Category Archives: Workshop jigs and fixtures

New Workshop Completed

I finished building my new workshop a few weeks ago – something I decided to start building to get me out of my super-cramped garage as soon as the Covid-19 lockdown was announced back in March.

I went for a simple wooden framed design on a concrete base with a flat roof to give me as much headroom as possible whilst staying within the 2.5m permitted development limits on height.  Plenty of rockwool insulation in the walls and ceiling and a few inches of celotex on the floor should keep things toastie in winter as well as keeping the machine tool noise inside.  I clad it in Siberian larch feather-board for a good and long lasting look.

I now finally have room to swing a cat while making musical instruments (or anything else) although there is still quite a lot of stuff still left in the garage!  Here are some pictures of the finished workshop:

And here is a gallery showing the construction process over the last 3 months:


Guitar luthier Jig for binding channels

Guitar luthier Jig for cutting binding channels

I just built a very simple guitar luthier jig to help manage cutting the binding and purfling channels using a laminate cutter (small 1/4″ router).


The aim was to overcome a few key problems with my previous design which I use in conjunction with a jig to hold the guitar body level.

  • Vertical movement on the vertical slide tending to stick.
  • Body of the jig too wide to allow working up close to the neck and heel of the instrument.

The essence of the modified design is simplicity.

  • Narrow base that can be easily clamped to table top.
  • Slide constructed from a 22mm copper tube sliding over a 20mm dowel.
  • Horizontal stability from a vertical steel tube that the body of  the jig slides over.
  • Laminate cutter screwed to a base that slots into the vertical slide of the jig.
  • Balance the weight of laminate cutter using thick elastic running over a pulley at the top of the jig.
Photo of finished jig:



Photo of jig to hold guitar body level:



Performance was pretty good and managed my cleanest channels yet.  However the design could still be improved.

  • By using a slightly thicker steel stabilising tube.
  • By providing a locating mechanism to keep the router base engaged with vertical slide.

Plans for Guitar Vice

In kitting out my workshop with guitar luthier tools, I really wanted to get one of these but they seem only to be available in the USA and the postage is as much as the vice so I decided to build my own.

Here are some very loose plans I sketched for the vice I built from oak firewood!:

vice plans

Here you can see the wedge used to hold it firmly against the bench

Here is the finished vice:

View of the rotating jaws

Extremely useful when carving the cello necks too.








After grain fill - ready for spraying
After grain fill – ready for spraying

And here it is in use.

Guitar Workshop Inventory

Jigsaw, drum sander and vertical oscillating sander opposite new bench
Jigsaw, drum sander and vertical oscillating sander opposite new bench

These are the things I would find it hard to do without in my workshop.

Power tools

  • Bandsaw
  • Drum sander
  • Vertical oscillating sander
  • Pillar drill
  • Lathe – doubles as sander (with shaped discs) and mop polisher
  • Laminate trimmer with top and bottom bearing laminate cutters and very small (1/2/3mm) cutters.  Circle cutting jig with vernier adjustment
  • Palm sander

Hand tools

  • F-clamps – 6 off
  • Wooden klampsia clamps (lots)
  • Deep throat F clamp
  • Deep throat clamps – for gluing bridge
  • Metal vice
  • Drill vice
  • Flexible jaws vice (home-made)
  • Set of flat chisels – 1/2″ down to 1/8″
  • Skew chisels –
  • Scrapers
  • Shoulder plane
  • Small palm plane
  • Flexible sole plane – for cutting the concave jigs for back and top
  • Set of small rat-tail files
  • Set of nut files
  • Half round file
  • Flat file with flat edge
  • Japanese half round rasp
  • Japanese marking knife
  • Set of rulers (6″, 12″, 24″, 36″)
  • Square
  • Digital vernier (imperial & metric)
  • Screw lock bevel
  • Japanese dozuki saw
  • Fret cutting saw
  • Sanding disc – 15′ concave for preparing bottom of sides for back
  • Sanding block – 25′ convex for doing underside of bridge


  • Bench hook
  • Shooting boards
  • Side moulds and base building jig
  • Back building board
  • Lining laminate gluing jig
  • Side bending jig
  • Fingerboard fret marking jig
  • Fingerboard fret cutting jig
  • Top/bottom template
  • Head template
  • Fingerboard template
  • Bridge positioning template
  • 15′ and 25′ radius sticks


  • Double sided tape
  • Wide blue masking tape
  • Titebond yellow glue
  • White PVA glue
  • Shellac flakes & thinners
  • Pumice
  • Cotton waste and linen sheets
  • Sandpaper 180-400
  • Emery paper 600-2000
  • Polishing compound
  • China graph pencils
  • Carpenters pencils

Guitar Workshop & Jigs

Tools & Jigs in My Guitar Workshop

This workshop was setup in my garage – which has never seen a car!

Vice made out of oak firewood!
Vice made out of oak firewood!

Side-bending jig - heated with 3 150W light bulbs
Side-bending jig – heated with 3 150W light bulbs

Former for back
Former for back

side moulds
side moulds

work-board for building top and sides
work-board for building top and sides

Stored wood and handtools
Stored wood and handtools

Jigsaw, drum sander and vertical oscillating sander opposite new bench
Jigsaw, drum sander and vertical oscillating sander opposite new bench

Getting ready to insulate the roof
Getting ready to insulate the roof