DIY Pedalboard Build Pictorial

In an earlier post, I posted some images of the DIY pedalboard that I just finished. I’m going to go into more detail here, in case anyone would like to build their own. It was really easy, inexpensive, and a lot of fun.

Materials
5x Poplar “Hobby boards”, 2.5″ x 24″ x 1/2″ (Home Depot) [<$5]
1x Poplar board, 3/4″ x 1.5″ x 69″ (Home Depot) [<$5]
3x #8 – 1.25″ wood screws, 10 pack (Home Depot) [<$3]
6x 1.5″ wood screws (already had, any wood screws around that length will do)
Formby’s Tung Oil Finish (Lowe’s) [~$5 or so]
Elmer’s wood glue (already had)
1x Velcro, Industrial strength, 2″ x 15 yards (Amazon) [$22 or so]

Tools
Electric Drill
Philips screwdriver / screwdriver bit
Drill bits to pre-drill holes for both screw types
Countersink bit (could use bigger drill bit)
Hand saw / mitre box
Random orbital sander and paper (could sand by hand)
Rags

Assembly

First, here is the SketchUp file for the project. It includes all of the wood pieces, in the proper dimensions and in the proper locations. The drawing is accurate to my build.

Pedalboard Design – Final [ZIP of SketchUp file]

As you can imagine, assembly is quite easy. The first thing I did was to assemble the supports. I cut the 3/4″ x 1.5″ board into six pieces– 3x 17.5″, and 3x 5.5″. The smaller pieces sit on top of the larger pieces, flush on one end. Each support is held together with two wood screws that are hidden underneath the two slats that make the top shelf. The screws are sunk below the surface so they don’t interfere with the slats. I used wood glue between the two pieces. Not pretty, but I used what I had.

Support components

Pre-drilled poplar support components, ready to be screwed and glued.

You’ll notice that in the image above, I have already pre-drilled the holes for the screws that secure the slats to the supports. You will have to check the SketchUp drawing for the proper spacing and layout. The slats overhang the front and back edges of the supports by 1/4″, and the screws that secure the slats are 5/8″ from the edge of the slat. I can provide exact measurements if anyone needs them.

Supports - glued and screwed

2-piece poplar pedal board supports, glued and screwed together.

Once the supports were glued and screwed together, I got to work on the slats. They come pre-cut to 24″, so I only needed to drill and countersink holes. In fact, it was so easy that I do not have any pictures of them until the pictures of the finishing process. Needless to say, you have to drill and countersink six holes in each slat, making sure they line up with the pre-drilled holes in the supports.

From there, I sanded everything using a random orbital sander. I used 220-grit paper, and it was easy work. I then quickly sanded it by hand using 400-grit paper just to get it a bit smoother. Ready to apply the finish:

Pedal board components, ready for finishing

Pedal board components, ready for finishing.

This was my first time using a tung oil finish, which apparently contains very little actual tung oil, if any at all. It was really easy. All I did was wipe it on with an old sock, like waxing a car, until it was covered. Simple.

At first, I was drying them on some styrofoam with nails poked through it, like in this shot after the first coat:

Pedal board slats with tung oil finish, first application

Pedal board slats with tung oil finish, first application.

But I realized that I needed a better solution. I used a wire coat hanger, three plastic coat hangers, and a portable wardrobe rack to hang the pieces. Here is a shot of it after putting 3 coats on the supports, and 5 coats on the slats:

Pedal board components drying on rack

Pedal board components drying on rack.

One thing to note is that between coats, you are supposed to use steel wool to take the sheen off of the finish. I used a plastic steel wool replacement that I picked up at Home Depot. It is the equivalent of fine steel wool, and worked great. It only took about a half a minute of scrubbing per board, so it was a pretty quick process.

After I had put six coats on the slats and four coats on the supports, I assembled the pedalboard. Once assembled, I put on two more coats of finish. I screwed a hook into the bottom for hanging during the final dry:

Pedalboard, assembled, final finish coat

Pedalboard, assembled, final finish coat.

I let the pedal board hang for a day. The finish was drying nicely when I, for some reason, decided to re-read the Formby’s container. It said that drying could be sped up if you used artificial light. I did some quick research, and the finish apparently polymerizes quicker under artificial light. So, in preparation for the Velcro, I placed the board under fluorescent light for two days to cure:

Finished pedal board curing

Finished pedal board curing.

From there, all I had to do was wipe the slats down with some naptha (zippo fluid), and stick on some industrial strength Velcro. I used the actual Velcro brand. Usually my thriftiness would have me buying knock off hook and loop from 3,000 miles away, but I wanted guaranteed quality.

Here is the final result:

DIY Pedal Board - Angle 1

DIY Pedal Board – Angle 1

DIY Pedal Board - Front

DIY Pedal Board – Front

DIY Pedal Board - Side

DIY Pedal Board – Side

And there you have it, my DIY pedal board. I think it turned out pretty good. At under $40, I think it was a pretty good value. I plan on building a power supply to attach underneath the top level slats, attaching a handle, and calling it complete.

It was fun to build, and seems like it will be durable for years into the future.

3 thoughts on “DIY Pedalboard Build Pictorial

  1. Great project and was very similar to one I had drawn up. Thanks for including the SketchUp file, that was super helpful and gave me some good ideas! Any suggestions on modifications now that you have used it for some time? Would you have angled it? Was there enough room for the powerstrip, etc? Thanks again for your hard work putting this pictorial together.

  2. Hey Kevin,

    Just to put my opinions in context, I am a living room player. My board doesn’t leave the house, so if you are looking for a gigging perspective, take my comments with a grain of salt.

    That being said, there is one modification that I plan on making: a handle. Even though the wood is pretty light weight, this thing gets heavy when it is loaded up. I haven’t decided the best place to attach one. I could stick it on one of the supports, but I am concerned that it might be too much weight for one set of screws. I’m still thinking about it.

    I have been able to use the board just fine without it being angled, but I could see where it would be nice. For example, I have all my pedals with treadles in the front row. If they were in the middle row, it would be hard to work the treadle. The top row would probably be fine for access, but not for balance. With the treadle pedals in the front, I sometimes bump them when trying to hit other pedals in the middle. I think that is a problem with just about every flat pedal board, and an angle might help it. I bet some rotating, locking stilts in the back would be an easy and useful modification.

    I did make a power supply. It is just a simple filtered regulator in a (very small) enclosure. I would imagine that you could fasten a larger, commercial power supply to the bottom without much trouble. A power strip might not work out if you mounted it on the bottom, since the adapters would be upside down and likely fall out. Here is my power supply: http://www.justonemorebuild.com/project-power-conditioner/

    I also made input and output buffers, and permanently mounted them to the side rails.

    Input buffer: http://www.justonemorebuild.com/project-input-buffer/
    Output buffer: http://www.justonemorebuild.com/project-output-buffer/

    Thanks for commenting. :)

    Mike

  3. This is a really awesome project, especially for the price. You had mentioned in assembly steps that you could provide exact measurements for the pre-drilled holes and I was wondering if you could post them. I know they’re in the SketchUp file but I’m using my phone for this so I don’t have access to the program without shelling out $10. Thanks!

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