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>> Ukulele Hints >> Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
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Message started by Jeff B on Jul 20th, 2009 at 5:21am

Title: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Jeff B on Jul 20th, 2009 at 5:21am
I wanted a Go-Bar deck to help clamp the bracing on the tops and backs of my ukes and guitars being built. The usual suppliers of such accessories wanted a lot of money.

I went to Home Depot and found driveway markers that were 5/16" X 40" long fiberglass rods that had a rubber tip on one end and a point on the other. I bought 24 of them @ $1.97 each (Luthier suppliers wanted nearly $6 for basically the same thing) for a total of ~$47. I also bought 24 of the rubber tips, cut the rods to about 28" each and put the tips on the cut end. $6.

Also bought 4 threaded steel rods and nuts and lockwashers. This cost about $30 (the suppliers wanted $100). I used two 1" thick 2' X 2' birch plywood panels for the top and bottom decks. Cost $16.

My total expenditure was $99. To buy the same thing from a Luthier supply would have cost $240!! See pic of the "pro" Go-Bar deck attached. Mine is exactly the same except for:

1. I didn't use the pipe to enclose the threaded rods. This way, I can adjust the distance between the panels easily.
2. the rods on the pro deck ar 1/2" X 5/16". Mine are 5/16" round.

Hope you find this useful. I'll send some pics of mine as soon as I take some.

Jeff
http://jwbosworthguitars.com
Go-bar_Clamping_System_Detail.jpg (Attachment deleted | 62 )

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by konacat on Jul 20th, 2009 at 1:42pm
Jeff,

When I made my go-bar deck I left the threaded rod a bit longer so I could easily adjust from ukulele to guitars. Foam insulation for hot water pipes was placed over the top of the rods so as to not cause any damage to wood. I did not use the metal pipe over the rod but instead used heavy schedule white plastic water pipe. This really does help give support to the deck when the nuts are tightened. In fact, I have multiple sizes so I can support the deck at whatever height I need.

The photo looks a bit odd to me. It appears that the wood on the bottom has been doubled up and the top is single width of plywood. If you were going to double up one end then I would think it would be the top. The top is where the rod put pressure and can cause deflection. The result is that while you add more rods the top can deflect upwards and as it does some rods may become loose"Don't as how I know this" ::). The bottom piece is naturally supported from below and wouldn’t need and extra support like the top.

My go-bar deck is my primary workspace since I have very little room in my garage. Someday I may have a real work room or at least space so I can get anything done.

Good luck and keep us informed.

Philip


Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Jeff B on Jul 20th, 2009 at 2:04pm
The picture is not of my Go-Bar deck. It's the "pro" deck from Stew-Mac. I was just including it so people could see what I was talking about until I get pics of mine. The "doubled" piece you see on the bottom of the pic is actually a concave form for gluing up arched tops and backs. Stew-Mac sells these for quite a bit of $$.

Mine is entirely adjustable, the threaded rods are 36" long so there is a lot of room for that. The plates at top and bottom are a full 1" of birch ply. I seriously doubt the rods are going to bend them much - it would take all 24 of them to do it if at all.

Jeff

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by unkabob on Jul 20th, 2009 at 2:27pm
I'm still working the kinks out of my system. I used 3/8 threaded inserts in 3/4 particle board (melamine coated) and 3/8 threaded rod. I used the same materials for the top but drilled the threads out to give a metal bearing.

The rods that I am using now are 1/2" plastic water pipe (CPVC) with plate-nuts glued in one end (1/4-20) and flat headed carriage bolts to brace against the top.

My problem is that the bolts will loosen when the glue dries or is absorbed into the wood. I am thinking about rubber on the bolt heads. another choice would be the foam that they install under laminate flooring or leather.

When I get a permanent bench, I can install the threaded inserts in the bench and eliminate the lower board.

Bob


Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Jeff B on Jul 20th, 2009 at 4:32pm
Bob, rather than the PVC pipes. try the fiberglass driveway markers. They are incredibly tough, yet flexible enough to easily put sufficient pressure on the wood for gluing - actually, you don't need a whole lot of pressure. Like I said, they came with rubber tips on one end and I bought the tips for the other end quite cheaply. They just push on and stay on tightly.

The driveway markers were ~40" long so I cut them to 28". That gave me 24 additional rods each ~12" long. I'm thinking they might be useful as neck reinforcements. I'd just route a channel in the neck 5/16" wide by 5/16" deep and epoxy the rod in it. Then glue the fretboard over that and - poof - you have a reinforced neck. May be a lot of other uses for them, too.

I'm just pleased as punch that this $99 accessory looks and works every bit as nice as the $240 Stew-Mac version and has features that that one doesn't - like the adjustability. Plus, I made it myself. There's a unique pleasure in making one's own tools. It irks me that suppliers charge $6 for a rod that, for a totally different intended purpose (driveway marker) was less than $2. I realize we need suppliers like them, but they shouldn't overcharge us.

