2022-09-11 Cigar Box Guitar

Neighbor had us over for a cookout on July 4th, and one of his hobbies was, for a while, building cigar box guitars. So he brought out his, and played around with it, and then said "so here, I have this stick of maple and these tuning machines and this cigar box. You should build one!"

I didn't wanna tell him that a stick of maple to my shop was kinda redundant, so I took his generosity, went home, and started to build...

    First stop, cut a bevel and take a piece of some exotic hardwood paneling that another friend had given me, and glue it pu for the pegboard.

  Cut a nut slot, which was completely inappropriately sized, I definitely should have figured out what I was going to use as my nut first, and cut the slot for that.

  The cigar box guitar neck goes through the sound box, but gets a recess cut for the top of the box, so I reinfored it so that I could cut material away.

    In the ad-hoc manner of this project, I first decided it needed a contrasting fretboard color, so I grabbed some scrap walnut. Then I decided it needed frets, but I wasn't gonna wait for fret wire to get delivered, so I looked around the shop and decided that if I pulled copper wire through holes it'd be mechanically attached. Turns out copper is really too soft for frets, and I'd have to do a lot of filing to get these anywhere near the right place, but it helps for finding the right place with a slide. The other inlays are just short pieces of brass rod.

I meant to take more construction pictures, and didn't. The sound hole reinforcements are cut from olive, recessed using concentric hole saws, the middle cut with a Forstner bit, the outsides were cut round on the scroll saw and sanded.

All of this resulted in a guitar that looks like this, and sounds like this (with apologies in advance, 'cause dang I cannot play).


Things I'd do differently next time:

  • I got the peg board cut reversed, somehow (laid out on the back side, because I wanted to cut with the front side down), so the tuning machines are on backwards. That's not good for longevity, but it's kinda a one-off.
  • The pickup location doesn't really have any relationship to the strings.
  • Need to get a real bone nut and cut thaqt in.
  • Similar concerns over the bridge.
  • I got the cigar box upside down when viewed by the audience. Sigh.
  • If I'm gonna do it fretted, get real fret wire.

And I still need to do some snazzy knobs for the tone and attentuation potentiometers.

Category: Woodworking Category: Dan Lyke life