Friday, July 5, 2019

How to make a simple DIY box guitar

Tools and materials I propose:

This is the simplest string instrument I have ever made. I made it mostly out of reclaimed pallet wood.

I begun by cutting and planing my pallet wood to size. You can use pre planed clean lumber from your local wood supplier. 

I then used my miter box and a handsaw to cut the sides of my box. I cleaned any burrs using a sanding block.

I then glued and nailed the four sides of my box. 

I glued and nailed a thin MDF melamine piece in the back of my box. You can find pieces like this one on old drawers. I took mine from the back of an old bookcase. I then flush trimmed the piece with a saw. 

I filled any imperfections of the wood, using saw dust and super glue. 

The top of my instrument is a thin spruce panel. I had one in stock but you can use thin plywood or the thin sides of vegetable crates.

I found the center of the top and used a hole saw to open up the sound hole. 

I then glued a brace and a thin piece to support the bridge. Once the glue was dry, I shaped the brace with a chisel.

I made a small block on which the fretboard would be placed. To glue it in place I added two nails and cut their heads off. The nails kept the block from sliding around while glue up.

I then secured the block in place with two screws. I glued the block in such a way, so that when the top was placed it was flush with the block. 

I glued the top in place. Again I added two nails to prevent the piece from sliding around while glue up. I removed them later on.

Using an exact knife I trimmed the top flush. I finished the job with a block plane.

To make sure the top pieces where dead flat, I sanded against a sanding block which I made out of plexiglass. 

I finished sanding with my random orbit sander.

It was now time to start working on my fretboard. I gave it some round overs to make it look a bit nicer. 

I removed some material from the headstock so that the tuning pegs and the nut would stay nicely in place. First I did a series of cross cuts and then I removed the material with a chisel and sandpaper. 

The scale of my instrument is 43cm from nut to bridge. I went on an online fret calculator to find the fret positions. 

I then marked the fret positions with a pencil. I created a small groove over each fret using a saw. I then widened up the slots using a V shaped file. This provided enough glueing surface.

At this point I glued some bamboo sticks in place as fret position indicators. 

My guitar uses nylon classical guitar’s strings. So I used bamboo sticks as frets. I glued them in the slots I created earlier. I then trimmed the frets flush and leveled them with a sanding block to avoid string buzzing. 

I removed some parts from the tuning pegs so I could mark the locations of their holes. I then drilled the tuning peg holes. 

At this point I glued and screwed the fretboard in place. 

Out of a scrap piece of iroko I created a string holder. I glued and screwed it in place.

Again out of iroko I created a bridge and a nut. I shaped them with a block plane. I created the string slots with a V shaped file. 

Finally I installed the tuning pegs and glued the nut in place. 

I used a rotary tool with a sanding bit to open up the sound hole. This increases the volume of the instrument a little. I also added a string guide on the headstock.

Finally my little box guitar was ready.

It came out great. I think most people can make it using a few basic tools.

It does’t sound bad! I think it can play the blues really well.

Anyway, I hope you liked it because that was it, see you soon with a new project video.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, that at no cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

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