Share your best DIY cheapskate tips n' tricks

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by Shaytan, Mar 27, 2020 at 12:16 AM.

  1. Shaytan

    Shaytan Squier-Nut

    Age:
    22
    739
    Apr 10, 2018
    Lisbon, Portugal
    As someone who can consider to be quite penny-wise, I always appreciate great tips to make better use of your cash and, given the current Coronavirus pandemic where many might as well be stuck at home without much chance to go out buying parts and gear, or get an income, I think it's a great opportunity to share your own tips to perhaps sort some of our guitar maintaining or building needs with readily available parts and materials and, most importantly, save some cash which might be much better spent in other necessities ATM.

    Starting with my own, polishing frets with steel wool has the major downside of having its fine metal shavings attracted by the pickup magnets, slowly damaging them overtime. Some known techniques to minimize this are to hold a strong magnet in between the steel wool and to tape off the pickups, but these only minimize the issue. Some companies sell fret polishing erasers and cloths, which can be quite pricey. The cheap alternative? 5000 grit sandpaper. Any hardware store should have then and it costed me 50 cents a sheet, which you can then cut small squares big enough to polish the frets of your guitar. All these polishing kits are equivalent in abrasiveness to it, and I've been using it with great results.

    As I've been experiencing, toothpicks are your best friend when plugging screw holes. Break them in half, dab the tip in wood glue, work the glue into the hole you're plugging, snip the exceeding off with wire pliers. On a cheap guitar I've been repairing, two of the neck heel screw holes got the threads shot and couldn't be screwed tight - toothpicks certainly wouldn't do for this, so I've tried it on a larger scale. Had an old and cheap painting brush with a thin wooden handle that appeared to be maple due to its flaming; cut two plugs in its ticker area and assured they fit very snuggly. Sanded the varnish off, poured glue into the holes and gently tapped them in. Cut off the excess and drill new pilot holes. Perfect free repair (the brush remained mostly usable, as half of its handle was still intact).

    The best, cleanest way to dampen trem springs is by stuffing strips of foam inside of them. Cut strips of packing foam just slightly larger than the springs themselves and, using a ball pen charge as a prying tool, fold the top edge over the charge so that you can use it to push the foam into the spring. You may even keep the back plate off it won't be visible.

    Need to polish rust off your guitar's hardware? The abrasive blue side of those old school erasers has the perfect grit to do that without leaving marks.

    Parafin wax you can get at your local pharmacy (or by rubbing sheers of candle's wax onto it) is a great lubricant for open tuners, it won't damage the finish of the instrument if it drips onto it like oil does, and is recommended by some local luthiers.

    Mixing wood glue with fine sawdust creates a wood filler that is also as sticky as the unmixed glue, but reinforced. Perfect to glue wooden parts with slight gaps in between.

    All I can remember (all tested by myself) at the moment, feel free to share your own knowledge and experience!
     
    mb doug, BlueTele, gmt124 and 2 others like this.
  2. Rat cam 68

    Rat cam 68 Squier-Meister

    Age:
    54
    454
    Mar 12, 2018
    Mooresville,In
    If you have any 2 Teles or Strats switch necks maybe a rosewood and a maple.
     
    mb doug likes this.
  3. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    38
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Some GREAT ideas here, @Shaytan...

    I have to say that my biggest "trick" as of late, has been the sheets of synthetic steel wool... It has been a HUGE help... Especially when it comes to clear coating... I always used to feel like I was walking a tight rope between "is it flat and even enough?" and sanding through... But I've done two TruOil necks, and a headstock using the gray synthetic steel wool sheets and I've gotten a LOT better results...

    Oh, and one more tip; It's not exactly free, but...

    I recently got a bright 24" under cabinet light off Amazon for like, 22 bucks, and MAN... I just can't emphasize what a BIG difference it makes to be able to actually SEE everything you're doin... Especially when you're finishing clear coat!
     
    mb doug and BlueTele like this.
  4. Zipslack

    Zipslack Squier Talker

    Age:
    50
    46
    Jan 7, 2018
    Brookhaven, MS, USA
    Skip steel wool altogether and get one of those 4-sided fingernail buffers from the dollar store.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    guitarmikey and mb doug like this.
  6. Shaytan

    Shaytan Squier-Nut

    Age:
    22
    739
    Apr 10, 2018
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Ah, I knew of that thread and have written a couple of posts in, but this one was intended more as sort of Macgyver kind of ingenuity, stuff you can do with cheap and readily available tools and materials.
     
    mb doug likes this.
  7. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Squier-Nut

    Age:
    60
    969
    Jan 19, 2018
    GA USA
    On toothpicks, I prefer to use wooden dowels from a craft store in a variety of sizes and shapes. Toothpicks can work but I prefer dowels given they're usually more consistent in size and quality.

    On the sandpaper, I like using 3000+ grit for many things. However, grits above 2000 can be difficult to find in the US at home improvement stores. But, you can get them in the automotive section of most WalMarts, most automotive supply stores as well as online on Amazon.

    Wax is also good for lubricating screws, especially the small ones for pickguards and tuners. This helps avoid breaking the heads off the screws when going into maple and other hardwoods.
     
    mb doug likes this.
  8. lonestay

    lonestay New Member

    Age:
    57
    2
    Nov 8, 2019
    Bath
    Hi newish guitar player with a squier Affinity been playing since about October 2019 , this isnt really a DIY i just thought of this moment ,but with the uk on a bit of a lockdown with only essential shops open ,i had been tinkering with the idea of getting a proffesional set up, well by the time i had decided the shops were closed . So after looking at some youtube and some posts on here and getting some basic tools together i decided to try and lower the action and intonate my guitar myself ! Well i have to say i managed to do it ! So my DIY tip i taught myself was dont be scared to try . A great tip by a poster on here was to use a 10 cent coin to set string height of the top of the fret ,and it was a fantastic tip it has given me the action i didnt know i needed !
     
    Rat cam 68 and mb doug like this.
  9. IronSchef

    IronSchef Dr. Squier

    Age:
    57
    Jun 18, 2012
    Flew here on my Dragonfly
    my favorite is the "Fret Sprout Tamer and Fretboard Edge Rolling Muti-tool"...


    [​IMG]
     
    Rat cam 68, DrBeGood and mb doug like this.
  10. IronSchef

    IronSchef Dr. Squier

    Age:
    57
    Jun 18, 2012
    Flew here on my Dragonfly
    and this one has been posted here many times before - but it shows how to adjust relief without any fancy expensive gauges

     
    DrBeGood and mb doug like this.
  11. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    Matchsticks and bamboo skewers are also handy for plugging holes.
     
    Rat cam 68 and mb doug like this.
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