Introduction: Cigar Box Guitar Marking Tool

About: I like to tinker and make stuff. I am always working on something, however I don't always get the chance to sit and write out a How To. I always have ideas, just sometimes its hard to share. Hopefully I can ma…

This Instructable is not about making a Cigar Box Guitar, but merely a tool or Jig to help mark how much to cut away when making room for your CBG neck material.

5-17-16 UPDATED THE JIG - Go to steps 12-14 to see the improved Marking Jig.

This has helped me many times and would have eliminated many over cutting of boxes in the beginning if I had thought of it sooner. Its possible someone has made something simular, but I have not seen one listed.

So for those new to making Cigar Box Guitars or have been doing it a while, maybe this will help too. So I thought for a FIRST Instructable, I'd share it.

Materials you will need...

1. The cigar box you are going to be working on.
2. Scrap neck stock - Usually 1x2 hardwood common for a 3 string CBG.
3. Hot melt glue or Drill and 1 1"-1¼" screw
4. Bandsaw, Handsaw or Jigsaw

This will be pretty simple once you see it. I'll probably be making it too many steps, but better to have more info than not enough I always say.

Thanks for Looking....


P.S. Excuse the many steps listed, couldn't figure how to group images per step to minimize the amount of step published. ;-D

Step 1: Measuring.....maybe

When making a CBG you may have read from any one article or book to measure the width of your box and find the center. Then measure from the center mark, out 3/4" on each side of the center mark, thus giving you your 1X2 ( actually 3/4x1½") neck it's designated placement to place in the box.

I am not all that great with using a tape measure for a straight edge to draw my lines, sure you could use a regular ruler too. But this 
simple item will make it easier in the long run just after findong your centers on both side of the box.

Step 2:

On your scrap neck stock, measure from end out 1". And use a straight edge to mark across the piece.

Step 3:

Step 4:

Cut off your 1" piece either with handsaw, jigsaw, tablesaw or in my case a bandsaw. Whatever you are comfortable using to get the 
job done.

I highly suggest using caution with any power tools. Use safety glasses as needed when needed. No loose clothing and make sure workpiece is supported properly and ALL fingers are out of the you can continue to keep making these wonderful and fun guitars.  Use your tools at your own risk.

Step 5:

Remember that other small piece of scrap wood. Now Hot glue or carfeully screw these 2 pieces together as shown. This is now your completed tool. 

Looks odd I know, but It'll make sense.

When making a CBG, most you will see that a 1-2" of the neck, now being the tailstock is sticking out of the bottom of the box. Generally your neck, depending on your design per that build, will usually end up even or flush to the CBG top. The scrap on top just
makes sure to give you the proper depth for you cut out.

Step 6:

Take the new lil tool and line it up on the marks you made on the cigar box. These marks should match the same width as your scrap. If you plan on making a 4 string CBG, then if you use a wider neck stock then make one for that set up and mark you tool/jig so you'll have it handy for either project.

Trace around the neck stock and remove. You should be left with your outline for cutting. 

Step 7:

Move the tool aside and you will see of course you outline. When you carefully cut this out, it should give you a nice snug fit for the neck being used. And then adjust as needed by sanding the sides if you need more room.

Step 8:

Remove the marked area by Coping saw.............

Step 9:

Dremel with cut off wheel of your choice.........

Step 10:

or......Utility knife. Be carefully using this method. You might have to use slow scoring passing cuts.But can be done using this to remove you piece.

Step 11:

Now that your notches are cut out. You can go on to finish your supports, electronics, and accents.

Sorry for having it as so many steps, but being first time making and Instructable here, didn't know how to group more than
one image per step.


Step 12: 5-17-16 Updated the Marking Jig...

5-17-16 Update on this little jig. Its been awhile and I have been using this thing a lot and had always been trying to figure a way to make t better. Til the other week it dawned on me. I needed a way to see my marks better. And remembered I had some left over 1/4" Plexi from speaker box build I did a couple years ago.

Using the same piece of maple i use to trace around to give me that box outline of the end of the neck.

I replace the top piece of wood for the piece of Plexi. 1"w x 1¼"L.

Using a 1/8" bit and counter sink attachment, I drilled through the Plexi to create a countersunk seat for the screw head. No glue is need for this. But I assume one could just use CA or aka superglue instead of the screw. In this case I did not have any CA glue on hand.

Before I attached the Plexi, I decided to mark a 1/8" center line mark on top of the wood, continued down the face and also the bottom.

Step 13:

Whatever size box, whether it an actual Cigar box or a homemade box. Mark your center as you would normally do.

Now having the Plexi, you can clearly see the line to line up with the mark on the wood. Remember this piece of wood, maple for this example, is a basic 1"x2" from a lumber store. So typically actual size is 3/4"x1½". This

1½" is the perfect size for CBG necks. Using a fine pencil, in this case, I like using the mechanical pencil of .05 lead.

Step 14:

To finish this off. mark your boxes outlining the faux wood neck piece to create your cutting line. You can use an ink pen too or fin tip sharpie. I like using the mechanical pencil since it gets right next to the wood for the best possible tight fit for cutting.

Keep in mind with a basic ink pen, like a standard BIC style, there may be a little more width to your mark. I would suggest that when cutting out, to cut out inside the lines and adjust as needed after with sandpaper or file to adjust fit as needed to get a tight/snug fit.

Hope you like this update. And if you had already done this, I congratulate you for thinking ti sooner...hehe..

Now this jig will get used a lot more than I had already been using it. It'll make marking boxes so much faster and easier.

Thanks for Looking. And in the words of Shane Speal - King of the CBG's, "Stay Primal !!"