Cigar Box Ukulele – This is a lovely musical instrument to make that will give you hours of pleasure and also be entertaining to your friends. The ukulele is not too difficult to make and when finished will play any tune and sound just as well as those manufactured by the musical instrument makers. All you will need is a cigar-box, some wood, strings and pegs and a lot of patience.
Carefully study the diagram and you will see how this ingenious instrument is made. First of all, let us construct the soundbox. Make this from an ordinary cigar-box, with a hole cut in the centre, using your fret-saw. The lid of the box is on the bottom and gummed shut. The long neck is shaped from a piece of 2 in. square wood that has been cut and whittled down to the shape shown, using your knife. When the shape suits you, sandpaper this all over so that it is quite smooth and rounded as shown. The end will fit flush to the soundbox and be gummed into position when ready. Before that operation, however, you must add the fingerboard, cut from a piece of wood about 3/16 in. or ¼ in. smooth wood. The frets are cut made across the keyboard. This keyboard has to fit snugly on the handle, tapered as shown, to produce on to the soundbox, and gummed into position.
Now take a look at the end of the handle and notice the shape of this and drill the four holes to take the winding pegs for the strings. It is better to buy the pegs from a music shop for they are very cheap and tapered to hold. Drill the four holes to accommodate these keys. Cut four slots at point A to allow the strings to pass evenly over this to the pegs. The string holder at the end, marked B, can also be bought for firmly holding the strings. A wooden bridge should be placed at C to carry the strings over the soundbox without fouling the keyboard. Buy a set of ukulele strings and knot each at the point B and run over the bridge and keyboard until they reach the pegs. Then thread these through the holes and wind up to the required pitch and start strumming. It is good idea to put the a little resin on the peg spindles, this will stop them from slipping.
Your ukulele can now be painted in the bright colours you favour and a few ribbons should be attached to the end of handle. These can be of bright, gay colours and will give a festive appearance to your jolly instrument.