Saturday, June 13, 2015


It takes a special kind of freak to save the $60 from buying one of these and dump a couple of dozen hours and some scrap metal into making one.  As someone once said about hobbies, at any reasonable rate of pay for your time to make one, you could probably buy a half dozen.  But where's the fun in that? 
My version was made from a piece of 1" square aluminum bar and an iGaging indicator, both of which I had sitting around.  How you use it is like this:
You measure the height of the top of the string, then press down on the string on both sides of the fret, to measure how far the string went down, .011" in this case (A string).  I could have zeroed that out better before taking the measurement, but you can see the principle.  For the tech weenies out there, that's a rather low action for an acoustic.  It's the factory setup on this Seagull guitar


  1. Today I needed a tubing adapter to put a garden water feature into operation. Hmmm, no adapter. I sacrificed a sharpie to get the plastic, and used the metal working lathe to make the adapter. Money saved, maybe two dollars. The joy of using machine tools to solve simple problems, priceless.

    Yes, I understand completely.

  2. To use the common phrase, John, you and I are brothers from another mother.

    You can't see it well but the plunger on the indicator is a little screw that I had three of in "pound of hardware" grab bag special I bought a year ago. It just happened to fit the iGaging shaft. Really oddball thread. I think it's 2-64 because that's the finest #2 I see in tables, but it could be 2-80. 2-56 for sure is too coarse. Only thing is, it ended in a large hex end that was too long, and had a hole across the flats, as if intended for safety wire.

    I just put it in the jaws of my Sherline metal lathe and cut off the end with a cutoff tool. That left about 10 mils too much, so I shaved that back. Now it's a perfect little plunger. I'd bet money nobody makes anything that was exactly like I wanted. The ability to make the exact right part when you need it - priceless, too.

  3. I bought a Stuart 3/4" bore 3/4" stroke horizontal engine kit about thirty years ago. No it is not yet completed because some things were a little beyond my skill level, and life had priority. I did finally get the crank turned after making a fixture.

    The cylinder head bolt ring is either 4-40 or 2-56 and each hole is blind. I got all that done without breaking a tap. Nowadays I need a really powerful magnifier to use the thread pitch gauge for 6-32, let alone the really small stuff.

    The ability to make something with my hands and skills is still very satisfying.