How You Can Make Your Own Scrap Wood Guitar

Here is a rough and ready guide to get you started building your own guitar.
Christopher McFadden

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Would you like to learn how to make your own guitar with nothing more than a piece of old wood? Great, then this tutorial should be right up your street. 

scrap wood guitar play
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Like any project of this nature, you'll need a few bits and bobs to get you started. We have provided some links to the example products below. 

The first step is to gather together your pallet wood. Plane them down using a planer until all surfaces are smooth. 

scrap wood guitar wood
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Then cut each slat down to a 2-inch (5.1 cm) thickness and cut their lengths to 23 inches (58.4 cm) using a bench saw (or by hand if you are old school). For reference, the final guitar blank will be 13.5 (34.3 cm) inches by 20 inches (50.8 cm). Make sure you have enough slats to span the 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) needed. 

Next spread wood glue on each slat and stack them together to make a laminate, and clamp to hold them together while the glue cures. 

scrap qood guitar glue
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Once the glue has cured, you can use a straight bit for a CNC to flatten any sides needed. You can, of course, do this by hand too. 

scrap wood guitar cnc flatten
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The next step, if you want to, is to laser burn into the wooden blank any decals and other decorative features you'd like. Next, mount the entire blank slack laminate to a CNC machine and screw down each corner to the CNC platform, and zero-out the bit ready for the main cutting. 

scrap wood guitar cut cnc
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

In this video, the creators use one of a set of template guitars for their CNC machine to cut out. You may want to consider recruiting a professional to do this for you. 

scrap wood guitar cnc cutting
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Once complete, you can use something like a Turbo Plane cutting disk in an angle grinder to smooth off and round the edges of the guitar body to make it more curvaceous. 

scrap wood guitar grinder
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The next step is to make the guitar neck. The chaps in this video recommend for your first build you use a commercially available one, but if you want to attempt it yourself, the process will take a bit of a learning curve. 

The neck is installed temporarily to measure the fret lengths and mark out where the pickup needs to be, as well as, the string mountings. 

scrap wood guitar neck
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Next, drill out some holes from the front the back of the guitar to run wires through to complete the circuits. 

scrap wood guitar drill
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Now screw in the pick-up and run wires through the holes you created earlier. Wire up the wires with the switches and main input jack as shown in the video. 

Slug tape has been used in this example to ground the electronics in the bottom cavity of the guitar body. If you want some help with this part, here is a great guide to get you started. 

scrap wood guitar wiring
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Next, you can properly secure the neck into place on the main body using four screws. The next step is to install the bridge into the position previously marked out. 

A word of advice here, never use a screw gun to do this as it inevitably strips out the screws. 

scrap wood guitar assemble
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

With that bit done, you can attack the knobs on the front of the guitar, as well as, the guitar strap buttons. Next, cover up the rear cavities in any way you like -- here they used shaped pieces of old vinyl records. 

scrap wood guitar tune
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The last part is to simply tune up the guitar and, if desired, sand down and lacquer, or tung oil, the wooden sections of the guitar. Your guitar is now ready to blast out some banging tunes!

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