Damn, I love this group. And the greatest thing is when we solve common problems with everyday solutions. Mind you, there are better [read: more costly commercial] solutions out there but if you really want to make your instrument in the hand made fashion, try this...

So I've been racking my brain trying to figure out how to get side markers that were worth a darn. I've tried paint dots. Ok, not too bad. I've tried plastic rods. Better but too large. I've tried filling the holes with some sort of glue/paint/black substance. Too messy and sometimes bleeds. Eeeeek.

So I'm with my 9 yr old doing a project and I stumbled on this. Remember back when you were a kid? You would take a small piece of paper -- a gum wrapper or note pad piece -- and roll it up as tight as you can get it. Gum wrappers were great for that. Little tubes kinka like a lollipop stick. I was doing that with a small piece of construction paper as I was waiting for the girl to glue stuff down.

What I made was a ~1/16' rod of paper. Blue paper, but a perfectly formed rod. What is paper but wood anyhow? Hmmmm what if I rolled this black piece up.

VOILA! I had the beginnings of a great idea. So I set into my shop with black construction paper (could be ANY color tho) and made some little rods of paper.

Here is how I did it:

1) Using a 2" strip of black construction paper, I started the process. To keep the paper from fraying as I did this, I coated it with clear spray.


2) I started rolling it as I did before. Try this in the technique like rolling a strip of dough or molding clay (you used to do that as a kid right?) I make it more consistently round and tighter moving my hands, or in the case below a piece of wood, over the rolled paper. Tighter and tighter it was forming. Getting it started is a pain but be patient. You'll get it.


3) Once I had the rod to about the thickness I wanted (~1/16"), I cut it off. This took I would say about 1/2" of paper. Not too much. I sprayed some clear coat onto a newspaper and rolled the rod into it. That should keep it from coming lose.


4) While still damp, I used the block to roll it into a tight shape just in case. You will see that there is some sawdust on the rod. That's I found is good as it keeps the rod from sticking to the wood or the table. Plus later it might provide some glue tooth.


5) Two rods complete. I did remove some of the sawdust.


6) I drilled holes into a test piece of fretboard and inserted the rod into the holes. Cut them flush.


7) Once in and cut flush, I put on a little CA glue just to seal the top and provide a good surface to sand on. Don't worry about overage. You'll sand that off AND it helps to seal any gaps!


8) All sanded down (120/220/400 grits) and clear coated. Cant even guess that its construction paper.



Perfectly round little marks. And you can make them in any size or color you want. You can even color them with a marker if you need!

So happy building Ya'll

-Wes

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Replies to This Discussion

Nice one Wes. That's the way to do it cheap, like it lots.
I have used tiny brass pins (the heads are bigger than the pin) and hammered them right into the wood and also drill a small shallow hole and fill with a contrasting wood filler and sand smooth.
Just a couple of my ideas.
Hogs.
Wow! That's great Wes! I will give it a try on one of my builds - the finished product looks as good as the stuff that I purchased from Stewmac!
Something else to try is to save the shaft from pop rivets when you use the pop rivet heads for string bushings. Drill a 1/4" deep hole in the guitar's neck, just slightly less than the diameter of the shaft, insert shaft in hole, trim with diagonal cutters, file smooth and there you go.
Got another one.... Go to the discount store and buy a hairbrush. One of those jobs ladies use with the thick, widely-spaced plastic "bristles" with the little knobs on top.
You can get either black or white...
The bristles are tapered, and you can just pull them out of the brush with a pliers.
Drill a 1/6" hole, cut the little knob off the bristle, drop of glue.... Stick it in till it's tight and let dry. Cut off with a razor blade.
Looks good and dead cheap.
Sounds great, Mark - thanks!!!

Mark Werner said:
Got another one.... Go to the discount store and buy a hairbrush. One of those jobs ladies use with the thick, widely-spaced plastic "bristles" with the little knobs on top.
You can get either black or white...
The bristles are tapered, and you can just pull them out of the brush with a pliers.
Drill a 1/6" hole, cut the little knob off the bristle, drop of glue.... Stick it in till it's tight and let dry. Cut off with a razor blade.
Looks good and dead cheap.

I haven't done this yet but one idea I have heard is to go to your local GoodWill store and look for small knitting needles.  They come in both plastic and metal.  The plastic ones are different colours and the metal ones are mostly grey.

 

Tom

I tried the construction paper technique and I was really impressed. I did at first find after I made the first two, I found that if I soaked the paper in water first, it softened up and made it so much easier to roll. After the water soak, I simply patted the water off on a newpaper than proceeded to do the clear spray. Worked like a charm. I ended up with about 12 rods from 1 sheet of paper. Thanks for sharing the idea Wes.

Brilliant! See, I hadn't even considered that. I will be doing that from now on. Rolling these things dry is a PAIN. I think you solved a great problem there.

 

Thank you !!!

 

-WY

I use bamboo squewers that I buy at the grocery store. Very cheap and they look very professional.

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