Can't reach way down in there? Try the
Long Probes
© Frank Ford, 4/26/98; Photos by FF, 1997

The simplest tools are best. You can't repeat that too often!

Here are some variations on a simple theme. Just use a bent rod to reach where you can't get you hand inside to do the job.

I have a bunch of steel rods mounted in plain chisel handles. I like 1/4" drill rod best. It's very strong and pretty inexpensive. I just epoxy the end into a handle and I have a tool I can shape for immediate use to poke or push or whatever. To shape the rod, I just jam the end into a hole in my bench and bend it:

Here I have four of my stiff rod tools in handles, and a more flexible one with a piece of palette knife soldered on the end. I can bend them for all kinds of uses like leveling a crack way down near the end block of a guitar body.

The second from the top is one onto which I've welded a stiff scraper blade. I can bend it around and use it to scrape areas inside a guitar top or back that would be otherwise inaccessible to me.

This is why I like the stiffness of the 1/4" drill rod:

I can reach way back inside the guitar and pry downward against one of the back braces to exert strong upward pressure to level or spread open cracks. You can see in this cutaway guitar (pun intended) that I'm easily able to reach the end block. I use these tools a lot for crack repair.

One of my rods is 1/8" diameter drill rod, making it very easy to shape. I have the end sharpened like a chisel so I can stab a reinforcement cleat, coat it with glue and place it way down in there. . .

If you haven't tried these things, make up a couple and just leave them lying around. You'll find a use for 'em before long!

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