PROJECTS: CIGAR BOX GUITAR
1. MAKE THE NECK
Time: An Afternoon Complexity: Easy
To begin, we’ll cut the neck to length, make the headstock (the part where the tuning pegs go), and saw
off a rectangular slice so that the fretboard is flush with the cigar box lid. Making the neck and installing
the frets are the most time-consuming parts of the build. Once you’re finished preparing the neck, you’ll
be surprised by how fast the rest of the build goes!
1a. Using a wood saw, cut the oak or maple lumber to 36". You’ll
have to cut it a little shorter later on, but it’s good to start out
with more than enough.
1b. Saw off a rectangular slice from the lower end. This is the end
that goes into the cigar box. Measure the length and thickness of
the cigar box lid. I use the box itself as a guide, tracing along the
oak stick with a pencil. Mark these dimensions on the wood, then
use a saw to remove the part shaded red in the illustration.
Also make a pencil mark 2¼" from the end. This is where your
bridge will go later on.
1c. Mark the lines for the nut and headstock. Starting from the
pencil mark you just made for the bridge, make another mark
indicating the scale length (I decided on a scale length of 24½").
This second mark is where the nut will go. Make a third mark ½"
farther past the nut. Make a fourth and final pencil mark 3½"
beyond the third mark.
1d. Cut out the headstock. Your third and fourth pencil marks
indicate the beginning and the end of the headstock. Use your
saw to cut away the material shaded in red in the illustration
above. The headstock should be half as thick as the neck, or 2".
1e. Sand the fretboard. Now is a good time to sand the top surface of the neck so it’s dead flat. Use a
sanding block, starting with rough sandpaper and finishing with fine-grit sandpaper.
80 Make: Volume 21