My DIY guitar pedal board odyssey

Being a total Busy Dad, the greatest mental barrier to playing my electric guitar was the time it would take to get all my pedals out, connect them together and power them up. Then put them all away again when the rockin’ arena must return to an office.

The solution – build a pedal board, so I can just plug in a couple of things and go! My budget didn’t extend to buying a Pedal Train or what have you, and I liked the idea of doing it myself and putting my non-existant wood working skills to the test. Here’s how I went:

These are my workings, sketching out a few designs and measurements, and a list of materials (some of which I’m yet to buy / aren’t needed).

This is pretty close to what I ended up with for the frame.

Planning out where everything will go. The pedals ended up on the board in reverse order to this, but this was important for making sure everything would fit. There’s a 2cm-ish gap between the slats, plenty for running power cords and connectors through.

This is a piece of rimu scavenged from my dad’s garage, with everything drawn out for cutting. He was an expert wood worker, so no pressure.

Cutting. The sides were done with a borrowed skill saw, I managed to blow the fuse in the garage the first time I used it. For the sides, I had to use a hand saw, that was probably fail #1. Stopping and starting and trying to stay on the line meant I ended up with some saw marks that still haven’t quite come out.

Glueing the supports for the slats. This is just 2cm square wood from Mitre 10, I ended up nailing these down too for strength. Check out that rusty saw! I am a complete amateur.

Glueing the frame – those are special woodworking vices, and in the hands of professionals they’re tremendous. In the hands of muppets, not so much – fail #2 is not making absolutely sure everything sat flat on the floor. I was able to fix it, but it could have been neater.

I used normal PVA wood glue, and ended up putting metal braces in the corners as well, just because I don’t trust myself and wanted to make sure it was solid as.

With the slats in place – they are 90mm radiata, which were cut to size, glued down, nailed down and sanded. Then I covered the whole thing in wood stain, twice.

The velcro – I opted for the fuzzy side on the board, and the hook side on the pedals.

The finished board. The chain is: KLD OD (808 Tube Screamer clone) – Big Muff Pi Sovtek Civil War (brought this in Sydney in the deepest darkest early 90s as a 21st present to myself) – Yamaha FL-10M Flanger – TC Electronic Flashback – Boss RC-2 Looper. That’s a Liverpool / Beatles mints tin to keep my picks in.

The Big Muff kind of messes things up with how MASSIVE it is, but it’s my fav, it’s not going anywhere. Because the ideal number of pedals is always N+1 (the number you have now plus one), there’s room for expansion. I reckon I can get another three standard size pedals on there easily if I bunch everything up, more if I go down the mini pedal path.

Underneath. Have tried to keep things halfway tidy. Note the metal bracing on the sides, and the glued-on match stick to make sure it all sits level on the ground (see fail #2)!

Things I may yet do include putting handles on there somewhere, and drilling a hole in the front for the power cord, but no hurry on those.

Shred time! I learned heaps, am stoked with how it turned out, and am playing more, now I can just plug it in in seconds and go.

Worryingly, I’m thinking of what else I can make. I can see how people start to obsess over power tools. I’d really like to attempt a rotating speaker. Might have to build up to that.

For nerds, I play an Ibanez Talman TC825 (love this!) and a Vox Cambridge Reverb 30 (love this too!). Honestly, it all gets played though headphones mostly, as most of my rockin’ takes place in the dead of night when the kids are asleep. Bet Jimmy Page never had this issue.

This guy’s photos of his build really helped. There are loads of articles, photos and videos out there, really recommend watching a whole lot and deciding which is closest to what you want to build / your DIY ability.

I got the Caline CP05 power supply from Ali Express. It does the job, is a little noisy but not too bad. It also has cool blue lights which light it all up from underneath like a boy racer car.

Velcro is expensive – this was $30 from Mitre 10 and I still have a little left over.

Stand by for action! We are about to launch Stingray!

A couple of years ago while messing around with the kids at the Hairy McLary park on Tauranga Waterfront, we saw a stingray lazily cruising along the rocks at low tide. He did several laps and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere.

Now we live here, and every time I park in Dive Crescent (it’s $3 a day, the kind of car park that invites uncharitable comparisons to Auckland), I walk along the same path looking for a ray.

This morning, I spotted another one. He / she was a lot more translucent than you can see in the video, with more blue. I was delighted.

