Handmade Music Clubhouse

Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

Hey Guys, I know this may seem to be a strange post for a instrument makers site but let me explain.

If anyone has read my page I am also a Master Bladesmith in which I make quality knives and other edged weaponry. Part of the process when I do the cabbing (the wood slabs for the handles) I "stabilize" them. I do this by placing the cabbing which coated with a liberal amount of a special epoxy resin and placed in a small air tight bag. The air is then pumped out via a small vacuum pump which draws the resin into the wood or whatever material is used. The result is a wood that then reacts much like resin and not wood. Many of the high quality wood hunting bows are made in the same manner. It can be sanded, shaped, polished like glass, and it is hard as nails. I have noticed that the larger pieces that I have done seem to have a resination that seems much better than just pieces that are just prepped and varnished.

Hence the great epiphany!

I want to try to do much larger pieces to make a CBG from a bandsawn solid block of rosewood. My intent is to saw off the faces of each side, cut out the center, then reassemble. If I stabilize it, it will never split and have the appearance of a solid block of wooden glass. I have quite a crap load of rosewood that I got from a large rosewood tree that was felled during hurricane Gene and wish to put it to use. My problem is most of the pumps that Bladesmiths use are way to small. A larger bag is no prob, it's just a larger pump I need. I have thought of useing a pump from a larger air compressor but plumbing it may be quite a chore.

If any of you guys out there have any ideas please leave a comment.

Keep Jammin!


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Would a vacuum pump for air conditioner work (like on cars) be big enough? I think Harbor Freight sells 'em, but have no idea of the capacity or quality.
My problem is that when using these type of pumps is doing the plumbing of the "intake" side and adapting it to the vacuum bag. It does not really permit choking it down to fit a hose. It would be easy on the "outlet" side but not very easy on the intake. I wish to stay with an electric pump as opposed to one that is driven via a belt and an outside power source. Just trying to keep things simple.
Hi Joe, I've been entertaining a similar idea for awhile for working with laminate and maybe even clamping. One of these days I'll pick up some Space Bags and try it with my shop vac. Target has some as well.

Good luck.
Thanks Dave,
but these are to small. It is about what I use for knife cabbing. It's a great one but I need one that can evac at least 2c.f. within at least 15 seconds. Sounds crazy but I do it in steps and the resin tends to set quickly. The idea is to apply resin, place the wood in bag, draw vacuum quickly, release the vacuum all at once. When the vacuum is released quickly naturally the atmospheric air rushes in and pressure returns. But the vacuum remains momentarily in the wood as pores of the wood release the vacuum slower than the outside void of the bag. this action really slams the resin into the rings and pith.

This process is then repeated a number of times very quickly which is the reason for high volume fast pump. This brings the resin very deep in the wood by "pumping' it in with negative and positive pressures. This is rosewood from a 60 year old tree and is dense hard stuff. It sounds rather extreme for just a guitar size block but I want to expand it in the future for a larger project.

Something like a monster 5hp Baldor powered 4 cylinder air compressor pump is the way it's looking, Damn! (spiting and kicking)
Wow! Okay, sorry, that's some serious vacuum you're looking for. I got no idea for something of that magnitude - don't think even the rigs they use for neon light tubes would be big enough.
Hey Joe,
back in my jewelry casting days, i used a bell jar and vacuum setup to remove air bubbles from casting investment.
Im not sure of the pump capacity, but Rio Grande jewelry and tool supply has them ( not cheap) take a look there. good luck, I love the idea!
Yep, I need something that really sucks! LOL!

B Tal, I have been entertaining the same bell jar (a steel case box) idea as I was just offered the use of an air pump that we electricians use the blowout the large sized service conduits. It is a Ford 5.0 (302) engine on a trailer that runs on the 4 cylinders on one bank to power it, and the other side is fitted with a special head that turns the other 4 cylinders into a 4 cyl air pump. Damn thing will blow water out of a 6" pipe 100 feet into the air. Can't use hose on this as it would suck it flat so I will have to galvanized hard pipe it to the box or bag that is used. Though a bit overkill, it may very well work if an "Air-bleed" valve is installed to control the rate of vacuum.
Frak! That's not a pump, it's a (semi)portable black hole.
I think it is a very good use for a Ford motor, other than welding a mailbox on it or maybe a manure spreader! (Can you tell .... I'm a Chevy guy) LMAO!!!

Dave K. said:
Frak! That's not a pump, it's a (semi)portable black hole.
I dont know if this will be of help to you Joe, but for those interested in vacuum clamping this a great site. Several luthiers up in my neck of the woods have used this site for inspiration.
Thanks Andy, Joewoodworker is a site I was checking out not to long ago, great stuff and info! I was checking it out for flame maple veneer I need to "Clad" the spacers for an old P-90 I'm doing in a CBG for the girlfriend's grandson. Doing a flamed Strat neck and box for his first birthday. I know it's a bit early for a guitar but it will give him bragging rites when he gets older that he owned a guitar before he could walk. I imagine "Dad" will play hell out of it till then. LOL!

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