About Shane Speal

Shane Speal has been a member since June 13th 2014, and has created 2 posts from scratch.

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The Simplicity of the Cigar Box Guitar

by Glenn Watt

It’s the feel of your favorite bathrobe with a hot cup of coffee steaming in your hand on a morning when you can take your time to get your day going.

It’s the feel of a cold can of your go-to beer, the pop of the top, the condensation wetting your hand before sitting down in your chair to watch your favorite team for the afternoon.

It’s your old dog, faithful and loving, sitting next to you, waiting with loyal eyes to heed your every word.

The situations are all comfortable. Simple. They feel timeless and like they are all your own.

These are things we seek in order to find stability and joy, reliability and mastery.

Your cigar box guitar can provide for you these same things.

Creating something from what appears to be nothing is a wonderful accomplishment. When that something can make music, well then it turns magnificent.

tail piece of the guitar used in this tutorial of how to install a neck brace

Your cigar box guitar can give you untold happiness

There is an undeniable sense of nostalgia to re-purposing goods that seem to have lost value. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Creating something from what appears to be nothing is a wonderful accomplishment. When that something can make music, well then it turns magnificent.

However, building your cigar box guitar doesn’t have to involve using a tarnished, bent and twisted, old spoon as a tailpiece or a neck made from a privateer shipwreck. Parts for a guitar can easily all be purchased, some even pre-built. This is exceptionally handy when you have a modest supply of tools and a developing skillset.

close up image of headstock

The key is to make use of and develop whatever skills and tools you already have

The joy in the simple nature of the cigar box guitar can get lost with unrealistic expectations and standards. Don’t compare your skills, craftsmanship, or tools to what someone else has or has done. There are always going to be people further along the timeline of experience than you. And whatever tools and skills they have, have come over the course of time and possibly many builds.

To find the greatest satisfaction in being a builder, develop these three skills

  1. Humility. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are terrific online communities and groups chock full of people who are glad to lend a hand. There is nothing wrong with not knowing how to get started or how to overcome a particular obstacle. Everyone began with their first build. So will you if you haven’t already.
  2. Acceptance. You will make mistakes. Embrace them. Each mistake you make, as small or as large as it may be, is an opportunity…no, an obligation for you to learn. Some of the greatest CBG designs that you can find have been born of a mistake turned into something positive.
  3. Gratitude. Be appreciative of the time you have to build, to explore, to create. Give thanks to those that will help you. It’s easy to gripe about not having enough time, not having the “right” tools, and having to much of the dreaded lack of know-how. It’s easy to fly off the handle if you scratch your pristine cigar box with a drill bit or drill a hole in the wrong place. It can be much more difficult to practice gratitude but developing this tool will ensure continued growth and success as a builder.

These simple skills are imperative to a fulfilling experience.

close up image of a soundhole

So enjoy that hot cup of coffee in the morning while looking over your build. Hell, go ahead and build in your bathrobe.

Sit in your chair with your cigar box guitar and feel the instrument in your hands. Feel the weight of in build, the weight of the situation. This is your creation. This product of your imagination produces music with your attention.

Care for your CBG. Keep it safe in its own place and in sight. Your cigar box guitar will wait for you, faithfully, to coax out of it the music you were meant to play.

It’s a simple thing. Find your enjoyment in its simplicity.

Glenn Watt is a maker of simple things. Join him in celebrating the cigar box guitar at glennwatt.com
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Got a Cramped Workspace? Here’s 4 Tips to Make the Most of It

drawers on an organizing bin

Have you got a tiny little workshop? Have your building projects been relegated to a closet-sized area in the home? Do you feel like you are trying to fit a massive holiday family dinner for the whole clan onto a quaint little table for two?

It is crucial for you to find the best way to use the space you have. Doing so will allow you to set your table with the necessary standards to feast upon the sublime gratification that is building your cigar box guitar.

Follow my four tips to overcome the obstacle of space limitation and enjoy the time you have in your own little workshop

 

fisheye view of my cramped workspace

Organize Your Space

This may seem basic or obvious but is also easy to overlook or simply not practice. Every item you have needs its own home. Keep your screws, nails, and glue together. If you have clamps, keep them all in one area that is within convenient reach. Your hammer, saw, drill and bits all should have their own place in the workspace. With as little room as you have to work with, it is essential that when you think to reach for something, you know exactly where it is. Rummaging through bins, boxes, and bags of assorted items severely decreases the time you have to work and makes for a frustrating experience.

Plan Ahead

If you are going to enlist the help of a video like those I have posted here, watch it a few times before you set out to build. Gather the necessary tools. Become familiar with what the process is going to require of you. Mentally walk through the game plan, seeing yourself perform the actions that you are watching in the tutorial. Trying to start a new project with little to no insight in a cramped space will derail your efforts and make the space seem even smaller.

Be Resourceful

Make the most of what you have. Don’t worry about what you don’t have or what someone says you need to have to build. Learning to be resourceful and practicing it with intent will make you an efficient builder. A power miter saw would be great. So would a table saw, a belt sander and a host of other tools. Tools take up space, add clutter, cost big money, and require maintenance and care.

Only the most basic of tools are required to make a sweet, 100% playable cigar box guitar

Being resourceful is also learning to use your space efficiently. Go to a site such as Pinterest.com for organizing ideas in tiny spaces. If you think Pinterest doesn’t apply to you or has nothing to offer a woodworker or hobbiest, think again. The site is filled with a ridiculous amount of helpful ideas and links.

Clean up

Put everything back where it belongs when you are finished working for the day. Don’t be building until the last available minute. Leave some time to clean up after yourself. Don’t leave a mess that you will have to face the next time you can set aside to build. Starting a building session with a messy, cramped space is like setting your tiny dinner table with unwashed ware from the previous nights meal. It’s entirely unappealing and kills the buzz to build.

tools on a pegboard

Cramped spaces make for challenging workshops

Give yourself the opportunity to learn and to grow without creating obstacles for yourself. Limit the number obstacles you will face by being deliberate in managing your workspace.

Your success in building will be the direct result of your choices and actions. Choose to feast like a king upon the fruits of your labor. Choose to make the most of your cramped workspace and get building.

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. -Socrates

What one thing can you do today that will optimize your workspace?

Glenn Watt is a maker of things. Join him in celebrating the cigar box guitar at glennwatt.com
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