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My IKEA Gorm Pedalboard Build Thread

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Armchair Bronco, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. 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.

  2. After making the cables, it was time to install some rubber feet. I looked high and low for some black rubber feet, but the only ones I could find that were rugged and tall enough were white (and they hung out over the edge a centimeter on each side). Oh well, function over form in this case.



    Then, it was time to attach a power strip. I used a combination of Velcro and some black plastic tie downs. These fit nicely through the holes on the end piece of wood. I used a 1 Spot 9-volt adapter for every pedal except for my Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man which requires a 24-volt adapter. To make that adapter fit, I had to drive out to Frys in Renton, WA and buy a $3.49 Power Strip Liberator. Finally, I attached the EXH adapter with Velcro and a tie down of its own.
    Then I spent some time carefully folding and wrapping all of the loose wires which I secured with some black electrical tape.




    Yay! I'm done. Here's a shot of my completed pedalboard in its new home -- just in front of the rosewood liquor cabinet that sits between my SG Classic and my rack of guitars and my cab and Tiny Terror. I also spared no expense on cabling and made new thicker cables for my guitars and for connecting the pedalboard to the amp. (I was amazed how much better they sounded compared to the Monster cables I was using previously.)


    And here's an action shot of me doing my thang with my right foot while playing my Fender Jaguar Classic Player Special HH in the foreground!
    This was a great project that took much longer than it needed to, and on which I spent more than I should have (although I still came in much lower than the $100 cost of a PedalTrain Jr. plus $170 for a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power +). I figure I spent under $70. But I also kept myself out of trouble for a few weeks.

    Next up: I'm planning to build a couple of clone pedals from "General Guitar Gadgets". I'll start things off with a ProCo RAT clone! I figure there's room for at least 3 new pedals on my board!

  3. skiscem

    skiscem Supporting Member

    Very Nice (Runs to IKEA).. :)

    Thanks for sharing
  4. Matt Wilson

    Matt Wilson

    Jul 12, 2005
    Cool little project nice!
  5. Here's the latest shot of this board with a new pedal. The FS-5U footswitch has been retired to make room for the vintage 1981 ProCo RAT pedal I just bought from someone at work.


    I think I've still got room for 2 more pedals. Next up will be some kind of DIY pedal clone: either another RAT or some kind of Orange Squeeze compressor clone.
  6. whoatherechunk


    Apr 4, 2008
    you might want to get the xo memory man....save more space!
  7. Naah, the DMM is a classic and it's staying.

    If I need more room, I'll just build another "Legendary IKEA Gorm Pedalboard"! My youngest son wants the next one to be neon green!
  8. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    damn I need a PB but I don't want to velcro my pedals =(
  9. Yeah, the velcro worked well for a low-budget build, but I've got some cool ideas for Version 2.0 of this board that doesn't use *any* velcro.

    Velcro works well with inexpensive pine, but for rosewood and walnut, I think something else is needed...

    (I need to keep this under wraps until the next prototype is ready.) :bag:

    The vintage ProCo RAT above isn't velcroed to the board. I just couldn't bring myself to put velcro on a pedal that's survived intact for 25 years, including the paper serial number stick on the bottom of the enclosure. I'm planning to build a wooden tray for this pedal that will hold it securely but do so without requiring me to put velcro on the pedal.
  10. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    Wow nice I hope you lets us see how you get away from the Velcro Curse!
  11. I've adapted a solution I read here to fit my velcro needs. In almost all pedals you can unscrew the base of the pedal. I've been removing the base, taking some packing tape and winding it around the base of the pedal 3 or 4 times sticky side up, then going over it again sticky side down. Once I screw the base back on I slap the velcro on the tape. It's a little looser than if you'd thrown the velcro on the pedal itself, but not a significant problem. Plus it works wonders for the DOD, Boss, and Digitech pedals that have the rubber base that the velcro just doesn't like to stick to.
  12. Nikoubis


    May 3, 2007
    Athens, Greece
    I've seen it linked on one or two Greek sites as well. Very nice job. :)
  13. My fame and the greatness of "The Legendary Orange IKEA Gorm Pedalboard" is spreading around the globe! :hyper:

    ...mustn't let it got to my head...must resist urge...resistance is futile...

    Anyway, I'm pleased with the response I've gotten from spray painting a few pieces of pine slabs with some bright orange paint and covering the thing with velcro -- but there you have it.

    Apparently a lot of musicians secretly like stuff that's orange and black.

  14. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    looks good, go beavers.
  15. Seriously, is this going to devolve into a Civil War thread????

    Go Ducks!!;)
  16. Go Broncos!
  17. Nice board. Might just have to do one meself. :)
  18. kevoh


    Mar 16, 2009
    Chicagoland area
    AH! i totally made a thread that linked your gorm board! right on dude! your board has inspired me to make one of my own. Well done :)
  19. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    I got the corner shelves for my upcoming project.

    Great ideas.
  20. What...are you planning to make some kind of wrap-around pedalboard? Hook up 2 corner pieces and then stand inside the "V"?


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