Cigar Box Guitar Kit – Part Five

…continued from Part Four

Episode Five of the Cigar Box Guitar build actually took place over two weekends, and three days of work (around 15 hours in total).  I put these three days of work together because they have covered a small number of steps which were quite time-consuming, not to say painstaking, and so the video only shows a very tiny proportion of the time.  There was a lot of careful planning of the positioning of the various things that were cut, drilled or routed in this episode to make sure that we didn’t make any mistakes, and then jobs like cutting out the holes for the inlays were very time-consuming.

The first step in this episode was shaping the headstock and drilling the holes for the machine heads.  The headstock shape was designed with care to ensure that the tuners will all fit in appropriate places for the strings, and that the knobs will be able to be turned.  This will be clearer later on when they will be installed.  The shaped headstock looks like this:


Next we looked at the inlays on the tail of the guitar.  The neck goes through the body (i.e. the cigar box) and comes out the other side in a tail piece where the ball ends of the strings will be attached.  My son bought six old coins with holes in them, which will be inlaid into the top and bottom of the tail to act as guides for the strings to go through.  This means that the strings will not be biting into the wood of the neck, since they will be held by the metal of the coins.  That might create a potential breaking point for the strings, but we’ll see how that works in practice.

In the next picture you can see one of the coins in position, and the Proxxon multitool being used to rout out the holes for the other coins on the top of the tail.


Then we started on the inlays for the fretboard.  My son had bought a couple of old, broken pocket watches which he took apart to extract the cogs, and he wanted to use these for the fret markers.  These cogs are very small and delicate, and cutting out the holes to inlay them is an extremely painstaking task.  He did the first two in this video, and then took the neck home with him to carry on working on the other holes before he comes round to my house again.  In total, he will have 10 cogs to inlay on the fretboard.

Here is the neck with the first two cogs in position – they aren’t glued in yet, but they fit quite tightly into the holes.


We are gradually getting closer to the end, although this build has already taken much longer than I expected.  That’s partly due to our inexperience, partly because it just is a longer process than we anticipated, and partly because of decisions to do things like these inlays.  It’s not a problem, though, as it’s an interesting project and we have high hopes that the end result will be very good!

Here is the video for this episode of the build, showing all of the steps involved.

Continued in Episode Six!