2015 in mobile phone photos

Here’s a ramble through 2015 expressed in the ‘photos I took on my phone’ medium. I’ve actually tried to take the DSLR actually out of its bag more often this year in order to get slightly nicer, slightly more considered photos happening, but that’s, erm, a work in progress. Anyway. Onward.

See also: 2014 (at, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

See also:’s year in review.


Just some sweet garden gnomes I was kindly gifted.


In the middle of scoring 237 against in the CWC quarter final, Martin Guptill hit one on the roof of the packed Westpac Stadium. A few minutes later, this bloke went up there to get it.


And after everyone went home from THAT semi final at Eden Park, these guys went in the middle for a pretend game and selfies. They got in trouble.


Some goober at the MCG.


I’ve largely given up food photography but holy balls, when you’re basically served real-life Fred Flintsone ribs, you can’t not. Recommended.


So, I work at Fonterra now. I got to go to Fieldays and met a long-time hero. Background woman spectacularly unimpressed.


This is my reality now.


We got cats, Sweetpea and Fred. Once the former stopped chewing through every phone charger cable in the house, we got on fine.


Proud moment.


Some neighbour’s plant. In my dream compound / Led Zep-style country estate, I would like a whole garden of these.




Dorking out next to a sweet Falcon at The Mount.


Halloween decoration or Klansman? You be the judge. 


My attempt to make a baked pancake turned out kind of weird, but kind of compelling.


Kids cricket at East Coast Bays. Have to say, I loved being a cricket dad kind of more than being a football dad, it’s much more relaxing watching kids sport in tee shirt and shorts with a shit flat white in your hands.


Joseph Parker Stalkipedia. He was a cool guy and later casually jumped on the bar’s guitar and piano and kicked arse.


Ray Columbus hotel portrait. Unexpected and a little bit terrifying, if I’m honest.


This Mount Victoria fire was obviously worrying for all concerned, but looked pretty sweet from our office. 

2013 in mobile phone pictures

Third instalment of mobile phone photos of the year, here’s 2011 and 2012. Big year this year, with new job and a big work trip, and trying to fit everything in.

You can click all the pictures to make them bigger.

2013-01-09 10.05.54

I changed jobs in February…

Ibanez Talman

…and turned 40 in February also. Quite a month. I had a lovely party with friends and family all in attendance. This axe was my mid-life crisis acquisition – it’s been loads of fun.


The new job’s offices had a pretty different vibe to the last one, in fairness.

2013-05-16 23.15.27

I spent a lot of time this year watching cricket and tweeting about it, happy days.

2013-05-16 16.44.12

This is a traffic light that looks like a TIE fighter.

2013-05-11 15.47.09

Straight to the pool room.

2013-06-30 08.44.36

Wee fella.


Wee fella and wee girl. Family is going great.

2013-12-08 19.21.45


So this was dinner

I tried to lay off the bad food photography this year, but… you know.

Fire walk with me.


Most bad-ass birthday cake awardee here.

We got serious about lego this year.

Quick selfie

I got right on board the selfie boom.

2013-10-10 16.30.40

So I went to Bangladesh with the BLACKCAPS. This was Chittagong.

2013-10-14 07.30.05

I never get tired of posting this – signing a bat at Hotel Agrabad over breakfast.

2013-10-14 10.40.03

2013-10-21 14.32.35

I saw a number of cool modes of transport in Bangladesh.

2013-10-20 14.39.05

2013-10-20 14.41.24


2013-11-06 17.32.07

This was my last meal in Bangladesh. Bloody good it was too.

2013-11-18 18.27.58

Someone did some pretty sweet burnouts on our street.

2013-11-23 09.22.10

Colleague sorts out hipster DJ at Christmas party.

2013-11-23 17.40.05

Watching the Ashes while BBQing was a bit of a highlight. Merry 2014 all!

2012 in mobile phone photos

I enjoyed doing this post so much last year, I’m doing it again. 2012 was ‘a bit calmer than 2011, but a bit more exhausting’.

At Mount Maunganui, there's piles of timber people have dragged up from the water every couple hundred meters #rena

At New Year’s at the Mount, there was still Rena debris washing up.

70s era Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet as seen at Tauranga model railway club expo

Thanks to my four year old, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the wacky world of model railways.

There we have it, chips omelette

I did a lot of bad food photography – I’ve left most of it off this post, except for CHIPS OMELETTE! H/T The Kitchen Maid.

Lunch at Euro. Recommended.

Doh! #foodtweet

I baked a lot of bread this year.


I also started blogging as part of the Corporate Lunchbox team – it’s fair to say my contributions have been sporadic so far. These burgers are from Char Grill.


