Thought it might be good for newbies to post some info about our favorite tools for working on Chibsons. Those things that live inside your tool box that you would give up sex and snickers before tossing out. I'll start, but feel free to add. There are a lot of good tools out there.
Of course, there's the basics in terms of some decent screwdrivers, Allen keys and such. No need to list those.
Of the specialty tools that I find indispensable:
(1) A good fret rocker
This is what you use to find high frets. You span 3 frets, and if the middle fret is high the tool will slightly rock or be unstable. High frets may not always be the ones you think they are, and this will let you know for sure. If I'm leveling frets, then I use this to check them again after crowning, just to make sure everything is still level (and once again just before the final buff or polishing.) Cost: $10
(2) Diamond crowning file
Sure, there are less expensive tools for crowning frets. But as a wise man said, better to cry once when you buy a tool than every time you use it.
A diamond crowing file is used to round frets after they have been leveled. The advantages of a diamond file is that it makes very fine cuts without leaving tool marks. This makes the polishing process a lot quicker and easier. If there is just one slightly high fret, you can even use this to shave it down, rather than level all the frets. These come in 150 and 300 grit. The 300 grit is plenty fast, but won't remove material too quickly. That's great if you don't have a lot of experience dressing frets. Cost: $100
(3) Action Finder
I've already written about this great little tool. You use it to measure the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the fret. You can measure on the 1st fret to determine if the nut slots are the correct height, you can measure at the 12th fret to set the action height of the bridge, and you can use it to measure the neck relief by pressing the strings at the first and last fret and then measuring the gap at the 7th or 8th fret. Great little tool, accurate to within .001 inch. (Before you measure relief, make sure your frets are level. Uneven frets can throw off that measurement. I actually thought my friends guitar had decent relief, but when I went to level the frets I was shocked to find it actually had a bit of back bow.) Cost: $30
(4) A really good hot soldering iron
Lots of people make the mistake of getting an iron that won't heat to a high enough temperature. A really hot iron will let you flow solder quickly on a pot, reducing the amount of time it's subjected to heat. Better yet, think about investing in a soldering station with a variable heat iron. Don't scrimp here, and don't buy one of those soldering guns as they can cause issues with some electronic parts. Cost: varies
(5) Multi meter
If you are going to wire a guitar, you need to invest in one of these. And let's face it, none of us have ever purchased a Chibson that didn't need wiring. A multi meter can be used to test ground connections, measure the "k" of pickups so you can tell which is bridge and which is neck, measure the values of pots and lots of other helpful uses. And hey, you can even use it to tell which batteries are good and which are dead in your drawer. Having a multi meter can prevent a lot of headaches. Cost: $30 or so (lots of variety online)
(6) Nut files
These are small files of various width for cutting the slots in nuts or bridge saddles. Many times, the Chibson guitars will have a nut that isn't cut deep enough, or a nut that binds the string. These files have a rounded edge to create the perfect shape for the string to rest in. The right tool for the right job. They are available individually, or in a set. Cost: approx $120 a set
(7) Fret level system
There are a bunch of ways to do this, but basically it's either a very straight file or a straight beam of some sort that you can attach sticky back sandpaper to. You can buy proper tools for this, or you can search around on the net and find clever devices that you can find at Home Depot that work well and are relatively inexpensive. You'll want one of these if your frets on your Chibson are totally messed up, with lots of high and low spots causing buzz.
These are what I consider my essential tools for making a cheap guitar playable.
You can add to that list things like sandpaper of various grades, a hand drill with foam pad and car polish (for polishing frets), a piece of leather (for final fret buff), some bore oil (or some other similar oil) for oiling rosewood fretboards, a good accurate tuner for setting intonation - and you should have everything you need to work on your Chibson (unless it needs major structural repairs.)
What else do you guys have in your toolboxes?
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."