Friday, March 30, 2018

How to make a 2 string musical instrument out of coconut and wood

I made this acoustic instrument using half a coconut and spruce. It is inspired by the Greek small bouzouki we call baglama in our country.

First of all I drilled through the eyes of the coconut and removed the liquid from it’s interior.

I then used a hand saw to cut the coconut in half. I used a cheap chisel to remove the the flesh of the coconut.

I then sanded the hair on my belt sander. To flatten the coconut hemisphere, I used a white marker to mark the lips. I then sanded the piece against a flat sanding block until the marks disappeared. 

I then rounded over the back of the neck with the spokeshave. I used the neck to mark the opening which I shaped using my rotary tool and a sanding drum.

I then shaped the neck to my likeness on my belt sander. 

I cut a thin spruce piece on the bandsaw. I used the bandsaw again to add parallel cuts. These cuts make the piece bendable. I glued it inside the coconut to increase the glueing surface for my instrument’s top.

I then used the bandsaw and my belt sander, to cut and shape the rest of the neck pieces.

I glued the neck with the headstock. I glued the neck on the body and added a screw and shims to get a good fit. I used a sharp chisel to finish the shaping. 

I cut the top on the bandsaw out of a thin spruce piece. I made the sound hole using a forstner bit. I glued a brace under the top. I shaped the brace with a sharp chisel. 

I glued the top on the body. I used the spokeshave, a chisel and a sanding block to make the top flush with the body. 

I then used the bandsaw, a sanding block and a chisel to shape the fretboard. 

I used an online fret calculator to locate the fret positions. The scale of my instrument is 46cm from nut to bridge. I marked the fret positions with a pencil and cut the slots on a miter box. I then glued the fretboard on the neck. I used two bamboo sticks as pins to prevent the fretboard from sliding around while glue up. Those pins also act as fret number locators. 

I used a hacksaw to cut the string holder out of a scrap metal piece. I shaped it with a file and drilled the holes needed on the drill press. 

I used a flush trim saw, to cut the fret pins flush. I sanded with a sanding block. 

I used the spokeshave to finish the shaping of the neck. 

Using wood filler I filled any imperfections on the wood.

I painted the wood that was showing through the sound hole, black. 

I cut the fret wire to size and forced it in place with a clamp. I added a drop of super glue in the side of every fret. I used a file and a sanding block to flush trim all the fret sides. 

I sanded everything with 100 and 220grit. I applied three coats of clear water based varnish. I sanded between coats and used my heat gun to speed up the drying process.

I then cut the nut and bridge on the bandsaw out of a piece of plexiglass. I shaped them with sandpaper.

I assembled all the parts of the instrument and started playing it.

I really like the way it came out!