Jeff
http://jwbosworthguitars.com

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jul 21st, 2009 at 4:06am
Jeff:

The only detail you missed was the diameter of the threaded rod you used.

Don

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by unkabob on Jul 21st, 2009 at 6:31am
Jeff:
The bowed rods usually have a side force which tends to cause the glued piece to slide sideways (glue is a good lubricant).

Could you thread the rod ends and use threaded rod couplers to cause the force. The rubber tips sound interesting.

Bob

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Jeff B on Jul 21st, 2009 at 7:10am
The threaded support rods are 7/16" steel.

Yes, you could thread the tips of the  fiberglass rods, but really no need. The rubber tips work well. Slippage is corrected by having the rods at opposing angles to each other when flexed. Just takes a little practice...

A Go-Bar deck is the primary brace clamping tool for my friend Owen Holt at Road Toad Ukuleles as well as many other Luthiers. They wouldn't do without them...

Jeff

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Heidi on Jan 5th, 2010 at 3:58pm
Hello, I don't post much but I spent all summer building all my jigs. I just wanted to give you a fantastic idea for go bars. Go to:

http://www.intothewind.com/shop/Repair_and_Kitemaking/Fiberglass_Rods_for_kites/3-16_FG_Rod

And purchase kite rods. They are 4' long at $1.90 each which means that you get one for .95 cents. They have the rubber ends as well at .15 cents each. Just cut them in half. I purchased 25 rods as I built 2 decks one for me and one for a friend. They don't tell you but a bulk discount kicks in and it is $1.60 per rod.
I don't know how to insert an image or I would show you the deck I made.

Cheers
Hope that helps
Heidi Litke
www.thebeansprout.com



Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by unkabob on Jan 5th, 2010 at 4:21pm
Heidi:
That sure beats the wooden sticks and foam blocks or plastic waterpipe and bolts.
How much bend do you have in them and do the braces tend to slide?

Bob

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Heidi on Feb 15th, 2010 at 7:15pm
Huge bend. In fact I shortened mine an additional inch. Yes they slide, but it is all in the way you place the "bow" in the go bar. At one end you place it outward at the other end you place it the opposite direction(outward as well). That way the slide works toward each other and it stops. Then place the center go bars.

Cheers
Heidi


Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Drew Fowler on Apr 13th, 2010 at 6:30am

Jeff B wrote on Jul 20th, 2009 at 5:21am:
I went to Home Depot and found driveway markers that were 5/16" X 40" long fiberglass rods that had a rubber tip on one end and a point on the other. I bought 24 of them @ $1.97 each (Luthier suppliers wanted nearly $6 for basically the same thing) for a total of ~$47. I also bought 24 of the rubber tips, cut the rods to about 28" each and put the tips on the cut end. $6.


For cutting these fiberglass rods, what would be the best cutting tool?

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by unkabob on Apr 14th, 2010 at 6:20am
Drew:
I have not tried this but this is my best guess.

The end should be square to the shaft and a coarse saw could fray the fibers. An abrasive (steel cutting) chop-saw would probably work well. If you are working with hand tools, A tubing cutter would give you a square score around the shaft which you could follow with a fine blade hacksaw.
This is my best guess.

Bob

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Don_Orgeman on Apr 17th, 2010 at 10:00am
Hi All:

I was just brousing O'Brien Guitar's Luthier Tips du Jour and found a cool video showing the Luthier's Merchantile go-bar deck.  They have some cool ideas but I don't like the number of plastic parts used in their deck.  Maybe someone can come up with alternates or improvements that will work as well and can be gotten from a hardware store.

Enjoy the video.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmg3tgwQG4M


Don

Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jul 24th, 2010 at 1:01pm

I just finished building a Go-bar Deck.  Instead of using threaded rod and a pipe I decided to use 3/4 pipe and pipe flanges to attach the upper and lower boards.  My deck is 24" X 24" to allow for guitar making.  Here is a photo of my deck with a radius dish.






The middle shelf is courtesy of Kathy Matsushita.  It is supported on each corner by two pipe clamp ends and makes the shelf fully and easily adjustable.  I love this design.

If you are going to make one of these be aware that the pipe flanges will not all thread to exactly the same place on the pipe so assemble all of the uprights first and at least get the two front uprights to be the same length and the two rear uprights to be the same length so the deck will be stable.  This deck is very secure when done and isn't too heavy when the middle shelf is removed.

Don


Title: Re: Build your own Go-Bar Deck!
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jul 30th, 2010 at 3:29am
Several of the earlier postings talked about making go-bars from driveway markers or kite rods.  While these ideas work and save money, there is a decided advantage in the more expensive go-bars from Stewart MacDonald.  StewMac's bars are rectangular instead of round and therefore you know where the bend will occur and can place the rod so that any side thrust is along the centerline of a brace so the rod won't push the brace out of alignment.  This feature saves a lot of frustration when you've already got wet glue to contend with.





Don

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