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View Full Version : What cigar box to use and which side?



steel rider
11-26-2013, 04:11 PM
Just picked these up from a tobacco shop in Oakland. Torn on which to use and whether to use front or back.
Leaning towards using the front of the Punch. Would have to glue the top shut I guess but then the nice inside is hidden. If I use the back as the front the sound hole could reveal the inside design but then the front is not so attractive. Perhaps I can sand the words off and stain it so the front of the uke is plain?
I also like the hinged one. Same front/back issue. Not as colorful but the uke would open for easy piezo placement.
What do folks think?
612726127361274

Peterjens
11-26-2013, 04:35 PM
I have no experience with CBUs but I have experience with opinions.
Use front of box for front of 'uke.
Glue lid shut.
Soundhole doesn't have to be in the middle. You can have two soundholes.
See Duane's samples at http://www.blackbearukuleles.net/listing.html?categoryid=1

Good luck

Hikingstevo
11-26-2013, 05:09 PM
I made a cigar box ukulele from a papa's box kit. I used the back of a Punch box for the front of the uke. It's cool because you get a pretty picture through the sound hole. I put some polyurethane on the wood which gave it a nice luster. For the lid I bought a little clasp at Micheal's Hobby shop here in town. I put a piezo pick up in it too.
61277

steel rider
11-26-2013, 07:12 PM
Looks cool. So the clasp closes the box enough to stop any buzzing in acoustic mode I take it? Would love to see more pics if you would be so kind.

Thanks!


I made a cigar box ukulele from a papa's box kit. I used the back of a Punch box for the front of the uke. It's cool because you get a pretty picture through the sound hole. I put some polyurethane on the wood which gave it a nice luster. For the lid I bought a little clasp at Micheal's Hobby shop here in town. I put a piezo pick up in it too.
61277

Hikingstevo
11-28-2013, 05:16 PM
Looks cool. So the clasp closes the box enough to stop any buzzing in acoustic mode I take it? Would love to see more pics if you would be so kind.

Thanks!

Steel Rider, Thanks for the kind words,
The clasp is there to keep the back from flopping open although the top is pretty tight and probably wouldn't. I also made a cigar box amp to go with it. I got most of the parts for the amp from Guitar Fuel on line.

Here's some pictures:
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L'Ukes Lutherie
11-29-2013, 08:45 PM
All of those boxes could be serviceable, given the right combination of ....well... everything else. Pick a side to work from. Thin the soundboard 'til it sings (tap, sand, tap, sand, tap, sand. Repeat); brace it 'til it (barely) won't fly apart. Thin the bracing 'til you think it might fly apart, then thin the bracing a little more. Carve a neck that MIGHT bend, but doesn't; the attach the two with a joint that will never, ever move -but weighs nearly nothing. Lay your frets (more or less) to the nearest ten-thousandth of an inch. Devise a bridge precisely massive enough to best transmit the strings' vibrations to the about-to-explode soundboard, and locate it where it will provide perfect intonation. While you are at it, add purflings, bindings and inlays to every surface that might possibly be purrfled, bound or inlaid. (Oh, by the way, you will need several thousasnd dollars worth of tools, and a lifetime of intensive study before you ever begin to consider any of the above-mentioned undertaking.)

...Then you should listen to reason and realize that it would be a complete waste of time to expend even one hundredth of this afore-mentioned effort on anything less than a book-matched set of master-grade petrified koa, and only a great fool would ruin a perfectly book-matched set of master grade ...whatever... naively trying to build their very first anything! Better yet, just go play quietly in the corner while the grown-ups discuss important matters. After all, we are talking about ukuleles here. This is serious business. Best to just save your pennies, and buy a real instrument from a real, professional, builder. Maybe one day you might acquire the skills required to play upon it a tune worthy of its pedigree (but until that day, you would be wise to keep your plink-a-plinking to yourself.)!

...or just dive head-first down the rabbit hole and see where you land. That might be fun, too.

