Pedalboard

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.

http://www.salvagecustom.com/

http://blackbirdpedalboards.com/

http://templeboards.com/

http://trailertrashpedalboards.com/

http://www.helwegpedalboards.com/

Process(ed).

Hey remember that iPad holder/stand/slantboard thing I tried to whip up a while back? I went back to the virtual drawing board that is SketchUp, came up with a different design, and made the thing.

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I used scrap pine I had lying around for the frame, and bought a sheet of dry-erase hardboard for the top. What you don’t see is under that shelf-looking bit; I attached a piece of EVA foam that sits a little higher than the bottom of the frame so “Student” can use this on his lap as well. There’s an overhang all the way around the top so we can use binder clips to attach papers. 

All that planning, sawing, gluing, nailing, sanding, spraying… I ended up with a product that I’m proud of. However, “Student” was unimpressed and tossed it to the floor. Not a total loss, because I enjoyed the process and gained experience. 

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Process

I was inspired to design and build a simple desktop book stand thingy for a student to use in place of a big three-ring binder. I thought I could bang it out today and bring it to work tomorrow. I’m not satisfied with the results. It came out shoddy and looks/feels makeshift, which it is. Project abandoned!

It was not all for naught. I had fun quickly designing something in SketchUp and I got to play around in the woodshop. I used scrap and spare hardware so it didn’t cost anything directly. Now I know my 20 minute design won’t work, so I learned something from the process. I’m going to research existing products and try again.

Even though the result is unusable, the process was rewarding. I practiced my skills. I got that “workshop zen” feeling where my mind quiets down for a while. I don’t get to show off a cool finished product tomorrow, but I don’t regret spending my Sunday afternoon in the shop.