I’ve been getting back into playing guitar more often. I have a bunch of pedals, but no pedalboard. I had been looking at Pedaltrain and some of the boutique-y makers out there (see list below). I knew I could pull something together myself and practice woodworking in the process.
I decided I wanted something like a Salvage Custom board. I threw some sketches together and came up with a simplified version I could make with plywood.
I wanted to use rabbets as corner joints. A quick trip to the coin sorting machine and I was off to Home Depot for a stacked dado blade set. I’ve wanted one for a while but wouldn’t impulse-buy one. Now I had my excuse.
Rabbet joints are easy to cut. Badly planned rabbet joints are NOT. My original design called for rabbeting both parts of the corner, like this:
The problem was that the depth and width of the cut (height of blade and fence position) needed to be exactly the same. Otherwise, I ended up with gaps and the joint wouldn’t work. This level of accuracy does not happen with a cheap table saw and dado set. I thought I was doing something wrong and burned through a lot of my material trying to get this joint to work.
I thought it over for a while, trying to fix my method and not even thinking about the design. As I was thinking of jigs and gauges I could make, it came to me out of nowhere – my design was wrong, not my hands. If you rabbet one side of the joint, the dimensions are much less critical. My new joints look like this:
Much easier to set up the saw and plenty stable once glued up! I think this is how you are *supposed* to do it anyway.
I used a homemade taper jig to cut the top of the sides at an angle. It was hard to line it up, but I got it to come out good enough.
Once I got the frame glued up, I did a ton of sanding. I shaped it by feel, not worrying too much. I threw on a coat of grey stain. This cheapo plywood did not take the stain evenly. I ended up with a neato streaky patina. Two coats of poly and I was all set.
The top is 1/2″ plywood. I drilled a few 5/8″ holes and connected them with a jigsaw to create the cable slots. The velcro loop sheet and the hardware all came from pedalboardshop.com. I decided to use “electrosocket” style input and output jacks and an IEC power plug.
Here are my notes from my project book.
If you are in the market for a pedalboard or thinking of making one, here’s some of the cool stuff I found out there. I looked at these makers over and over while planning my design, all the while admiring their great work.