I ran into someone tonight where my 3 kids take karate lessons, and he said: "Hey are you the guy who started the IKEA Gorm pedalboard thread? I recognized your alias. Someone posted a link to it on TalkBass!"
Since I've also been a member on this site for a while, I figured I might as well start a similar thread over here. After all, bass players also have pedals and a Do-It-Yourself spirit. Bass players are people, too!
So, here's my IKEA Gorm pedalboard build thread...
Well, after several weeks of hard work, I've finally finished my first pedalboard and I thought it was time to start a build thread to show what I've been up to in my spare time. I decided to base my first DIY pedalboard on the well-known IKEA GORM design (who comes up with these names?). So I headed out to the local IKEA in Renton, WA and paid $4.00 for a GORM shelf and another $4.00 for two side boards. The dimensions of this thing are just slightly larger than a PedalTrain Jr.
Here's the initial layout I had in mind. I used some paper cutouts for pedals I hadn't bought yet.
A friend of mine at work used his table saw to cut the side boards to size.
I marked the location for some screw holes so I could use the original iron bolts to hold this thing together.
I decided to go with a bright orange Rustoleum spray paint finish for this pedalboard to match it up with my Orange Tiny Terror and my orange-Tolex covered Avatar 1x12 cab. It's an acquired taste, but I like it. I pre-sprayed the areas where the iron bolts would go (along with 4 thick washers) so I could install these pieces when I glued everything together, and then mask off the black bolts when it was time to start painting.
On one of the rare sunny weekend days in Seattle, I sprayed the top and back of the board before the rain came. The semi-circular cutouts you see are for the pancake-shaped 1/4" connectors I decided to use for cabling. I made three cutouts, with the one at the top extra deep because of the narrower gap at the top of the board.
You can see the masked-off bolts in this photo.
Here's my first test fitting after applying the paint. It’s starting to look pretty good…AND ORANGE!
Then it started raining and I couldn’t finish painting the underside for nearly a week. This left me with a lot of time on my hands. After playing with the pedals on the board, it looked like the bottom board was flexing a little so I decided to add a stabilizing board to the center of the pedalboard. Here I'm attaching the fitted stabilizer to the underside of the board with some Gorilla glue and some giant bolts and a jar of jelly for some weight.
Adding this stabilizer introduced a major design flaw (Design Flaw #1) into my board. Can you see what the problem is? If not, you'll find out later.
Finally! The sun peaked out long enough one morning for me to quickly spray paint the underside. I needed a 30 minute window, and Mother Nature gave me 35 minutes before the rain started up again.
Later that night, I decided to get started putting Velcro on all my pedals. Here I am applying the plasticky/hook side to the bottom of my pedals. But then...I started thinking: "Hummm, should I be using the hook side or the soft/fuzzy side for the pedals?"
I started a thread on HCEF and was told that the hook side is the conventional side. But then some folks said that with the soft side, I'd be able to take my pedals off and use them on tables or floors without scratching things up. Also, all my BOSS pedals had really bumpy bottoms and the soft Velcro side seemed like it would fit better.
So, reluctantly I ripped off all the hook side Velcro from my pedals (Design Flaw #2) and started over.
After that, I put the hook side Velcro on to the board. Even though this is the unconventional way to do it, I was happy that I changed my mind. Cutting the Velcro was really easy on my rubber cutting board using a metal ruler marked off with both inches and centimeters (I tried to make this a ‘Metric Build’). I bought a box of 100 single-edge razor blades and I made sure to use new blades frequently.
After that, it was time for another test fitting. Now my pedals can defy gravity if I turn the board upside down.
So: back to Design Flaw #1. Remember those cutouts I made early on? I did this because of the pancake style connectors I decided to use. Here are some close-ups of me showing how to insert a connector through the cutouts.
The flaw was that with the stabilizing board running down the center of the board, I wouldn't be able to get my speaker cables over to the right side of the board! Doohh! What an idiot! So, I had to cut out some squares from the Velcro on the right side, break out my Dremel tool again, and make new cutouts. Then I had to do some touch up repainting and cut out 3 Velcro patches. This set me back a day.
Next it was time to break out the soldering iron and start making cables. I practiced using a scrap piece of 12" cabling; after 45 minutes I figured out the right way to solder the cabling to the thin connectors. I also had to use my hand drill to slightly enlarge the hole for the center cable. Each cable was cut to minimal length and the connectors were attached with the cables making a natural twist relative to the pedals they would be attached to.