Pick box

So, I’ve been playing the ukulele for coming up on about three years now. Last year (a year ago next week) I was injured on shift and it’s resulted in as-of-yet-not-resolved nerve damage that effects my thumb and first two fingers on my right hand. For anyone who plays a fretted instrument, you know this means my picking days on the uke may be over. I can still strum ok, so I’m still playing, but it’s going to be hard to progress with such a limitation. 

A musically inclined friend suggested something where I can look at my fingers (since it’s an afferent nerve issue, meaning reduced sensation, but the motor function is fine). He meant for me to consider the piano, but I decided to learn the Lap Steel Guitar. It’s got the same Hawaiian motif as the ukulele (if you tune it that way) and uses finger picks on the right hand, which is fully visible against the strings on your lap. It’s more complicated than some finger picks and a slide bar, but I’m starting to get it…at least a little. 

So I whipped up a quick little ‘nothing’ box to keep the picks and slide bar in. 

Scrap sapele, cut to size. Then I used the Shaper Origin to core out the interior. Rounded over the outside edges, then chamfered the inner edges on the router table to give it some dimension and make it soft to the touch. Lastly, I burned a scale and a couple musical symbols into the bottom for decoration (which is funny because I can’t read music!). 

The laser work was interesting because the interior dimension of the box is small enough that the laser head can’t move around freely without hitting the edges. So I had to basically burn it out of focus. Honestly, it worked out pretty well…all things considered.

Finished with Odie’s Oil and a buffing. 

I’m planning out a two- instrument guitar stand with a music stand integrated into the top. I figure, if I’m gonna learn a new instrument, I should display it too! More to come on that. 

If you wanna hear something like a howling cat being abruptly stepped on, I’ll send you a clip of the Lap Steel to laugh to!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".


Nice little box! Sorry about the hand...

Steven- Random Orbital Nailer

Thanks! Yeah, the hand thing is a bit concerning. Makes using hand tools very cumbersome as it can be hard to index tools properly. I’m still working out how to safely use them all, but there’s no way I’m giving up on it. Power tools are actually less scary, since I’ve always been in the practice of being very careful about keeping meaty things away from the sharp, spinny things, but I do take a few more seconds to double check it!

Neuro doc says if the sensation is going to come back, it should be by this summer. I guess we’ll see!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Well Beethoven went deaf, so there is that! 

Your injury is a bummer, but I suppose a common potential hazard for your job. I hope you can access some PT to get things back in order Ryan, the body tends to have a good amount of rejuvenation abilities.

Boxes look good! Can you unscrew the air nozzle on your laser? Usually from the lens to the focus is several inches (though it looks like it all came out fine 😀).
This diode laser has a much shorter focal length. Although I didn’t try taking the shield off. I probably could have gotten a little closer if I’d done that. Still came out fine enough!

The nerve doc says there isn’t really therapy for this sort of a thing, it’s just a matter of whether the nerve wants to grown back in around the damage. He seemed very knowledge and gave me some good info, but he basically said there’s no reason to do rehab specific to the hand, but the shoulder and neck (where the actual injury was) can be worked on. So I’m doing that, trying to keep the muscle tension down so the nerve isn’t adversely affected. Just have to wait and see. Feels like I’ve got blue painter’s tape over the palm side of those three fingers. Weirdest thing. He said it’s a common injury seen in motor cycle crashes, but it usually results in more nerve damage. This seems to be right in between no-damage and you’re-screwed-for-life. So, I guess that’s a silver lining. And, of course, working through worker’s comp is a joy…

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

I hope yours does better than mine. I had an accident with an X-Acto knife in '05 and full sensation never came back to my left ring and pinky finger. Good thing they aren't the work horses. I have a nodule on my right ring finger which I'm hoping to have removed Jan 4th. Can't hold a carving tool or mallet effectively.

Steven- Random Orbital Nailer

When I broke my left thumb many years ago I could no longer pressure the "F chord"... with regret, I had to telegraph The Beatles, The Stones and of course The Blues Brothers that I can no longer participate in re-forming the band.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

Collectively, their loss, ducky. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Nice project Ryan!

I had some nerve damage in a bicycle/car crash - I lost 😁. I found that I had nerve recovery happening for a few years. I still have some residual sensation - much like what you describe. I think I got around 60% back - maybe more.
Nerves take a long time to heal. Hopefully they get there!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Like the box and the idea of playing the steel guitar.    Remember the steel guitar of the Texas Playboys, always liked it.    I personally have zero musical ability except to listen and even then the ear is made of tin. 
Nicely done box, the best on the 'new" instrument and learning it..    


The laser work is making this box!

Sorry to hear about your hand nerve issue.


Nice little box!!

Cheers, Jim ........................ Variety is the spice of life...............Learn something new every day

Thanks fellas!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Looks very nice Ryan I wish there was a way I could help you heal faster but time will. Your still making wonderful music and projects. I was going to ask you how you made the great engraving in the inside until I read it in your description . I would like to hear your ukulele concerto. 

You could also engrave on the bottom of the box. 

Dr. Quackner

Yours may sound like a howling cat but my playing sounds like a donkey being chain sawed in half. Nothing like a little colorful imagery to brighten one’s day. As an acoustical guitar player missing the index and middle tips on my right hand, I get ya. My 12 string is long gone and my six spends more time in its case then it used to. Unlike yourself I did go piano (keyboard) and never considered a steel guitar. Good luck on both a good recovery and taking off with a new instrument. 

Some of my most creative moments have been when I've had to cover up an error in my woodworking.

Sorry to hear of your injury.  
Nice box and the engraving is a great feature.  
Sharp project, good job.
Very sorry to hear of your injury Ryan.....That Box you made is beautiful!!!