H from Bournemouth

I'm new to the CBG scene, having been hooked in by my brother in law. I've built 3 CBGs - a 3 string, 2 string and 1 string. (next a stomp box?).

Anyhow I'm finding that getting materials is far from easy. Cigar boxes are scarce and command a premium price. I've found the best source is actually cigar shops. Ebay has some but pricey and it isn't easy to see if the advertised box is really what you want. Likewise, wood for the neck takes some determination. I've used, old sofa parts, broom handle, stair spindle, and eucalyptus from Travis Perkins, but maple and oak 2x1" are hard to find. Even thin mahogany sheet took me ages to locate. Luckily pegs and strings are commonplace.

It seems ironic that an instrument originally made by poor folks with cheap commonplace materials has become one made from expensive scarce materials! Perhaps this is a British phenomenon as the guys across the pond don't seem to have a problem.

Then again - is it me?


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Hi, yeah it's a British thing, but then it makes finding a box even more exciting, or using the imagination a bit more.  Wine boxes are easier to get.  I find oil cans hard to come by too.  I bought a job lot of cigar boxes from http://www.cgarsltd.co.uk/ but they sell individual ones too for up to a fiver (plus postage).  I also find good hardwood difficult to come by, so I buy from ebay and scavenge where I can.  Sawmills seem to want to charge a bomb when I only want some scrap wood.

Well I've been building for a few years now but don't turn out loads just a few ;) and I always find that if you ask about you can always pick up plenty of scrap hard wood for necks. Also I build my own cigar boxes and then stick diy paper decals on them. Were there is a will there's a way
I think any free wood will do
But you sometimes have to think outside the box

A rectangle of wood and plywood front and back
May be the way around this.

I have used Toilet seats, plant pots,boxes,vase
Dexian shelf, pretty much anything you can find.

But finding cigar boxes is a rarety
But did find some a couple of times in junk shops once cheap

Think free old junkfurniture,bed heads
Anything made of wood and recycle it

You'd be amazed what's in a skip near you
Try free cycle too

One chap found some cherry doors
In a skip in the ritch areas..

Good luck..
Hi Jock
I carry quite a lot of hardwood blanks in stock
I also machine them to your required thicknesses
And can also supply fingerboard blanks as well
I can also do a scarf jointed neck ready for you
To glue up.
I can supply mahogany, walnut, maple , oak , wenge
Please let me know what you require

Hi Jock,

You always read our American friends saying 'just head to your local lumber yard and get some hardwood...' doesn't seem to work like that here.

I've been scouting round different places, and our local picture framers said they are happy to sell me wood at cost price, they'll even slice down the mouldings to the right size. They normally come in 3 metre lengths, I think. They have many hardwoods including maple. So you'd get 2/3 necks from one piece. Find a good quality framer nearby and make friends. 

I've also been given a contact up here in London, but I need to check them out. I'll let you know how I get on. 

I see you're in Bournemouth, we usually visit Bocombe in the summer, and there is a new shop there selling salvaged Oak furniture. He told me there is a supplier down that way (Ringwood perhaps?) who might be able to help. I'll see if I have the number.

Otherwise, look for old broken furniture to cut up, or find a good skip!

Best wishes,


Thanks to all who replied. You have all given me some great ideas. I have a 3 string and a dulcimer to finish and then I'll be taking it easy over Christmas.

Come the New Year it will be looking for wood in earnest!

thanks again


Thin sheet can be found in good model shops in 3" and 4" widths 3' long and in various thickness's.This one is built with model shop timber

That's really impressive Michael. I've got some spruce and walnut from my local model supplier, but I wasn't sure what the finish would be like. 


There are four pieces in that front,the stuff comes with a good finish so if your careful glueing them up it takes a minimal amount of effort to clean up the joints with a cabinet scraper

As for necks, someone on here directed me to Feuillus fencing,The guitars on the left use their oak seat laths the one on the right sapele from them 


Very nice, whet is the nut made from?


The nuts are corian,you can buy a block from David Dyke for just over a fiver that will make loads of nuts and saddles


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