March 4, 2009

I think i'll build another one...

I am so pleased with my first cigarbox ukulele that i must make another one. I've already accumalated some of the basic materials to make it. The Cigarbox i'm going to use has a cool story. There's a really nifty music store (my favorite) in Rotterdam called "Japies Akkordeon Paleis". Japie is a cigar smoker so i scored one of his old boxes. It'll surely be a very musical box!

The tuners were given to me by Mr. Walters, a violin builder here in town. He had a huge crate full of old ones and was nice enough to let me have a few for my project.

And the beautiful piece of wood? I have no idea where it came from. It was leaning against the wall in my studio. It's gorgeous, looks like mahogany.

I still need a bridge, a string guard and frets. I really want to make my frets from wood. I love the way that looks. I'm wondering if bamboo can be stained dark? Or maybe there is something else i could use? (These are the things that keep me awake at night)


Willem Kossen said...


I once cut my own bridge from wood for a Mandoline I restored (or actually still am restoring...)

Frets in Folklore Chinese instruments are often wire wound around the neck. You could carve a nudge to make sure the wire is at the right position. Some sort of wire as used in webbings could be good (as it's touch so doesn't damage quickly).

String guards can be made out of anything. I suggest you visit a couple of second hand shops to see if there's a material that's nicelooking and can be abused.

I hope you like my ideas... I never made a uke yet, but I restored several instruments and love to do so (if only I had more time...) I have to regular ukes though...

Let me know what you think...

Shelley Rickey said...

Hi Willem,
I adore all ideas...thank you!
Yes, i've thought about the wire around the neck. I like that too. I don't know, i just have this thing about wooden frets. But, if i don't use wood, i'll probably go for the wire. Have you ever seen a Chinese Pipa? I've only seen them in pictures. They look incredible. They have wooden frets.

The string guard will definately pop up at a flea market or second hand store somewhere.

Thanks for brainstorming with me Willem...i appreciate it!

Mark said...

I have some wood. I'll send you some. Its various exotic hardwoods. Some of them came from Santa Cruz Guitar Company's shop. Someone should get some use from it. :)
Will the return address on Mister D's box get it there?

Shelley Rickey said...

Hi Mark,
Oh that would be fantastic! Yes the resturn address on Mr. D would get it there. I could eventually reimburse you for the postal charges.

R. said...

If I had any hardcore crafting ability, I'd totally be making my own cigarbox uke too! But for now, I'll just have to admire your one(s) and keep struming my sweet store-bought Flea...

Btw, thanks for Following me. Like so many others I found you through Boing Boing, and I really like your blog :)