Fellow CBG Builders -

There's a nice high end "cigar bar" near me that always has a good selection of high quality cigar boxes for sale. I recently picked up two beautiful lacquered boxes from them. I'm wondering if anyone has a good suggestion on how to make a cut for a neck slot on them? I haven't worked with a lacquered surface yet... Any suggestions on getting a clean cut would be most appreciated! 

Thanks in advance,


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Hello -

Thanks for the quick reply - much appreciated! I took this image from the net, but these are the same boxes. They have thick, solid wood walls. I plan to make pure electrics with them, and will likely add an interior block of wood to create a true solid body. I plan to route in a neck pocket, and that's where my concern about cutting into the lacquer comes from. I was considering making a template, and then using my dremel.  Should I "protect" the edges with blue tape first? Do you think that would work out OK? Once again - thanks!


Tape the area you want to cut then use a pull saw or coping saw to cut smaller than your neck size.  It helps to cut at an angle so the neck will see a sharp point on the box.  Use a file to open the cut to the proper size.  Do not rasp this box.  Although it appears to be cedar on some surfaces, this is just a veneer over MDF.  I believe this box is best as an electric guitar, not acoustic due to the very thick lid.  I have made a couple of these so far and used Thinbuckers from Humidor Guitars for pickups.  This way you don't have to cut the lid at all.  The finish on the lid is very chippy.  Check pictures on my profile page or on Instagram @badfingerguitar.

Thanks - excellent info.  You build great looking instruments!

Eric is right about the tape. I used one of those yellow lacquer MC boxes for a cbg...and suggest taping the area to be cut so the marks/lines to cut are in the middle of the tape. Before putting any drill bit, chisel, or saw to the task, use a very sharp Exacto knife, and a solid metal straight edge to score your cut lines first...go slow, and be sure to cut through the layer of lacquer. Then continue removing the unwanted material/neck slot/ect. as needed. This will ensure that the lacquer does not chip.

But if, for some act of fate's bad sense of humor, you do chip an edge a little, a little dab of black nail polish will touch it up nicely.

Thanks very much!  Will  You guys have all been most helpful! http://www.GoodWorksInstruments.com


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