For those who are buried in empty cigar boxes and lacking in ukuleles, this is for you. Cigar box instruments date back to the 1800’s, ultimate box joint jig plans pdf cigars began to be packaged in smaller units in handy wooden boxes. The great depression caused an increase in the popularity of handmade instruments as an affordable option. There are a lot of wonderful resources online, including plans from a 1920’s magazine and some mail order kit instructions.
The best resource I found was Steven Miller’s step by step guide. This instructable is really based on Steven Miller’s guide with added details and measurements for guidance. A cigar box can become virtually any stringed instrument – guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos. If you have a choice, find one of solid wood. I found a cedar box with a plywood base.
Wood for the neck and bridge – for a concert sized ukulele I needed a 14 x 2 x 2. 5 inch block for the neck and head. The bridge will be about 2. I used walnut, but any hardwood will do. Wood for the lid supports: the cigar box will vibrate with the strings.
The inside of the box must be braced with a wood light enough to allow the box to be springy but strong enough to keep it from warping. Steve Miller suggests spruce, but I used pine since I had some lying around. Wood for the inside supports: These will go around the edges of the box for added strength and for a place to anchor the neck. I used some left over walnut. Wood for the fretboard: I chose red oak.