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Offline Daniel T

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A bushcraft guitar
« on: June 30, 2014, 02:18:44 PM »
This project may look a little silly next to the magnificent work of Maurits but I'm going to share it anyway.

I spent the last weekend in the woods engaged in a 40 litre challenge meaning my luggage was limited to 40 litres (ish, I give myself a bonus couple of litres because the last time I did this I was within budget but rather cold overnight). Nevertheless, despite the "ish" the event its definitely very luggage limited given my kit had to include shelter, sleeping bag, food, pots, pans and clothes. To put things into perspective a typical back packing rucksack is normally 65 litres.

Nevertheless despite the limits I was able to squeeze in a couple of knives, a folding saw, a pack of old strings and a couple of guitar tuners... My ambition was to construct a working cigar box guitar from scratch in less than a day...

Of course I didn't let the fact I had to leave the guitar box at home due to the luggage limit slow me down too much however it does means without a sound box the guitar won't be all that loud.

Anyhow I started in the morning with a branch, my biggest knife and a second, very heavy branch, to drive the knife like a splitting wedge into the branch. After a couple of hours whittling my branch had turned into this:



The picture above shows the fingerboard on the left. You can see the notch for the saddle at the bottom and the angling of the headstock at the top. On the right is the another part of the branch to show that the fingerboard used to look like.

At this stage the back of the neck was a lot more rough and ready:



I did get a lot further during the afternoon but, for now, I have run out of photos so you'll have to wait to see things more complete.
I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

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Offline Rob S

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 02:51:12 PM »
Oh now THIS is absolutely fascinating stuff Daniel, I am very eager to follow this through. ;) ;)
"I am not a lunatic. I have the psychiatric report to prove it. A slender majority of the panel decided in my favour."

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Johnny-English

Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 03:49:56 PM »
"And now for something completely different ?



Excellent stuff Daniel, looking forward to see how this goes    :)

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Offline davidj

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 04:07:08 PM »
This I must see!  Keep 'em coming......... :)
I'm back - am I the same person or just a clone of myself?

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Offline fender6ix

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 10:06:30 PM »
.......is that a travel guitar? >:D  :angel: (Can't find the "whistling" icon)
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Offline Daniel T

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 02:52:08 PM »
Sorry for the delay in the middle of the story. Blame a mixture of work travel, holiday and good old fashioned being very busy.

At the moment I have something playable but, owing to the absense of a sounding board, rather quiet.


The black inlays were made using a drill bit (but not a drill) and are filled with a mixture of beeswax and ground charcoal (melted on and taken from the campfire respectively):


The destressed wood finish was achieved by rubbing charcoal into the grain across the whole of the finger board followed by a just a little bit of light sanding. The saddle is, rather obviously, made of bone (a lamb bone if memory serves):


The through hole body took a little while longer. This time I mounted the bit into a hand drill I had managed to squeeze into my rucksack. The vertical lines are repairs where the wood (which was rather freshly cut) cracked as it dried out, all the gaps have been padded with beeswax.


Finally for today with have the back of the headstock. The tuners are from a knackered Encore guitar I got for free. Originally they had fiddly little covers but I decided they looked better opened up.


So that's it. A three string guitar built more or less from scratch in less than a day.

I'm back off to the woods in a few weeks and I may just take it with me and try to get a sound box sorted out. Can't really see me making the box from scratch but I have a few wooden boxes that used to contain wine/cosmetics/cigars laying around.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 02:53:49 PM by Daniel T »
I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

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Offline davidj

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 03:52:57 PM »
Love it!  Is it possible to fret it or is it just for slide/open tuning?  A recording would be fun? :)

I really like the technical scope of your projects - scary midifying at one end and lo tech beauty at the other!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 09:29:09 PM by davidj »
I'm back - am I the same person or just a clone of myself?

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Offline Daniel T

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Re: A bushcraft guitar
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 07:47:24 PM »
It's slide only. The neck isn't really straight enough for fretting. None of the photos are distorted... the wood isn't really very straight at all (although I never realized how far away it was until I got the strings on).

The inlays are pretty good though. Most were positioned by harmonic so they are pretty good targets for the slide. Its amazing how hard it is to play anything with the slide without something to navigate by.

Not tried recording it yet. I've been toying with the idea of mounting a pickup instead of a sounding box but nothing is really decided yet. However I have some (presumably lousy) pickups and a jack from the Encore. One day I might steal some more bits from it for something like this.
I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.