Wooden Ashtrays?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jon223, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. Hi all. Im contemplating starting a project on an essex fretless. I think i wanna sand off the sunburst, refin it w/ some sort of natural or close to natural color (butterscotch blonde or another subtle dye), new bridge, p-ups, nut, wooden p-guard, wooden thumbrest, tapewounds, etc.

    So, i was thinking, wouldnt it look awesome to have some kind of contrasting wood (rosewood, wenge, bubinga) ashtrays on top of the maple p-guard and nat. body? Has anyone ever tried jigsawing an ashtray out of wood? Shouldnt it work? I suppose it would have to be a bit thicker than the chrome ones, but that wouldnt be too hard to do. The bridge cover would be more difficult tho. I dont know how i would be able to remove and replace it to make saddle adjustments and change strings. i figure it would end up cracking w/ the screws goin in and out all the time. Maybe reinforce the holes.
    Well, if anyone skilled in the woodworking arts could help i would really appreciate it.

    Also, does anyone have any good suggestions for finishing alder wood in order to enhance the grain?
    Thanks a bunch.
  2. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    it could be done but the wood would have to be a bit thicker than the metal is...
  3. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    I'd probably go shy of 1/4" thickness on the ashtray, but no less than 1/8". Any thinner and the wood's going to be too sensitive to environmental changes and warp or crack. To mount it, I'd use brass inserts in the body and screws going through slightly elongated holes in the cover, to allow for expansion (any time you mix species, or thickness, or grain direction, you have to accomodate varying wood movement over time.)

    The trick to bringing out grain patterns (though I'll be upfront that I've never tried this with alder) is to stain, then sand, then restain. The sanding step removes the topmost layer of stained wood, lightening it in color, except for the stain that's wicked into the more porous grain, thus accenting it.

    Huh. And who said Essex basses were cheap? ;)
  4. no kidding,
    the good thing bout essexes i think is that you get a good body and neck for 1/4 the price you'd pay at somewhere like warmoth for a body and neck. if only they would come unfinished... thats not really a good idea for rondo tho. :)

  5. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    i dont think a flammable ashtray is a good idea
  6. kneeslapper!!