BlackBearUkes
11-30-2013, 09:33 AM
All of those boxes could be serviceable, given the right combination of ....well... everything else. Pick a side to work from. Thin the soundboard 'til it sings (tap, sand, tap, sand, tap, sand. Repeat); brace it 'til it (barely) won't fly apart. Thin the bracing 'til you think it might fly apart, then thin the bracing a little more. Carve a neck that MIGHT bend, but doesn't; the attach the two with a joint that will never, ever move -but weighs nearly nothing. Lay your frets (more or less) to the nearest ten-thousandth of an inch. Devise a bridge precisely massive enough to best transmit the strings' vibrations to the about-to-explode soundboard, and locate it where it will provide perfect intonation. While you are at it, add purflings, bindings and inlays to every surface that might possibly be purrfled, bound or inlaid. (Oh, by the way, you will need several thousasnd dollars worth of tools, and a lifetime of intensive study before you ever begin to consider any of the above-mentioned undertaking.)

...Then you should listen to reason and realize that it would be a complete waste of time to expend even one hundredth of this afore-mentioned effort on anything less than a book-matched set of master-grade petrified koa, and only a great fool would ruin a perfectly book-matched set of master grade ...whatever... naively trying to build their very first anything! Better yet, just go play quietly in the corner while the grown-ups discuss important matters. After all, we are talking about ukuleles here. This is serious business. Best to just save your pennies, and buy a real instrument from a real, professional, builder. Maybe one day you might acquire the skills required to play upon it a tune worthy of its pedigree (but until that day, you would be wise to keep your plink-a-plinking to yourself.)!

...or just dive head-first down the rabbit hole and see where you land. That might be fun, too.

Nothing wrong with being a luthier and building things to their best advantage. Cigar box ukes seem to fall into two catagories, ULO's (ukulele like objects) or well built, thought out, good sounding instruments. If you want the latter, then yes you do have to do a little homework. If you want to just screw things together and hope for the best.....that's OK too.

L'Ukes Lutherie
11-30-2013, 06:52 PM
I could not more strongly agree with your succinct sentiment, BlackBear (especially since it essentially echoes my own, and your work is beautifully executed, by the way). I only wanted to make the point once made much better by a master of the Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre (that) "we all only learn by the same honorable path of horrible mistakes."

To all others: please pardon my occasional irrepressible urge to invoke satire as a means of encouragement. Please believe me when I say that I know it ain't easy. Then again, nothing worth doing ever is... but that is no excuse not to try.

steel rider
11-30-2013, 07:47 PM
I could not more strongly agree with your succinct sentiment, BlackBear (especially since it essentially echoes my own, and your work is beautifully executed, by the way). I only wanted to make the point once made much better by a master of the Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre (that) "we all only learn by the same honorable path of horrible mistakes."

To all others: please pardon my occasional irrepressible urge to invoke satire as a means of encouragement. Please believe me when I say that I know it ain't easy. Then again, nothing worth doing ever is... but that is no excuse not to try.

Haha! Yes I got it. We are going for it. I'm already thinking about the next CBU where we build the neck and also buy a nice thin piece of mahogany sound board so my son can design something in SolidWorks for the laser cutter. That ought to be interesting and we will have learned from our mistakes. For now we are going relatively simple.

L'Ukes Lutherie
12-01-2013, 06:31 AM
Excellent. The very first one I did happened literally by accident. One of the "house-ukes" was left out, on the living room floor... my big feet... loud crack... plinking crunch... crushed uke body.

I saved the neck, and "made" a new body.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=61411&d=1385917566

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=61410&d=1385917562

The box-top was plywood, so I skinned off all but the top-most ply with a router. Presto! solid wood soundboard! But my bracing was too scant and improperly placed, so now it's shaped like a potato chip. Fearful of the intonation monster, I went with a floating tenor banjo bridge (bought for five bucks) and made a tailpiece from an old serving fork.

With a set of Nylguts on it sounds distinctly different, but about as good (at least to me) as the Makala did before I squashed it. Still gets played pretty regularly, too. Truthfully it is barely more th an a U.L.O. but that's where it all began. There's just something about the first one...