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Custom Guitar Case Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by whodatpat, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    While the lacquer cures on my current guitar build, I have some time to think about how to get it from point A to point B. It will not fit in a regular Explorer case, and there is no universal case I can find that it will fit in either. So, I think I have a good case to learn how to make a case.

    Of course, I searched here first but did not find what I was looking for. There were a few how-to’s on YouTube that were helpful. Mostly this one
    which I will steal from heavily in this build thread.

    I measured out the actual space needed inside a case to allow for good padding all the way around. This case will need to be able to protect the guitar in the mail. So, it must be a little stouter that the cardboard backed “hard cases” that my Tele’s sit in. The inside of the case needs to be 4 inches deep to allow for the angle of the headstock. So, the outer dimensions will be 48”x19”x5”.

    Case Design.jpg


    I ripped the boards down to 5” wide and cut out a recess for the plywood front and back to fit into. I realized that I can’t properly cut a 45 degree angle on boards that are 5” wide so I wound up doing a double rabbit joint on the corners so the 3/16th recess was not affected.

    Case Glueup.jpg

    Corner Detail.jpg


    I cut the 3/16th plywood down to fit snug in the recess and glued both sides in place. I have purposely used no nails since I will be routing the corners and I will need to cut the whole thing in half. I have ordered the vinyl cover and hardware, so while I wait for the paint to dry, I will also wait for the mail to come.…


    Case Boxed.jpg
     
  2. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    An angled headstock on a long guitar makes for a big 'ol case. I bought a firebird a while back and man, that's one big case. I bet that monster sitting on your bench is a big heavy beast in person.
     
  3. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    I made a case recently (no particular need, it's standard sized). I used 8mm MDF because I had it, and it encases the guitar in 1" of foam all around. It weighs a bit over 10kg and is completely useless. :D
    I'm just saying watch the weight. ;)
     
  4. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Earlier in the year I built a couple of guitars for an ex boss and good friend from down south who lost numerous guitars and amps in a flood that inundated his home. Needing a transport "box" I built it out of ply wood with heaps of foam rubber packing and the lid was made with numerous screws rather than being hinged as it was just a transport box. This set me to ask on here if anyone on the forum made their own cases, but got no positive replies.

    I calculated that the amount of cardboard required as well as the shredding and reconstruction of it as sheets would be way too complicated for amateurs without a shipload of machinery dedicated to the task. The biggest problem I could see was the size of the sheets which would necessitate large presses of some kind so gave up the idea, but I think there would be a good market in cheaper, well made, guitar cases if the processes could be done properly in a home workshop.

    DC
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's the rub: making a sturdy case that can protect something fragile and still be easily portable is not a simple task. One way to get around the problem is to use materials that are just strong enough for the job. If you will be transporting the case, you can dial down the construction. If airline baggage handlers will be somewhere in the chain of custody, study battleship design before you begin the project.

    Have you seen this video series? It's good!

     
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  6. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do admire your energy and dedication, but I wouldn't want to have to carry it ...

    My back hurts just thinking about it...
    And my arm and shoulders...

    And my knees ...
     
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  7. oldfish

    oldfish Tele-Holic

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    like fenderchamp i also made a plywood case for my firebird ended up much to heavy
     
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  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I learned a long time ago (after building three acoustics and a double neck that required custom cases) to try to build guitars to fit available cases. I've never tried to build a case, but I can promise you that a custom one is very expensive.
     
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  9. Mr_Q

    Mr_Q Tele-Meister

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    I've build two cases. I use them both, but mostly for storage, not transport. The first is quite heavy, the second time I got smarter. I love having the look though!

    When I take them into the local guitar shop, they are more impressed with the cases than the guitars. (Maybe that's not a good thing...)

    Lessons:
    • Use the lightest top and bottom panel material you can source.
    • Be aware that vinyl or Tolex is heavy and adds considerable weight.
    • Use three or four latches on the front. Two is not enough. Same for hinges.
    • You can use cheap tweed upholstery and spray it with lacquer. Works a treat.
    • Cutting foam is easier with an electric carving knife
    • A custom contour means it fits only that guitar, not others
    • Be sure necks with angled headstocks are well supported near the body
    • Find the center of mass before you attach the handle. I balance the completed case with guitar loaded sideways (on edge) on a 1" dowel and roll it back and forth until I find the point where it balances.
    Heavy vinyl case for my LP.

    IMG_20181127_185830.jpg IMG_20181127_185950.jpg

    Lighter tweed for my Suzy-Q

    IMG_20191114_165957.jpg IMG_20191114_170024.jpg
     
  10. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I, too, built one case for transport - but the instrument was a Wurlizter 200 keyboard.
    Pro - excellent protection.
    Con - never used again, too effin heavy, despite the casters.
    :oops:

    Peace - Deeve
     
  11. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    The stock road case for a Wurli 200 is by no means easily portable either.
     
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  12. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I tend to prefer polyfoam bags, due to my old age, and less stress on my arms, shoulders, knees, and ankles...

    A few pounds lighter....

    And the backpack straps make it easier ....
     
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  13. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    I find this an interesting thread and look forward to future developments.

    I'm always interested in upholstery-related how-to articles, too - it's sort of mysterious to me.
     
  14. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you for the good advice. I agree with the theme. Weight Kills. I am doing all I can to cut weight on this. The box as it is now is very light. The heaviest thing I have going into it is the vinyl cover. Due to the circumstances, a hard case is the only way to go. If it were for me I would probably make a leather soft case for it.
    I figured out that the corners I got won’t work so I am back to the search. I can’t go with a 1/2” round or there will be nothing left of the joint to hold the whole thing together.
    D1E500CA-E67A-47BE-A8EB-07A0152BE08C.jpeg
     
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  15. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    They look highly professional Mr. Q I think they'd have taken considerable time and effort....Good job!

    DC
     
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  16. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I didn't make a firebird case, I bought a firebird with a case, and it's huge. I just said I bet that the one in this tread is prelly big and heavy.
     
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  17. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Instead of plywood, would 3/16" tempered Masonite be lighter? That stuff is pretty durable. Think pegboard without the holes.
     
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  18. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    MDF or any particle board would be heavier. They are much more dense than plywood.
     
  19. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    This particular mahogany blank was rejected my a major guitar manufacturer because it was too light. ;-). The guitar actually weighs less than any Swamp Ash Tele I have ever picked up.

    As a weight challenged person I don’t have any scales in the house, so you will have to take my word for it. :)
     
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  20. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    According to numbers I found on Google - 1/8" Masonite weighs 0.59#/sf, and 1/4" plywood weighs 0.75#/sf - if the strengths are similar (which they might not be), 1/8" Masonite would weigh out to be be less, and the thickness of the case could be trimmed by 1/4". Just my 2 cents.
     
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