Thursday, 15 September 2011

Making a cigar box guitar Part one

I thought I would do a detailed account of one of my builds. Let me first start by saying there is no right way or wrong way to make a cigar box guitar as long as you have a playable instrument at the end of it it really doesn't matter.
This will detail how I make this particular instrument. As I try to use recycled or reclaimed materials each individual instrument requires a different approach to creating it.
Firstly if you are looking at this with building your own in mind then I hope it will give you some ideas and helpful hints. secondly if you are thinking of buying one of my instruments this will show

Lets get started
Here we have a nice old cigar box and a very nice piece of beli

Although this Beli is lovely It's got a big bend in it and It's a little short for a full scale (25.5") neck so I'm going to have to do some work on it. I always wonder if people think because I use reclaimed and recycled and scrap wood that my instruments should be cheap but more often the case is I have to do a whole lot more work to make it usable.
It's quite a thick piece so there is plenty of room cut the edges off and make it straight.
The offcuts are also going to come in useful for fingerboards etc in the future.

So here we have the neck rough shaped. Using a Band saw

The cut out to the left of the picture is the part that will fit into the body. The cutout is to enable the top of the box resonate freely as it will only be attached to to the edges of the box.. The piece I cut out will be jointed into the cutout to the right of the picture to make the headstock so I can get my full 25.5"scale. I am going to fret this one If I wasn't then the scale isn't so important.

Attaching the headstock.

As I am going to fret this one and I also don't use a truss rod so for extra strength I am going to put a Bubinga fingerboard on it ( love how that trips of the tongue.)

Now making fingerboards is quite tricky. My band saw is only a good DIY one so a very slow approach is needed to cutting the initial board. Then it's trimmed to the correct width.

Attaching the Fingerboard to the neck.

For gluing I use evostick weatherproof wood glue I always score the surfaces to be glued with a sharp knife and found this to be an incredibly strong.

So when this has dried we can move on to the final shaping and fretting of the neck which will be in part two.

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