This is what the outside door to my workshop looks like. The plate was made for my birthday one year by my wife, Wendy – she always gets a laugh when I tell her I’ve just made a new jig to do something or other, and she knows that clamps are always welcome presents as well.
But the truth is that you just can’t make guitars without clamps and jigs. The problem is working out when the jig/clamp population is going to start crowding out everything else in the workshop.
The scary thing is that jigs, which are devices that help produce an accurate shape in some way, always have some kind of clamp on them. For example, what would you call this:
It’s my side bender, so it’s a jig. The white box is the temperature controller for the silicone rubber blanket that supplies the heat. But look at those sneaky clamps to hold the waist and ends down. Clamps are everywhere!
And they come in all different types. Like most luthiers I use go-bars to apply pressure to glue joints. They’re simple and elegant – all you need is an upper and lower rigid surface, then you jam bits of dowel end on between the two.
In this picture I’m joining two panels of Tasmanian Blackwood together for the back plate of a guitar.
I could give you a list of all the types of clamp a luthier needs, but I won’t. Wendy would laugh at me if I did. I plan to show how I build a guitar as these pages relentlessly procreate themselves, so you’ll see them all if you’re interested. But promise you won’t laugh.