- Max Kuehn
Looking to make your own box drum? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to make a box drum, perfect for making music at home. Making a box drum is a fun and easy activity that people all ages enjoy. This drum type is often used in traditional music and can be made using various materials. Read on for details!
What’s a Cajon, exactly?
The Cajon, a box drum made by enslaved Africans in Peru in the early nineteenth century or before, is becoming more popular in various musical styles.
Its portability is an advantage, as it requires no setup and is relatively light, making it an excellent instrument to have on hand. Its simplicity belies the depth and passion it can provide to any musical situation.
The bass sound is produced by striking the lower part of the front of the Cajon, and the upper snare sound is produced by striking the top of the front.
Many different sounds, whether on the front or the sides, are available to more expert players; nonetheless, you can play simple rhythms with just these two basic sounds (which could be done by anyone who can keep a beat).
It’s essentially a wood box with a thinner front slab of wood than the rest, snares fastened inside at the top, and a hole carved out in the rear to allow sound to escape.
If you’re searching for a percussion instrument but don’t want to invest in a complete drum set or learn how to play one, this acoustic-feeling drum is a great option. It’s inexpensive, quick to learn, has a distinctive sound, and is just useful to have if you’re a musician.
Cajons can be purchased online or in music stores, but they’re also simple to make. Making them yourself will save you money, allow you to personalize them, and, let’s face it, be very amazing because you made them yourself.
Below are the instructions I used to make the cajons, but don’t feel forced to follow them strictly. It’s your Cajon; measurements and other details can be changed to create it exactly how you want it, so go ahead and customize it!
Cajon Making Suggestions
The Cajon can be customized to fit the needs of the individual who will be using it. The dimensions should provide a comfortable sitting platform for the intended drummer because you sit on it while playing.
Joe finds that the measurements in his drawing offer a comfortable Cajon for most individuals, although the dimensions may be modified as needed. The lower the frequencies it produces, the bigger it gets.
How To Make A Cajon Box Drum
Step 1: Purchase enough plywood to construct your cajon.
A Cajon is typically composed of two different wood thicknesses, one for the striking surface and the other for the remainder of the instrument.
For the tapa, use 1/8-inch plywood. The tapa is the instrument’s striking surface, and most cajons require a piece of 13 inches by 19 inches.
Use 1/2 inch plywood for the instrument’s other sides.
Step 2: Cut out the appropriate plywood sheets. Cut the correct measurements for the body of the Cajon to make the basic box. Clamp a metal ruler to the sheet of plywood and use a jigsaw or circular saw to ensure the cuts are straight.
- 13 inches by 13 inches should be the top and bottom parts.
- The single back piece should measure 13 by 18 inches.
- 12 1/2 inch by 18 inch on both sides
Step 3: On the back piece, trace a 12cm diameter hole. Drill a hole at the marked sound hole’s edge and use it as a starting point for jigsawing the sound hole out.
To make a uniform and smooth edge, round and sand the edges.
Step 4: Create your own snare drums.
The snare-drum-like rattle created while hitting the tapa is one of the cajon’s most recognizable sounds.
This is achieved by stringing together numerous snare drum strings, which you can either create yourself, salvage from an old snare drum or buy fresh and attach to the inside of the drum.
A snare drum is just a rope or wire stretched to tension and equipped with a rattle. If you wanted to make your own, you could make a DIY Cajon out of old guitar strings, fishing line, or other wire.
Paperclips, sinkers, or other small metal salvaged objects that generate a pleasing rattling sound can be used as rattles.
Putting the Frame Together
Step 1: Glue the basic frame together.
Apply a generous amount of wood glue to the base and one of the side pieces first. Glue the second side piece and the top together to complete the basic frame.
Cut guide pieces to stay inside the box and maintain correct angles, or have a helper steady the parts while you apply the glue and keep them straight.
Step 2: Pressure is applied.
Large carpenter clamps are preferred, although baggage straps will suffice in an emergency. While the wood glue cures, apply plenty of pressure to the piece. Allow for some time to pass before adding the back, tapa, and snares.
