I have consolidated all of the information that was originally available here (along with much more) into a complete book.  You can download it at the following link for free.

http://joshuagayou.com/downloads/AdvancedCigarBoxGuitarConstruction...

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Josh, thanks for writing this all up, and thanks for doing such a great job of it! Years ago as a teenager I made some dulcimers and what is now called a strum stick as gifts out of guitar shop fretwire, strings and crappy wood from the hardware store. I made it all up as I went. They turned out ok and I had fun but sure would have loved to have read your posts first. I'm sure you saved me and others from making many mistakes, probably including a few slightly bloody ones but certainly some costly ones.
Please keep on writing! The little things you include, like the fret wire caddy, are a great touch.
I'm glad to help.

Fitzhugh said:
Josh, thanks for writing this all up, and thanks for doing such a great job of it! Years ago as a teenager I made some dulcimers and what is now called a strum stick as gifts out of guitar shop fretwire, strings and crappy wood from the hardware store. I made it all up as I went. They turned out ok and I had fun but sure would have loved to have read your posts first. I'm sure you saved me and others from making many mistakes, probably including a few slightly bloody ones but certainly some costly ones.
Please keep on writing! The little things you include, like the fret wire caddy, are a great touch.
Question: when you add the fret board, the height of the neck seems like it will be larger than the height of the headstock. Is it supposed to be that way? Or does adding the veneer put a bit more height on the headstock?
I'm not sure if I'm following. If your headstock is angled back (scarf joint) then the surface of the fingerboard will be at a different angle, not higher than. Is your question in regard to a straight neck where the headstock does not have a scarf joint? If that's the case then it is definitely an advantage to get the fingerboard higher as it will help promote a clean string break over the nut. This is essentially the way a Fender neck works, with the scoop taken out of the headstock face as well as the back of the headstock being set lower (on a level with the surface of the neck heal). The whole intent is to put the tuners lower than the fingerboard so that the strings break clean. The unfortunate side effect of this approach is that, due to the height difference being so shallow, you often need string trees, which I personally dislike.

Scotty C. said:
Question: when you add the fret board, the height of the neck seems like it will be larger than the height of the headstock. Is it supposed to be that way? Or does adding the veneer put a bit more height on the headstock?
Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:
I'm not sure if I'm following. If your headstock is angled back (scarf joint) then the surface of the fingerboard will be at a different angle, not higher than. Is your question in regard to a straight neck where the headstock does not have a scarf joint? If that's the case then it is definitely an advantage to get the fingerboard higher as it will help promote a clean string break over the nut. This is essentially the way a Fender neck works, with the scoop taken out of the headstock face as well as the back of the headstock being set lower (on a level with the surface of the neck heal). The whole intent is to put the tuners lower than the fingerboard so that the strings break clean.

Hi Josh,
My question is more in reference to a scarfed neck, where the headstock has a veneer added to it. Is the veneer necessary to raise the headstock's thickness, or is it just added to make it look pretty?
Veneer does two things:

1. Hides the glue line.
2. Increases strength along the scarf joint (plywood principle).

You want to figure the final thickness of the headstock including the veneer so that the finished product comes out to the proper size. You shouldn't be adding a veneer just to increase thickness.

Scotty C. said:
Josh Gayou (SmokehouseGuitars) said:
I'm not sure if I'm following. If your headstock is angled back (scarf joint) then the surface of the fingerboard will be at a different angle, not higher than. Is your question in regard to a straight neck where the headstock does not have a scarf joint? If that's the case then it is definitely an advantage to get the fingerboard higher as it will help promote a clean string break over the nut. This is essentially the way a Fender neck works, with the scoop taken out of the headstock face as well as the back of the headstock being set lower (on a level with the surface of the neck heal). The whole intent is to put the tuners lower than the fingerboard so that the strings break clean.

Hi Josh,
My question is more in reference to a scarfed neck, where the headstock has a veneer added to it. Is the veneer necessary to raise the headstock's thickness, or is it just added to make it look pretty?
GreaT work...thanks for the step by step n pic's too ...Great Help!..looking forward to building my first CBG!
Nice write up Josh, very thorough! A couple of things I'm curious about, wouldn't it be easier to inlay/slot and maybe even fret the fingerboard before gluing it to the neck especially with the scarf joint? With the scarf joint it looks like it would be cumbersome to work with unless you had the end of the neck hanging off the table.Also using glue to install the fret wouldnt that make it difficult to remove them later, I was going to purchase some titebond II, that's been recommended a lot on the forum.
I've been eyeing of a couple of stew mac items (yeah kinda expensive but saves making mistakes )

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Saws_and_slots/Fret_S...

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Fretting/Dual_...

Do you seal your necks with a satin finish or leave them bare?

Cheers

Brett
Hi Josh,

I love your write-up on your method of fretting. Very informative. I like the idea of using a clamp to force the fret wire in to the frets. But, I'm not sure what kind of clamp is being used. Is it an "Irwin Quick-Grip Spring Clamp" or an "Irwin Quick-Grip Handi-Clamp"? I can't tell from the angle in your photo. The Handi-Clamp seems to have a trigger. While I'm back in the States, I want to stock up on these kind of "specialty" tools. So, a clarification would be most helpful.

Also, I see you do your fretting before you stain and "varnish" your necks. Can you offer additional advice on finishing your necks? I find that if I stain and finish my necks first, my fretwork screws up the finish, and if I do my fretwork first, the staining and (especially) varnishing, messes up my fretwork. I do like your idea of using masking tape and "blue tape". I'll try that next time. The varnishing problem is one of dripping. It seems the varnish tends to pool in the frets only to drip later, spoiling my finish. I guess I need to varnish sparingly and sit awhile with the piece to watch for any drippage which should brush away. If anyone else has constructive comments on this, please reply, too.

Also, the extra-virgin olive oil I use seems to color poplar wood slightly green (white with a slight tint of green). As you often use olive oil on your necks, have you seen this problem? I suspect that with other woods, it might not be a problem. Olive oil on cedar cigar boxes certainly beautifies the finish.

Thanks.

-Rand Moore.
Wonderful explanation and pics. Very informative. I have been using small finishing nails as frets with some success however they are, as you mentioned, one of the issues that come up when selling the guitars. I will have to work on it.

Where do you purchase a fret ruler for exact locations and placement? I have been using an old guitar neck as a template to this point.

Thanks again.

Steve
Stewart MacDonald has just about everything it seems:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Measuring/Fret_Scale_...

Brett

Steve said:
Wonderful explanation and pics. Very informative. I have been using small finishing nails as frets with some success however they are, as you mentioned, one of the issues that come up when selling the guitars. I will have to work on it.

Where do you purchase a fret ruler for exact locations and placement? I have been using an old guitar neck as a template to this point.

Thanks again.

Steve
Thanks for the quick get back. I will check it out

Brett Morgan said:
Stewart MacDonald has just about everything it seems:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Measuring/Fret_Scale_...

Brett

Steve said:
Wonderful explanation and pics. Very informative. I have been using small finishing nails as frets with some success however they are, as you mentioned, one of the issues that come up when selling the guitars. I will have to work on it.

Where do you purchase a fret ruler for exact locations and placement? I have been using an old guitar neck as a template to this point.

Thanks again.

Steve

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