How I came by the boxes

Kerf Bending Guitar

So I figured out how to do kerf-bending on a laser-cutter.

I originally did this to make an enclosure (pictured) for my Raspberry Pi, which I have sitting next to my parent’s TV, so it can get the internet, and the don’t have to watch TV any more, because TV makes you stupid.

Then a bit later I was working on something else – and found myself with some swamp-kauri… which is wood that’s been lying in a swamp for thousands of years… the oldest I’ve seen is 35000… my bits were only 3500, which is about the age of the Biblical Exodus… and the first half of the fairly strange and charismatic 18th Dynasty in Egypt. Tutankhamun, and Akhenaten were of this Dynasty.

It’s beautifiul… you can’t really see it here, but it has this tiger-eye effect that shifts with your perspective – and when you laser-cut it, it smells like sandlewood.


So the two came together at about the same time that I discovered that there’s this whole subculture of people making cigar-box guitars on the internets

And the rest kindof writes itself.

Or not:


One successful cardboard mockup, about 100 wooden failures.


I’m making the world’s most expensive firewood.


When I was a kid, me and my brother went to the garden centre and got to choose some pot-plants. The rubber-tree in the photo above is my pot plant. It’s grown.

Anway, In the end I gave up trying to wing it design-wise, and wound up writing a program to generate the kerf-cuts.

And then gave up on that, because anything longer than 600mm won’t fit in my laser-cutter… so it needs to be a two-part thing. Predictably enough, the length of the wood that makes up the box is the sum of:

length x 2
width x 2
(corner radius) sqaured x pi
material thickness x 2

Although this seems to be kindof temperamental, so you’re probably better off making a top/bottom to fit the curved part, once you’ve made (and them measured) it, rather than making the top first, then trying to make the kerf-bent bit later.

I started out using double-sided Rimu MDF laminate… which is about 4.5mm thick… wound up using 3mm thick single-sided. The bendability of the thick stuff isn’t that great.

Anyway – eventually got somthing to work.



I’m going to try to make another one tomorrow… I’ll try to get a video together of the entire process.

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