As a new member of this group,i would like to know which tool/s you consider to be an absolute must and couldn't do without....

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Having been a machinist (aircraft tool and die maker) and a mechanic most all my life (hot rodder for a hobby and licensed Aircraft Airframe and Power plant with Inspection Authorization as my trade later in life), the answer is get one of everything and don't buy cheap tools. That said, you don't need much more than a decent hand drill, some good drill bits, a hand saw, a couple of good screwdrivers, some various grit sandpaper, a few clamps and some wood glue to make a CBG. How much can you afford? If you have lots of spending cash, the sky is the limit. If you are doing this for fun, you really don't need much more than the basics and sometimes it's more enjoyable to take your time and do it the old way.

Your choice, a shop with the best of everything or a small work bench and a few good tools to enjoy the process.

I've built a CBG in less than a week using lots of power tools and I have also taken a month and a half doing most of the work by hand. Both builds were fun, but as I get older it seems like slowing things down can be very enjoyable. Sort of like eating, you can gulp the meal down and feel sated or savor every mouthful and really get lost in the moment. 

Whatever your path, enjoy the journey.

Thank you for that,Thomas...

What a great piece of advice, follow it and you'll enjoy every bit of your cbg hobby.

Hello M.R . It's been a while since I have been on the nation however this was the exact place that I came to pick the brains out of a ton of people that helped me along the way.  The first thought that came to my mind regarding your question is what type of instrument do you want to build? The list changes dramatically if you are looking to do something fretted with electronics or a cone for a resonator. That being said the one thing that comes to mind is a safe way to hold your work while you are doing whatever you are doing to it. Sawing, hand planing, carving…. A workmate can get the job done or any number of vises, and remember keep whatever cutting tool you are using moving in a direction that is opposite of your body…. It's really not imposable to make a very playable instrument with just the basic materials… I can also tell you from experience that you can go to the other extreme anytime you feel the urge. For most of us it gets in your blood one leads to two and the beat goes on from there… It really is a journey, so enjoy the ride…. I know that I did!  If I can answer any questions on how I did what I did I'd be happy to help if I can. Just let me know You can get an idea of my work over on my page. I haven't had a ton of time to build anything lately but am doing a lot more playing these days. So in my case either way its all good. Take care 


Hi Mickey R, I agree with everything the 'duck' says...but I haven"t been a machinist or much to do with machinery/aircraft. In fact I came of a farm, retired now..and what a way to go. Like the duck says...avoid cheap tools if you can. I have most of the basics, good power tools, chisels sand paper, circular saws, but I did buy a couple of expensive numbers. First thing I bought was a drill press, then a wagner T planer AND drum sanders..HEAVEN..then later I bought a fretting saw..stewmac. I also have a dremel  tool for 'fine' works...and got given a table saw and a compound saw, they have been sittng about for 3 months. And just like the Duck, I have made a CBG in two days. others have been on the go for a couple of months. I have also made a couple of stuff ups and a couple of happens. Depends on the budget, I sat start small and see what pleases you...just remember, your first build is only a prototype for the other 100 that you have plans for...cheers and happy building/playing/learning

Thanks for all the words of wisdom,guys. Appreciate it....

A 24" stainless steel ruler calibrated in inches and metric.  use for laying out frets, checking flatness of fingerboards and frets.  

Some of the stranger things on my workbench:  A box of Qtips for applying stain in hard to get places.  Also for staining the edge of the sound hole.  Starbucks coffee paper cups for mixing small quantities of stains or epoxy.  Starbucks coffee stirrers

Lots of clamps and 2 Japanese pull saws.


One more "indispensable" thing on my workbench seems to be clutter. It really seems to be an important part of my build process.

As usual lots of good advice.Thank's guys ....

Here is my the galley of my sailboat where I live.  I have built 10 guitars/ukes here.  I just built that "temporary" tool crib in a couple of hours on Sunday.  I don't have a lot of power tools.  I make my rip cuts with a mickey mouse jig setup and my Mag 77 Skillsaw.  Another indispensable item is a bar of soap.  To rub on the threads of screws going into hardwood.  Saves a lot of grief and stripped out screw heads.

I also finally bought a vice a week ago.  I can't believe I went so long without one.  



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