Hello,

I've recently acquired some wonderful cigar boxes from various places, and ukulele necks, machine heads, bridges etc from MGB.

What tools should I be looking at? I'm fairly light on the tools side and own a vice, drill, chisels etc.

I see builders on YouTube with fancy spiral saws, etc.

What should I be looking at? Not looking to invest a ton until I know this hobby is for me (I'm a lifelong passionate uke player, but this is my first time building. My plan is to build and donate to community groups etc).

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Tools is a pretty personal thing. Some folks like to have a shop full of the latest power tools (saws, sanders, routers, etc.) while others really enjoy taking a lot of time with a build and try to stay exclusively with manual tools. Both have their supporters.

One way to approach took needs is to carefully decide what you plan to do as far as building goes. Will you be be cutting scarf joints for neck? If so you will need a saw that can accurately accomplish this. It could be done with a hand saw (with the right jig setup) or with a table saw (with a fixture) or a band saw or even a jig saw.

Building a basic cigar box involved attaching a neck to the box and drilling various holes for tuners, string hangars, etc.

You indicated that you already have a drill setup. I'm guessing you have a saw of some time (powered or hand and various screwdrivers and wrenches. Before spending several paychecks at Harbor Freight, you might want to look a a number of the building plans available on this site or in one of the CBG build books. That should give you a pretty good idea with tools would be needed for a particular build.

The other approach is to lay out a CBG design and then begin building. You will quickly determine what tool you will need to accomplish any step. If you want a pickup and volume/tone control you will find an inexpensive soldering iron will be required.

What tools you need will become clear as you progress.

Stick to the basic tools you have at first, you’ll know what tools you’re missing when you’re building your first few? There’s no use of spending a bunch of money before you actually know what you’re doing, or if you want to keep doing it? when I build, it’s usually from scratch, my preference is to use hand tools, zen like. although I have power tools, it’s just not as fun to me? I can have a neck shaped & ready to go in less than an hour with a rasp & a few different grits of sandpaper? FYI a Shinto rasp is a very good investment for shaping necks? So is a Roundover bit of a rasp isn’t your cup of tea? Good luck on your future build :)

Forgot to mention, a fret saw, will be a go to in the toolbox of all builders, you can get one from cbgitty for $17.49, also a Crowning file for dressing frets? Larger size Forstner bits for soundholes?
Fret Saw:
https://www.cbgitty.com/tools-templates/fretting-tools-templates/hi...

File:

https://www.cbgitty.com/tools-templates/fretting-tools-templates/ec...

I use a Surform tool for rounding off the edges of the underside of the neck, and other things as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-21-399-6-Inch-Surform-Pocket/dp/B000...

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