Friday, August 24, 2012


I've gotten away from creating guitars from cigar boxes the past couple months, but I haven't abandoned that side of my hobby, just got a little distracted.

After 'Bigfoot', I had the urge to do something a little different, but still in the carving realm.  So, here is 'Curley' the latest effort.  Let me know what you think.

It started out as a chunk of bass wood 1.75" x 14" x 22" (again supplied by Art Richey at Carousel Works).

I drew the outline of the body I intended to create, and transferred it to the wood block.  Once that was done, I was on my way.  All the openings and cavities were accomplished with Forstner bits, then roughed out with a small hand saw, rasps, and files.  Final work was done by hand with carving tools, small files, sandpaper, and a lot of elbow grease.

The scratch plate is a piece of really cool looking maple sheeting cut to accentuate the design, while covering the electronics cavity and abutting the through-body bridge and bridge pickup.  Pickup surrounds were made from pieces of scrap Spanish cedar.  Very thin walnut veneer was glued to the tops of the pickups to help them blend into the overall look, I think it looks better than a couple black objects in the middle of the design.  You'll note the shape of the surrounds are angular, while the overall body design is softer and more flowing -- which was by design.  I wanted the contrast in shapes to bring the overall design to life.

I selected a really straight and nice Harmony neck from my inventory, modified the headstock to eliminate the sharpness of the original, and laminated a small piece of walnut veneer on it to carry on the body designs on front and back, tying it all together.

To bring the wood to life, I chose a base stain of golden oak, then washed the non-recessed areas with diluted walnut, and highlighted that with red mahogany to create a little depth in the finish.  Then came six coats of poly, each sanded with 500 sandpaper.

I chose to use neck screws with bushings instead of a large chrome plate to attach the neck to the body so as to not distract from the flame-like carving on the back.  For the same reason, I chose to use small string bushings opposite the bridge.

After 27 hours, not continuous of course, 'Curley' came to life, and she sure does play nice.


  1. Jess, I'm totally impressed as you seem to be expanding your talent and your designs. This is a totally beautiful guitar! The grain and color of the wood is fantastic. Possum

  2. Thanks Paul. I'm pleased that you appreciate the stuff I do. It's a great hobby for me.