Cigar Box Fiddle

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Project by slapdash posted 04-22-2016 03:24 AM 1375 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Obsessed with violins ever since watching a video of a real luthier making one from slabs of maple. Discovered and somehow got the instructions for a fiddle.

Now I have never seen a cigar box, much less touched one, but I had some 3mm ply left over from something so I started making a box (would have been better if it had been deeper) and copying dimensions off my $30 internet violin (I had to have one). I tried to keep it airtight, except for the f holes

The box has crude finger joints at the corners and a thin rail supporting where the top and bottom meet the sides. These are butt joints just like a real violin, which explains why real violins have to be protected from humidity, cos the expanding wood will crack all the butt joints, haha.

The neck (broom handle in the recipe) goes through the box to the tail and receives a screw-eye and the tail-piece is wired to this.

The box contains a base bar stuck to the top under the bass strings, and a sound post under the treble f hole. I had to move these to make room for the neck coming through, so if the box had been deeper this would have been more straight forward.

The fingerboard and nut, tail and pegs piece are from a pohutakawa branch that I once pinched from my mum’s tree, the neck is rimu (I am in New Zealand). The pegs stay in tune surprisingly well. It sounds good too. I put a sanding disk attachment on the electric drill and shaped the inside of the top of the box in the style of the ancients, especially the tabs on the f-holes which work as tweeters.

It is no harder to play that the factory one, a little heavier. Some unkind people say it couldn’t sound worse. I like it. Oh yes! and a hook at the top, for hanging on the wall.

-- I'm not creative, I'm just bad at copying

4 comments so far

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3387 days

#1 posted 04-22-2016 08:00 AM

I like it. I have a simple diddly bow on my to-do list, but you have taken it to a whole different level.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View slapdash's profile


108 posts in 3110 days

#2 posted 04-22-2016 10:41 AM

Thanks. It was easier than it looks. No mortises, no dovetails.

-- I'm not creative, I'm just bad at copying

View Woodknack's profile


13503 posts in 3265 days

#3 posted 04-24-2016 05:21 AM

Good job. Ignore those unkind people. You are doing and learning, that’s something to be proud of.

-- Rick M,

View oldwood's profile


162 posts in 2129 days

#4 posted 05-04-2016 02:26 AM

So what if it doesn’t sound like a Strad, you made it, you like it and thats way cool. And I bet none of those critics have built one or could.

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