I did enjoy a lovely meal at Depot.

Just hangin' out reading the news and that cc @cateowen

The fantastic @cateowen let me sit in the 3 News chair. In fact, most of the cool shit I did this year is thanks to Cate. Ta 🙂


I got to be Jeremy Clarkson for a weekend.


And here is THE JUDGE!

#ladsweekend prep coming along nicely

Had yet another v. successful Lads Weekend, at ‘catching fish’ and ‘binge drinking’ levels.

Fish for tea #ladsweekend



Work-wise, I enjoyed myself thoroughly, even though it was another challenging year. Lot of issues, lot of change. I was even on the bloody telly at one point. I’m missing a lot of the folk in this picture.


The Telecom ONE unconference was another raging success, with bonus manly-disregard for safe trailer stacking practise.


My rugby team The Chiefs only went and bloody won the title. I was very happy.



Scenes from last night #aintnopartylikeahamiltonparty

The 40th birthday parties kicked right in.

Retrieved these from someone's paper recyling. Bit weirded out but mostly stoked.

Two childhood flashbacks – I fished these MAD magazine paperpacks from a paper recycling facility because HOW COULD YOU THROW THEM AWAY?!?!, and commandeered the family lego for my kids.

In other Lego news, a bad-ass spaceship.

I got on Instagram, and found it’s useful mainly for taking photos of ‘things’, or close up photos of objects. They could be it Def Leppard tapes or drawings of a man with a toilet for a hat. For proper photos, it’s still Flickr.

I met Hillary Barry. She was lovely and didn’t mind having her photo taken with Mr Arkward arm.

I had a STORMING year, tech-wise.

This photo is the remains of my beloved HTC ONE X – which I smashed, to be replaced (thanks to me bursting into tears in front of our FANTASTIC device team in a most un-manly fashion), with Samsung’s S3, which I also lurve. Both these phones are big, with bright, vivid screens and superb cameras. Fast. You name it. I rely on it / them a lot to get stuff done, whether it’s work, organising our chaotic weekends or just fecking about on the bus.

At home, I obtained an iPad 3 and the Apple TV for home. Will save the in-depth run down for a future post, but yeah, they’re all fantastic.


My wee chap and my wee girl (she’s a bit bigger now). Family is the whole point, team.

Top parenting tip: multiboxes and coaxial cable make great toys for ten month olds


Cheating on Flickr

Once, Flickr was THE photo site, with one of great early online communities, formed around a shared love of photography.

All the proper photographers I know are on Flickr. Me, I’ve got 1450 images and videos there. I get a free Pro account though my *cough* marvellous ISP – with this, I can upload all the photos I like at full resolution – making it my online backup for photos I want to keep safe forever more.

But – I’ve been messing with something I shouldn’t have been messing with. Instagram photos ran through my Twitter stream, with a 70s-hued-glow array of cats, sunsets and food (ref: @textinstagram). Without having actually used it, I’d always scorned Instagram’s hipster filters and iOS-only elitism. Bah. Humbug, etc.

Still, when the Android app was released, I signed up (ahem) out of curiosity. And saw what all the fuss was about – the mobile app is marvellous. A never ending stream of creativity from people you know, with basic but easy to use social features is a wonderful thing to have at your fingertips.

Photography-wise, I don’t like the filters – they seem a bit knowing, self-conscious or just plain hipster-ish to me. The ‘square frame’ limitation is a pain and explains why so many Instagram photos are close ups of whatever’s to hand. I’m getting my head around the fact Instagram is MOBILE ONLY – the web presence is spartan like an Australian’s capacity to understand jandal-situation-appropriateness, but everyone seems pretty comfortable with it.

Where I’m at now is this:

  • Flickr is my home for photos (and videos) of the kids, photos taken on my ‘proper’ cameras and photos I generally want to keep and back up online in one place. That includes non-Instagram pictures taken on my phone, ‘nicer ones’ I guess
  • Instagram is my home for everyday photos, ones I care less about (if you get me), but want to share on the internet. The mobile internet, anyway. It IS fun, for sure

I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into Flickr, am proud of my little collection and the story it tells about my little family (my kids’ photos are behind a security layer, sorry!). Where Instagram has turned my head is its tremendous mobile app and associated ease of sharing. When Flickr’s own mobile app, which is sadly lacking, catches up, it may be able to compete, if it can get all those hipsters to use the same photo service their Dad does.

Update – just found this today: How Yahoo killed Flickr