Wipe any excess glue away with a damp cloth, then follow the instructions for the specific type of wood glue you bought for information on pressure and drying time.
Step 3: Glue on the tapa before attaching the snares.
You may achieve this in various ways depending on what you’re using for snares. To “tune” the snares regularly, you should get some tuning pegs from a music store.
Stretch the snares diagonally from the top corners of the tapa-side side, about 3 inches from each corner on the top and side. Use wood screws or attach them to tuning pegs to gain additional control over the tone.
Step 4: Attach the tapa and the back piece using glue.
Apply pressure to the front and back pieces for the same time as before. The soundhole should be at the bottom of the instrument, while the snares should be at the top.
For increased stability in your instrument, you can consider using wood screws. Because you’ll be sitting on it, it’s worth putting in the extra effort.
Completing the Cajon
Step 1: Making feet out of scrap wood and screwing them to the bottom.
Cork or rubber might also be used. Because the box will be supporting your weight as well, it’s best to place it on a relatively cushioned area. Some surfaces may be scratched if plywood is placed on the ground.
Step 2: To make it more pleasant to sit on, round the top side corners.
Take your time smoothing off the edges and surfaces using sandpaper. Sand your Cajon with finer sandpaper, then finish to your preference.
Step 3: Add some personality to it.
Personalize the instrument with your style. Finish it with wood stain for a professional and polished look, or go for a wild hippy aesthetic with trippy Neptunes and polar bears. Have a good time with it.
Final Suggestions For Building A Cajon
Joe offered some last recommendations for anyone considering making their Cajon:
When choosing wood for the box, make sure it’s straight and not twisted.
Joe prefers to use rubber feet on the bottom of his Cajons to prevent scratches on the floor and drum.
Make the box square, so the back and front fit together neatly. Before the glue cures, carefully measure the diagonals to ensure identical.
If the 1/8′′ plywood has a slight bow, join the crown to the front edge (crown facing in) so the upper corners extend out slightly while attaching the front head. This will increase the slap in the corners.
After drilling and attaching the front head to the box, I use an edge trimming router bit to trim it to the box’s contour.
To make the upper corners slap more (resulting in a more dynamic sound), I place a wedge between the head and the box for a few days, creating a little space between the front head and the box.
Be wary of wasting hours in your shop playing your drum. It’s addictive, and you’ve already been warned.
Is It Difficult To Make Cajons?
Cajon drums have a professional percussion sound and are simple to construct in a home carpentry shop.
What Is The Best Wood For Cajon?
Birch: Birch is one of the greatest materials for building a Cajon if density is important. It has a wider dynamic sound range right out of the gate, and you’ll occasionally get high tones with deep bass. Birch is used on some of the best Cajon drums because of the bass tones it produces.
Can You Play A Cajon With Drumsticks?
The Cajon drumsticks are practical because they can be stored in the saddle pockets. So you may create a unique performance by beating the Cajon with your hands and drumsticks.
Drumsticks for the Cajon were invented for those who preferred not to beat the Cajon with their hands.
What Is The Ideal Thickness For A Cajon?
Tapa wood for a Cajon. For the tapa, most cajón builders utilize 2.5 to 3mm thick plywood.
Although 4mm is commonly advised, I believe it is too thick unless the box is larger than typical. Hardwood, 5-ply Although plywood is frequently recommended, I’ve constructed fantastic sounding tapas out of 3-ply plywood.
What Is The Price Of A Nice Cajon?
Cajon prices are usually determined by the features and materials used to construct them. Cajons in the low end range from $70 to $150. High-end models range from $350 to $600.
Congratulations if you completed all of the preceding stages successfully! You’ve just completed your very first Cajon. You can even add pads or wheels to the bottom to make it look more impressive; the choice is entirely yours.
Carefully follow all of the steps, and you’ll have a groovy and bass-y Cajon drum in no time. Fidlar hope you found this article useful. Please provide comments and let us know about your homemade Cajon.