Cigar boxes may have intrigued you - dovetailed wood versions that seemed so wonderfully crafted, and perhaps overbuilt, to their purpose. The subject may be gaining currency as relations thaw between Cuba and the U.S., but also for a novel use: reclaiming the boxes as electric guitars.

Cigar boxes have been nade of paperboard and cardboard, with labels providing the artr form. But the wood cigar boxes made by a handful of specialists companies, like Millennium Wood Boxes in Miami, are most intriguing.


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Millennium produces Spanish cedar boxes, the species described as the "best" kind of wood for cigar boxes at Wikipedia, because of its beautiful grain, fine texture, and pleasant odor. Its boxes are sold to cigar companies and private label retailers like gift shops at Sheraton and Westin Hotels. High grade more durable humidor versions, usually with a tray inset, are sold to consumers.

Eucalyptus and yellow poplar have been popular substitutes, stained and scented to resemble it. Also commonly used for cigar boxes are mahogany, elm, and white oak; with  basswood, Circassian walnut, and rosewood as runner ups.

Cigar box construction includes a slid-lig type, or a hinged lid. Like cigar  labels, and bands, the boxes are  considered collectible items.

Among those producing for the growing movement of guitars and ukuleles being made from cigar boxes is Axbox Guitars, founded in Chicago in 2011 by Kimmer Olesak. We ran into Kimmer at the Renegade Art Fair. His story is told at

In late 2011, after building several wooden kayaks for his own personal use, Chicago-based Director of Photography and longtime hobbyist Kimmer Olesak stumbled across yet another woodworking craft that would soon become an obsession: Cigar Box Guitars. He quickly began stockpiling every cigar box he could get his hands on, sourcing them from wherever he could. His first guitar was born shortly thereafter: a six-string masterpiece made from a classic, single-flap cardboard cigar box with a hand-carved richly grained cherry wood neck.

Throughout the winter of 2011-2012, he began experimenting with different cigar box guitar designs, sharing them with family and musician friends, and unwittingly creating a cult following.

As word spread and demand grew, Kimmer's building took off. He began experimenting with three-string guitars, electric pickups, and using other found objects, like oil cans, vintage metal lunch boxes, and anything that would lend itself to intriguing design and incredible sound. The result was a collection of guitars unlike anythinganyone had ever seen or heard before.

Folk and bluegrass musicians were awestruck that such a small and delicate instrument was capable of producing such a unique and powerful sound. Quickly, Kimmer's creations became staples in their rotation of instruments.

The guitars continue to flow out of Kimmer's woodshop, each one meeting his impeccable standards of craftsmanship, beauty,  and functionality. They are truly an American-made original.

All of our guitars are handcrafted from found objects and the highest quality custom materials. We have a rotating selection of already built guitars at our shop, as well as an expanding collection of vintage cigar boxes and unique containers you can select from for the guitar of your choice. Custom consultation for a guitar crafted from your own found object is also available. Click the link at the top of this page to visit our online store and begin shopping for your AxBox.

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