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Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:32 pm
by mlynch

I'm a woodworking novice, and I'd like some help thinking through a design I've got going for a guitar pedal board project. For anyone that doesn't know, a pedal board provides a guitarist with a way to organize effects pedals that modify the sound of an electric guitar. They are typically used on stage to minimize setup/tear down time and ensure a consistent layout of pedals. Numerous examples can be seen here.

I've attached a picture of a rough sketch I made in SketchUp for the sake of measurements. In my plan, you can see my pedal board will consist of a frame with a panel affixed in the middle. So here's where I'm asking for help. What are some options for joining the top panel to the frame? I'm interested in, perhaps, a decorative choice. I intend to join the back and front of the frame to the sides using a sliding dovetail joint. I intend to place a dovetail slot on both sides of the back and front frame boards, and then I plan to cut a dovetail into the ends of the side boards. I understand this is a common way to build drawers, and I think this frame is a fairly similar concept.

One idea I have is to hand cut (Lord help me) a single wide tail into the each of the side boards of the frame (see "Top idea.png" attachment). Then I could cut a wide pin into each side of the panel and simply lay it into the side boards. The sides are 3/4", and I'm doing all of this in oak. Does this make any sense? Is there any chance of this thing holding together? Should I reinforce the top panel from underneath?

I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. Please help! Any and all ideas are welcome!! Thank you!!

Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:38 pm
by mlynch
I learned that the name of the joint I'm considering for the pedal board top panel is a dovetailed lap joint. Doing some reading now on the strength of such a joint, but I'm still interested in this group's opinion. Any ideas?

Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:32 pm
by mlynch
I suppose I could also do through mortises into each side and tenons into the top panel. That might be the best structural choice, but perhaps a bit less decorative.


Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:05 am
by loyd
I'm not sure of the value of the single dovetail in the ends of the top board. My concern would be that the top board, being held in the center, would bow up at the corners. Three dovetails -- one small one at each extreme and a larger one in the middle -- would be a better choice in my thinking. But that would be a more work. The beauty of course is in the eye of the beholder but as a woodworker I'd like it better.

Someone with experience in the music end of this might be a better source of information.

Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:03 pm
by loyd
IMG_20170218_104724_172 (Copy).jpg

Thought it may be helpful to show a through dovetail joint -- albeit with more dovetails than you need -- so you'd get the idea of what I was describing.

Neglect the wear and tear. This is a tool box.

Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:12 pm
by mlynch
I'm a little disgusted with myself for how long it took to finish, but I finally got around to this project. Let me explain...

I'm still very much the beginner, so there were a number of challenges I had to overcome along the way. For this very simple project I had to learn to make a number of jigs, including several that didn't work out either because I struggled to make the jig well enough or because it was the wrong joint for the job: jigs for crosscuts, tapered cuts, rabbets/dados on a bad/cheap router table. I spent far too much money on everything from round over bits to chisels and a mallet to a dozuki saw. And oak. Lots of oak went to a scrap pile where it either got burned or had nails pounded into it or screws applied by my 4 and 6 year old boys.

I learned about different joint types and at least conceptually how to make them. I also attempted to learn to hand-cut dovetails for this project. That caused me to learn about laying out the joint, sawing straight, making cuts with chisels, and sharpening (which I still stink at).

Ultimately, I wound up using a dirt simple rabbet cut reinforced with screws, which I covered with plugs. The joints aren't great, and nothing looks as good as the stuff the others in the club make. But I'm kind of proud of it. It was one of the first projects I tried to make good out of something other than pure plywood/MDF or 2x4's. I can't wait for the next project! ;)

Thanks for your advice, even if I wasn't able to follow it in the end. I hope to master cutting those one day, but for now I'm so bad I can't even stomach showing my attempts!




Re: Guitar Pedal Board

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:16 am
by loyd
Looks very good to me Mike. Learning is what woodworking is all about so you followed a pretty well traveled path to get here. Looking forward to seeing it at S&T on Sept 17