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Knockdown Guitar Stand



My son is learning to play the bass guitar. For his birthday, I promised to make him a guitar stand. We wanted something nice, so that the guitar could be out on display in his room, instead of hidden away in the guitar case.

After looking around online I came across They sell a very interesting guitar stand, with lovely flowing lines. Even more importantly, their stand comes apart. I was very interested in making a knock-down stand, so that it would be easier for him to move or transport.

My design is based on one of their designs. It is not a direct copy -- for one thing I have no idea what the dimensions are of their product. But it is influenced by them.

I started in sketchup, with the dimensions of our guitar, and worked on putting together something that looked pleasing to our eye. I started with a square shape, and then started drawing curves on it and pushing them out to form a stand. The illustration here shows several of those progressively-more-detailed efforts.

Once I had a design, I printed it out actual size, and cut and taped all the pieces together on my worktable. It was enormous! I think it worked out to about 55" tall (or more). When we held up the guitar to the stand it was clearly way out of proportion.

Good thing I started with Sketchup + Paper! I went back to the computer and re-did the design to make it shorter. This was more work than it sounds, as by shrinking the height so much I had to redo the curves. You can't just compress the whole thing vertically.

As an aside... I am an experienced woodworker. I know how to make a lot of different things. But this is all curves. And the guitar is all curves. And they have to fit together, look nice, and NOT FALL OVER. That is why I was first working in sketchup and on paper. Also, I was planning to first build a full size prototype out of pine or plywood or something other cheap scrap that I had laying around.

I fully expected to mess up like this (with the paper) at least once. And I want all the problems worked out before I went ahead and built the final project out of nice hardwood.

I cut the upright out of pine -- leftover from the x-wing birdhouse project

Prototype complete.

A LOT of work took place to get to this point. I am very glad that I worked first with a prototype. Let me explain...

It took me three tries to get the notch position and angle right for the connection to the base. With the first one, I neglected to allow for the depth of the notch, and the feet of the angled base did not touch the floor. Then I fixed that, but the stand was completely unstable. I still don't quite get it. To my eye, the weight of the guitar was centered over the base, but it would just tip over at the slightest touch. I almost gave up.

Finally with the third notch (the bottom one), everything worked. The base fit in snugly, the feet all contacted the floor, and the guitar stand was rock solid and stable. No tipping!

I also had trouble up top. Even with the scaled-down project it was still too tall. I cut a second notch about five or six inches lower to hold the guitar

I also had trouble with how the head/neck of the guitar was held by the guitar stand, which I will explain a little further down.

With the prototype complete, I moved on to the final product. I picked up a nice piece of cherry for this project. (My stash was empty!) Here I am laying out the upright on the cherry trying to find the best layout. I am looking for the best looking grain, but also trying to find fairly straight grain that I can arrange to more or less follow the shape of the upright. I also did the same with the base. The base is quite wide, so I needed two pieces of cherry to glue together.

As with the upright/back, I laid out the base so that the grain would follow the angle of the base. I also decided to fit in a piece of hard maple in the middle. This gives a nice visual contrast and I think makes the piece look more interesting. I used dowels to reinforce the joint. In part, I have a jig and really like it. But also, on the cherry the joint is at an angle across the grain and I just feel safer having a reinforced joint in those cases.

There was a LOT of sanding and shaping on this project. I had not tries to make the shape of the prototype perfect. Instead I just cut well outside the lines on the final piece and worked on making those curves fair and pleasing. The two notches needed a lot of care. I wanted nice snug joints, so I was careful to cut them undersized and then use sandpaper and files to get up to the correct size. (the file worked far better than sandpaper, by the way.)

The head on our bass guitar was asymmetric, so I had to get creative with the spindle sander to carve notches in the top of my stand. Otherwise the guitar would turn and twist when placed in the stand. With the asymmetric notches, the guitar would hang properly, fully supported on both sides of it's head.

After a minor accident the top of my stand snapped in two along the grain. The same thing had happened on the prototype, so I realized that this was a week point. After gluing the top back together I then drill two quarter-inch holes through the top and glued in two pieces of dowel to add a reinforcement to the piece. And since I was doing that I used a contrasting wood dowel to make it decorative as well.

I finished the piece with lacquer and then added leather to the top. This should add padding to the spot where the guitar hangs, and hopefully reduce the chance of the guitar getting marked from friction.

Here I am illustrating how to put the guitar stand together. There are just three pieces, and they fit together with notches. There are no clamps or latches or other fasteners. I just holds together thanks to friction, tight tolerances, and gravity.

Following are a series of photos of the finished project.



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See Also:

Shaker-style Stepstool

Theo's Castle

Tangram and Gift Box

Headphone Holders

X-Wing Birdhouse