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Lap Steel in a Day

Posted by on November 14, 2017

Summer fun list

We have an annual tradition in our house of making a “summer fun list.” Towards the end of the school year, we all sit down and take turns coming up with activities we’d like to do during summer vacation. The list usually includes stuff like “Picnic” or “Christmas in July” or “Sundae Sunday.” This year two of the ideas listed were “Build a Guitar Day” and “Wacky Instruments Day.”

Now shop day is a common thing in our house – on a rainy weekend day when the shop’s fairly clean and not packed with half-completed projects, the kids and I will dream up a project or two and work on them together. We’ve used this time in the past to build simple musical instruments like cajons and “canjos.” This time I figured we’d cross both items off and work on a “wacky guitar” together in the shop. Originally I had assumed we’d do something with PVC pipes or other atypical material. But after some discussion, we decided that what our basement music room really needed was a lap steel guitar. So we decided to build a “wacky” one.

Off to the shop…

The kids and I selected a nice Ash board, some leftover guitar parts including a humbucker pickup, fender-style bridge, 6 inline tuners and set to work. The concept was “Pegasus” – though as you can see it’s more impressionist than realism. They drew the outline together and each child selected one bit to paint.

I was seriously impressed at the way they worked together on this with very little conflict or disagreement. And the end result is a true work of playable art!

I can’t wait for our next group project.

pickup and electronics cavities routed

Nate taking a turn at the sander

They collectively decided on a design and then divided the painting duties up into sections for each to paint

Pegasus wings painted

Painting complete; ready for clear coat

Purpleheart fretboard with dowels for dots

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