I had previously been using some fold-out metal guitar stands to hold my guitars. They did the job but they took up floor space and weren’t always in the safest place. They were also quite cheap and could damage the finish without careful handling. After some rough measuring, I settled on a generic size and wanted to make 3 wall mounted guitar hangers.
I made these in the last days of 2016, finally putting them on the wall on 4th January 2017. I’ve redecorated the room since and I’m glad to say the pink has left for good (except for the paint on the radiator…).
I had some rough sawn oak and sapele planks which were almost the same size and width. It didn’t take much to refine them but the oak had some nails in it and evidence of a past life. I suspect it was part of a pallet for some heavy equipment and I don’t recall where I got it from – most likely my grandad’s garage.
This was the first time I’d used the remote control on/off switch to control the dust extraction. I use them elsewhere in the house for lights and other plugs which are hard to reach (e.g. behind the sofa) and didn’t want to keep the vacuum cleaner running unnecessarily. It has a power socket on it but the saw draws more power than the socket is rated to (1400 W or thereabouts). Upon the first cuts, the quality of the wood was immediately obvious.
I ran them through the thicknesser and then planed them flat. The extent of the nail holes is plain to see (I had checked for nails using a magnet before putting it anywhere near the power tools!).
The nail holes add character but I am not going for that sort of look. I cut them out such that one hole would be lost to the recess which holds the guitar and the other would be hidden by the other wood. The longer sapele pieces will go against the wall and the oak the horizontal pieces butted up against them. I wanted to use screws only for this entire project so that I could remove them, adjust and repair as needed.
Over to the drill press and a hole saw (I think it was 55 mm or something like that). This removed one of the nail holes.
I kept the (almost) circular waste pieces and they were eventually used in a shovel handle restoration project.
The insides of these were too sharp, so I set the fence to cut them square with a view to rounding the edges over later.
The cross-grain patterns in this piece in particular are very striking. I rounded over all edges except the back ends on the router table. In hindsight I would have stopped the router short on the long edges so as to have a joint made up of 90 degrees only.
Some leftover walnut from my table was used to cut some wedges to support the oak cantilevers. I don’t think I used the best technique for this but at no point did I feel unsafe or not in control of the cut. I have since become the owner of a compound sliding mitre saw which would have sped much of this build and allowed me to clamp the pieces whilst I cut them all to the desired angle. I just eyeballed these pieces.
I kept the 3 spare wedges, “just in case”. I hate hoarding but I just know that as soon as I get rid of them, I will have need for them shortly afterwards.
A dry fit showing how it all comes together. Notice the test piece to the bottom of the image. It wasn’t until January 2018 that my planer/thicknesser and router table were raised to a sensible height (link pending) so there was a lot of working off the floor at this stage.
Seeing where I needed screws, I set up two stop blocks from the cut out pieces (I really liked the rounded stop blocks as it gives a guaranteed 90 degree and allows for sawdust to sit in the gullet equivalent. I used a drill bit with a countersink installed and set the depth stop such that I didn’t have to use such large screws. All holes, including those to wall-mount, were drilled now, except the pilot holes between two pieces.
I cleaned the backs off with the chisel plane and some sandpaper. I don’t know why I didn’t have a sacrificial backing board below the drill at this point (probably laziness and being in a rush to prepare for the New Year’s party).
Not having a workbench set up yet, I couldn’t use my vice. I improvised with a range of clamps, spacer blocks and the drill bench clamp.
I transferred the marks onto the wedges and pre-drilled these to receive the screws. It was tricky to get these held firmly until the screws took over, even with the array of clamps available. This was a source of much frustration and swearing and is something I would easily improve on and streamline if I was to repeat this project.
With the first one assembled, a final sanding was necessary to remove the router burn marks. I (still, in 2018) don’t have a belt sander which would have helped so it was just a lot of elbow grease and torn sandpaper.
One short cut to holding them together to install the screws through the back piece into the oak was to use the offcuts and a clamp. This worked reasonably well but still led to some awkward drilling angles to avoid clamp handles etc. I used one of the spare walnut wedges as a spacer to ensure continuity.
I thought about the aesthetics and which way up each piece should be. Since these would be mounted above head height, the underside was more important. Therefore the screws are installed from the top into the walnut wedges. Using the drill press again, I had to support the free end so as not to stress out the screws between the oak and sapele, which I had yet to fully tighten.
Even with the pilot holes drilled, the wedge wanted to wander off-centre. I trialled various clamping arrangements before settling on something like this to ensure the wedges were correctly located and well seated.
The feeling you get when you see how the oil transforms a project and completely kills any frustration you had was quite strong at this point! Again, I just used some food-safe mineral oil mainly because that was what was handy at the time and I didn’t want to use anything that could be sticky or affect the guitars.
I lined these up to a height I was happy with and then used 10 mm plasterboard plugs (expanding ones) to install them. They are spaced centrally between the wall (left) and door (right, off picture). I wasn’t bothered about finding any studs (though by chance I did, which was fine for the screws I was using) but I did check for cables given that a plug socket was directly below the rightmost one and a lightswitch was nearby.
Since then, I added some padding to the top of the wood as it could have damaged the guitars over time. I didn’t know what to use at first and then I found a leather tag on the ground by my car in a public car park one day. This was perfect when cut into strips and glued on top. The guitars now rest on leather. The openings are small enough to prevent them being knocked out by accident and you need to lift the guitars such that frets 1 and 2 (ish) are in line with the opening before rotating them slightly to take them out. I would say the oak pieces don’t have to be so long but I didn’t want to preclude using deep bodied (acoustic) guitars in any of them. Consequently the electric guitars are quite some distance from the wall. This distance is less for the acoustic but this means you don’t smack the back of the guitar against the wall when docking or undocking the instrument.
I’ve also redecorated, built a new desk (both links are pending) and got new straps for them. Unfortunately the Vintage SG was badly damaged during the house move and I’ve not taken it to be repaired yet as I prefer the Les Paul these days.