Hello all of you knowledgeable instrument builders,

After building three four string guitars, a three string guitar, an eight string mandolin, an ukulele, and a diddley bow I feel ready to graduate to building a six string.

The only problem is that I'll need a truss rod for that and I do not have any power tools (except for a drill). So how do I cut a straight and even truss rod groove without a router?

Any suggestions?

My only idea so far is to make a three part laminate neck with the middle part the same width as the square metal rod I want to use as a nonadjustable truss rod. Something like the sketch below.

Do you think that would work? Has anybody done this successfully?


You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Email me when people reply –


  • Inspired by this thread I've just completed a neck for a 'normal' 6-string guitar, using an adjustable truss rod within a laminated neck.

    The guitar had yet to be completed, but it looks OK so far!



    I taped little bits of card to the top of the rod to increases its apparent depth. This allowed me to true up the top of the neck with a little bit of leeway.


    An access hole for the 4mm Allen key for adjustment.



    • Hi Tim, that all looks good, but an observation if I may. I feel it would be more beneficial to use a wood infill on top of the rod. Over time the cardboard is liable to compress and leave you with a loose rod. Also the rod is then pushing against the fingerboard and not, maybe, the air gaps.

      Just a thought Taff

      • My fault Taffy,

        I did remove the bits of card prior to gluing it all together.

        Any rattles can be eliminated by adding a little bit of tension to the rod.


  • I suppose you could use a chisel, then fill the trough with epoxy for a tight fit?

  • Hi, Just done this job today and it fits in with this thread, so I thought I would post my process.

    The finger board was off due to the neck bowing up, so after straightening the neck I hand cut the slot sides with hand saws and chiselled out the waste  to fit the reinforcement infill. I made a depth gauge out of brass to fit the 1/16 chisel so I could scrape the bottom of the slot flat and level.

    306694695?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024 306694625?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024 306695731?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024 306696971?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024 306697930?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024

    Easy peazy. Taff

  • Well, you could always redneck it and chuck your drill in a vice, zip-tie the trigger and run it by hand under the bit. may not be perfect, but aint that kinda the point of a CBG?

  • It'll work with two pieces (2) as well, can be done with a dovetail saw, regular or Japanese... For a smaller builds a cross-grain laminate (1) is more than enough...

    • You sir are correct, cross grain laminate is strong enough to leave out the metal bar,., but I guess this thread is about installing a bar...

  • You can get double-action adjustable truss rods quite cheaply on Ebay.

    Although I routed out the slot on my 6-string, from the rear, I don't see any reason why you couldn't laminate a neck around the truss rod.

    Access to the adjustment screw is via an Allen key through a hole in the front of the headstock.




  • If there is a high school in your area that has a wood shop, ask the teacher if someone could rout out your neck for a truss rod.  You could offer to give a talk on what you are doing.  There might even be students who would be interested in building cigar box guitars.  I think most shop teachers would be interested in community involvement.  

This reply was deleted.