Introduction: Scrap Wood Guitar Body Blank

How to build a guitar body out of scrap wood. In this case Cherry. Follow these steps and you will have a beautiful, unique, environmentally sensible, guitar body blank for your next guitar build.

Materials:

Scrap wood (in this case Cherry)

Glue (in this case Titebond II)

Tools:

Table Saw

Measuring Instruments (tape measure, caliper)

Clamps

Scraping Device

Sanding/Smoothing Device(s)

Step 1: Build a Bed (or Something)

Build a bed or other piece of furniture for yourself, a friend, or a customer. In this case it was a bed for a customer who was also a friend.

Step 2: Collect the Left Over Scraps

Collect the left over scrap pieces, particularly those that have an odd size or shape that might not function well for other projects.... or that are particularly nice and would look good as a guitar body.

Step 3: Rip Those Pieces on a Table Saw

Cut the pieces so that at least one of the dimensions is as thick as you want your guitar body to be. I cut them to just over 1-3/4" (the typical width of a strat style guitar body) - you can make them thicker or thinner, as you please.

Step 4: Test Fit Your Pieces

Make sure you have enough width and length to create the body style you want. This body is about 16" wide and 20" on the longest side. Plenty of room for many standard American guitar bodies.

Note: If there are gaps between your boards, you will want to run them through a jointer or true them up with a hand plane. There is plenty of instructional information on how to do this, but you can ask me how, if you want more info. You want the pieces to fit tightly together when you glue them, otherwise you will have cracks and gaps in your finished body. This is less of an issue if you plan to paint it, but you might as well make it the best you can to begin with.

Step 5: Glue Up

Apply glue to your pieces, spread the glue (with your finger, a putty knife, a brush, a scrap of wood, etc), then clamp the pieces together. As you clamp the pieces, a small amount of glue should ooze from the joints. you will need to make sure that the pieces stay fairly flat and line up well, otherwise you will have to do more sanding and will loose some of your thickness. Leave the clamps on for the time length recommended on the glue bottle (or longer... over night is always good).

Step 6: Clean Up and Sand

Remove the clamps. Scrape off as much of the squeeze-out (excess glue). Sand. You can use belt sanders, hand sander, planes, scrapers, etc... to smooth out the surfaces of the body. I borrowed a friends drum sander. Just a few passes and I had a smooth, flat, body blank. My final width after sanding is 1-3/4".

Enjoy your finished project and start working on making your dream guitar!

Comments

author
tomatoskins (author)2015-04-21

Is there any advantage of gluing strips of wood together to make a body rather than a solid piece of wood?

author
maker music (author)tomatoskins2015-04-21

tomatoskins,

The advantage for me was that I had several small pieces of wood to use up. There is a lot of discussion about the advantage of guitars made of a single piece of wood or many - mostly related to how the instrument will sound. From a practical standpoint, based on availability and cost of large pieces of wood, many, if not most, guitar bodies are made up of at least 2 pieces of wood glued together in one way or another (to achieve the desired width or thickness).

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Bio: I am an artist, musician and furniture maker. I'm interested in making music. I'm interested in making things that make music. I'm ... More »
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