlier in the year, I would've cut the MDF outside on a folding table since I have the room to do it. I'm building a small desktop one player cabinet for my office soon, but I'm waiting for warm weather for just this reason. I don't wanna clean that shit off of everything again.

    Here's the shop:

    20180526_190931.jpg

    I'm good storage wise, there are shelving units all over.

    The work surface is a good height for me and has plenty of room. The workbench on the right wall is where most of my work gets done. The window is in a great spot for natural light, which helps greatly in shaping and finishing wood. The boards on the bench are 8' long, for reference. If the bench were any smaller, it might present a problem for me.

    I'll typically set up my router table, ROSS, and any hand work in the center. This near end gets the planer, and I have holes in the bench that I bolt my spray rig to. I clamp the bodies to the table for any plunge routing.

    This is a good sized worktable for what I'm doing, I have plenty of room. I would like another work surface ideally, since I have to set up and tear down between operations.

    20180526_190944.jpg

    For example: In the above shot, I'm setting up to trace patterns onto and cut the blanks to size. After that, I plane the blanks - for which I have to clear the bench to make room for my planer. After that, I clear it again to have room to glue the planks up, etc., etc. I would like to be able to keep the workstations set up for each operation rather than having to set up, tear down, then housekeep after every task.

    That bench is perfect, but I'd like two of them.

    20180526_190950.jpg

    This is my desk, hardly used at this point because the lighting over it is almost non existant. This is another upgrade I'll need to make happen. It's an old desk I found at a second hand store for $10. It served as my main work surface in the old garage, but right now it's just been a place to stack shit. At this moment, it's covered in spare guitar parts. I was in the middle of a reorganization mission when the weather made being in there unbearable.

    The shelves on the right are where I keep parts and consumables, sometimes odds and ends for future ideas/experiments/projects.

    Shelves and storage. Plenty of room for more projects and tools:

    20180526_191005.jpg

    Continuing on, this is where I store the big stuff:

    20180526_191011.jpg

    I simply drag the drill press or bandsaw into the doorway for light and go nuts.

    I really just need some better lighting, insulation, and climate control and it'll be just about perfect. Oh, and a table saw would be nice.

    20180802_185944.jpg

    I also recommend some form of bluetooth speaker. I have a wireless access point right at the near corner of my house to stream music and the occasional MLB game into the shack. This one was pricey, but sounds great and can be heard above most of my power tools:

    91HnLmz7bsL._SL1500_.jpg

    It's one of the best tools in the shop!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  8. proped

    proped Active Member

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    It's all about space. In my case not enough, but enough to get by. SAM_0728.JPG
     
  9. AnotherJim

    AnotherJim Member

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    I am going to love this thread. I hope more people post their shops. @rrobbone my kids have those JBL wireless speakers and they are amazing little device. Those are some nice looking guitars you have built. You are skilled in the ways of the force!
     
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  10. cornfed

    cornfed Well-Known Member

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    My beautiful mess , I’m lucky to be in the construction business so a lot of free things come my way, like the big solid core doors I have for bench tops, all the cabinets and drawers, materials to build more shelves and shit :)
    46B1F6EB-5FF7-4AAC-9E16-095284EA5E21.jpeg
    I was remodeling 30 apartments, every unit had one single of theses bank of drawers, I only took 4 the rest went to the trash
    50D0F31D-4304-4E6E-87F6-4A8F1AFD24C9.jpeg
    This entire shop is 1/2 my garage, it’s very small and when things don’t get back to their spot it gets messy real quick
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    This isn’t even all my crap, I have big chopsaw joiner and Tablesaw and more either at jobs or in shed in back
     
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  11. cornfed

    cornfed Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I’m blowing this place up
    6-7 routers, ,,bits
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    Probably 100 templates for various bodies , necks, pickguards, pickup configurations, tremolos,,etc..
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    And here’s the latest brain fart project, a Super-sonic. Don’t hold your breath ;(
    8D3A5BCC-7E3A-4A97-B693-5F1623FEABC3.jpeg
     

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