Damn, I love this group. And the greatest thing is when we solve common problems with everyday solutions. Mind you, there are better [read: more costly commercial] solutions out there but if you really want to make your instrument in the hand made fashion, try this...
So I've been racking my brain trying to figure out how to get side markers that were worth a darn. I've tried paint dots. Ok, not too bad. I've tried plastic rods. Better but too large. I've tried filling the holes with some sort of glue/paint/black substance. Too messy and sometimes bleeds. Eeeeek.
So I'm with my 9 yr old doing a project and I stumbled on this. Remember back when you were a kid? You would take a small piece of paper -- a gum wrapper or note pad piece -- and roll it up as tight as you can get it. Gum wrappers were great for that. Little tubes kinka like a lollipop stick. I was doing that with a small piece of construction paper as I was waiting for the girl to glue stuff down.
What I made was a ~1/16' rod
of paper. Blue paper, but a perfectly formed rod. What is paper but wood anyhow? Hmmmm what if I rolled this black piece up.
VOILA! I had the beginnings of a great idea. So I set into my shop with black construction paper (could be ANY color tho) and made some little rods of paper.
Here is how I did it:
1) Using a 2" strip of black construction paper, I started the process. To keep the paper from fraying as I did this, I coated it with clear spray.
2) I started rolling it as I did before. Try this in the technique like rolling a strip of dough or molding clay (you used to do that as a kid right?) I make it more consistently round and tighter moving my hands, or in the case below a piece of wood, over the rolled paper. Tighter and tighter it was forming. Getting it started is a pain but be patient. You'll get it.
3) Once I had the rod to about the thickness I wanted (~1/16"), I cut it off. This took I would say about 1/2" of paper. Not too much. I sprayed some clear coat onto a newspaper and rolled the rod into it. That should keep it from coming lose.
4) While still damp, I used the block to roll it into a tight shape just in case. You will see that there is some sawdust on the rod. That's I found is good as it keeps the rod from sticking to the wood or the table. Plus later it might provide some glue tooth.
5) Two rods complete. I did remove some of the sawdust.
6) I drilled holes into a test piece of fretboard and inserted the rod into the holes. Cut them flush.
7) Once in and cut flush, I put on a little CA glue just to seal the top and provide a good surface to sand on. Don't worry about overage. You'll sand that off AND it helps to seal any gaps!
8) All sanded down (120/220/400 grits) and clear coated. Cant even guess that its construction paper.
Perfectly round little marks. And you can make them in any size or color you want. You can even color them with a marker if you need!
So happy building Ya'll