View Full Version : Cigar Box Ukulele

05-23-2009, 05:22 PM
Inspired by Deach's cigar box ukulele project, I built one myself after I dropped my Rogue ukulele and pretty much destroyed the body. Check it out.....


05-23-2009, 06:26 PM
Nice cigarbox build. I'd like to try a project like that someday. :cool:

05-23-2009, 07:22 PM
Cool. Now put in a pickup and you're all set :shaka:

I think I need to buy a cheap uke to drop and make myself one too... :D

05-24-2009, 01:26 AM
Cool! Looks nice

05-24-2009, 01:38 AM

05-24-2009, 04:28 AM
Very nice! I recently got a cigar box uke from builder Tom Guy and I'm loving it. Enough to make me want more!

05-24-2009, 05:36 AM
Cool project! :cool:

Doesn't sound half bad either :)

I'm thinking of getting/building one of these as well. I've got some cheap ukes to waste but the fretboards are too much below standard to get a decent sound out of it.

05-24-2009, 06:25 AM
I'd like to build one, too. But, man, if my wife catches me smoking those cigars.... :eek:

"But, honey, I had to empty the box first!"

05-24-2009, 07:02 AM

I'd love to build a cigar-box uke, but finding a concert or tenor neck that's already done is pretty tough.

Anyone got a Kanile'a or something that I can dismantle? :cool:

05-24-2009, 08:39 AM
Excellent job man. The uke sounds great! Fyi though, those cigars are C.A.O., not C.A.D. They're good ones too :D

05-24-2009, 11:52 AM
I started out on one of those coloured Mahalo ukes. I'm thinking of "dropping" it to make a cigar box uke out of it. Seeing all the self-builds on here is so inspiring :)

Russ Sonny Kemner
05-25-2009, 10:51 AM
O.K. I'm not bragging, so don't take this the wrong way. I am a self taught luthier and admittedly I have a lot of learning to do.

That being said, I have built approximately 120 cigar box ukulele's over the past four years, and I find that the old boxes from the 1950's and older work the best. They are typically made of redwood (a natural tone wood) and are not plywood. Also the box bottom and box lid thickness is right for a ukulele, so there is normally not any planing required to get a sweet resonance. I recommend internal bracing along the sides, front and back however because the wood is susceptible to cracking. I use cedar for internal box support because it is light and also a natural insect repellent.

If you are thinking about building one, I recommend the following boxes. Windsor Palmas, Don Rey, 1886, J.E.y.Cia Corinas, or something like these.

Newer non-ply boxes that also work well: Cohiba, Acid, EPC, Torano, CAO, Hemmingway, and the small Onyx boxes. The newer boxes are usually thicker, therefore require some planing or coarse sanding to thin the soundboard out.

Some decent plywood boxes: Padron, Punch (wooden boxes not the cardboards), and Ashton.

Be wary of boxes like Macanudo,and Romeo Julieta's. They are not plywood, but the wood they are made of is soft and spongy and doesn't sound too great unless you add a pickup.