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Trade Secrets! Issue 98 October 15, 2009
3 tips for cutting finely detailed custom inlays
Dan Erlewine's cutting a curvy script letter "L" out of pearl. It's a spidery-thin shape, so he uses some tricks to cut it cleanly without breaking. He also talks about his favorite headgear...
Trade Secrets! Issue 195 July 18, 2013
A kitchen cutting board makes a great binding jig!
Dan Erlewine modifies a plastic cutting board from Walmart to solve a guitar binding problem. He needs four matching pieces of black-white-black binding, and he shows a clever trick for doing this. From the free Trade Secrets newsletter at stewmac.com
Product Instructions I-1691
Banjo 5th Peg Drill Jig Instructions
How to locate and drill a 5th peg mounting hole for banjo.
Product Instructions I-5046
Bridge fitting for archtops
How to fit, sand, and install bridges on archtop guitars and mandolins.
Trade Secrets! Issue 218 June 05, 2014
Chopping the ends off bridge pins
If you're not careful, installing new strings can create a problem that throws you out of tune or damages your bridge pin holes. Elliot John-Conry of EJC Guitars shows us an easy fix.

Online video available
Trade Secrets! Issue 238 March 12, 2015
Custom walnut bindings for an 1800s German guitar
You’ve got to see this German guitar from the 1830s! Dan removed the back to repair it, and now he needs to duplicate the wood binding that’s nearly 200 years old. He shows how he started from a plank of walnut to create custom-sized wood binding strips.
Trade Secrets! Issue 231 December 04, 2014
Custom-fit styrofoam clamping caul
How to clamp a guitar bridge without crushing the braces inside: Dan Erlewine uses a chunk of insulation from the home improvement center. In this short video, Dan shares a trick for custom-shaping the foam to fit any guitar.
Product Instructions I-4733
Go-bar Clamping Deck
Assembly instructions for the Go-bar Clamping Deck.
Trade Secrets! Issue 44 September 20, 2007
Go-bar decks: fast, flexible gluing
This week, Dan Erlewine asks Todd Sams to show how a go-bar deck in his home shop turned two hours of work into twenty minutes!
Product Instructions I-1709
Guitar Screw Rescue Kit Instructions
How to use the Guitar Screw Rescue Kit to remove small damaged screws.
Product Instructions I-2070
Guitar Tuner Drill Jig Instructions
Tuner installation instructions using the Guitar Tuner Drill Jig.
Trade Secrets! Issue 206 December 19, 2013
Helpful repair magnet gizmo, and 1970s Earthwood Bass!
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! These repair magnets snapped together with a CLACK!, drawing blood from Dan Erlewine's finger just as he was about to show his gizmo for avoiding pinched fingers and separating stacked magnets! Also, Dan explains a radical bracing change on an original Earthwood acoustic bass guitar.
Trade Secrets! Issue 216 May 08, 2014
Homemade bushing puller to protect the peghead
Dan Erlewine needs to pull the tuner grommets/bushings from the peghead of this old Gibson. The lacquer is already damaged, and pulling the bushings can yank finish off too. Dan rigs a jig that holds the finish down while the bushing comes up.
Trade Secrets! Issue 222 July 31, 2014
Homemade dust collector
Dan Erlewine's homemade dust collection system: Dan used to go outdoors to trim binding, because without dust collection the job got really messy. That’s all changed now: Dan's homemade dust collection system is a simple plastic storage bucket turned into a downdraft routing table!
Product Instructions I-5008
Mandolin Tuner Drill Jig Instructions
Tuner installation instructions using the Mandolin Tuner Drill Jig.
Product Instructions I-5380
Neck Jig Bracket for Angle Vise: Installation Instructions
Adapt your Angle Vise to securely mount the Neck Jig
Trade Secrets! Issue 187 March 28, 2013
No-cost tools for shaping Martin guitar bridges
Two do-it-yourself tools that I've been using for years to shape the bridges on Martins: I show you how to make one in a jiffy, and there's a free downloadable plan for the other one! -- Dan Erlewine
Product Instructions I-4407
Purfling/Soundhole Router Guide Instructions
Set up instructions for the Purfling/Soundhole Router Guide.
Trade Secrets! Issue 189 April 25, 2013
Rotten old vintage plastic: fabricating replacement parts from pickguard materia
After nearly 60 years, old celluloid parts start to crumble. The pickup risers on a '55 Gretsch are rotting away, and Dan Erlewine builds new replacements from a sheet of tortoiseshell pickguard plastic.
Product Instructions I-4043
Saddle Routing Jig Instructions
The Saddle Routing Jig lets you slot a new bridge with a traditional single saddle or 2-piece compensated saddle, fill and move an existing saddle slot, widen a saddle slot for a compensated saddle, or flatten the bottom of the slot for a saddle transducer pickup.
Product Instructions I-6085
Self-adhesive Sanding Disc
Instructions for using a Self-adhesive Sanding Disc with a Concave Radius Dish.
Trade Secrets! Issue 203 November 07, 2013
Sharpening scrapers for guitar work: two simple jigs
Link Van Cleave is a sharp guy! He taught tool sharpening at the 2013 Northwoods Seminar. That was a class on professional techniques, but Link also gave us this foolproof Trade Secret for making your favorite scraper super-sharp.
Product Instructions I-3898
Slotted Peghead Drill Jig
How to use the Slotted Peghead Drill Jig to install classical and steel string tuners.
Product Instructions I-6270
StewMac Crack Repair Tool Instructions
Repair cracks in tops and sides of an acoustic guitar.
Trade Secrets! Issue 179 December 06, 2012
Table saw shooting board for fret slots and flexible cauls
A make-it-yourself solution for fast accurate 90 degree cuts on your table saw. Also a cool tip on making bendy, flexible cauls that follow the shapes on a guitar.
Product Instructions I-5993
TrueChannel Routing Jig
Assembly instructions for our TrueChannel Routing Jig.
Product Instructions I-4857
Tuner Pin Drill Jig Instructions
How to install tuners with set pins (as opposed to screws) with the Tuner Pin Drill Jig.
Product Instructions I-4858
Waverly Tuner Drill Jig Instructions
For Waverly Guitar Machines