DIY Cajon Drum

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mickeyj4j
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DIY Cajon Drum

Post by mickeyj4j » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:39 pm

Hi all I am a musician I mainly play Guitar and Bass, in church and sometimes go busking.

I have been intrigued by foot percussion for some time.
 
At the moment I am interested in cajon drums. I have a small wooden wine box i intend to make into one.
Image

I have a few things to work out
1. I will need a tapa (front of the drum)
2. an adjustable rattle, snare
3. what to use to fix the open join you can see on the back? filler, left over tapa, or leave it.
4. need to make a sound hole. using a hole saw. (where is teh best place on back to put it, Hi, Low, or in middle)
5. i will get some wood blocks (medium sized square dowel) to put on the joints to add strength

Anyone else here made a cajon and have any ideas and tips i would appreciate it thanks.
Just a simple musician who plays for fun and enjoymet here.

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56nortondomy
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Re: DIY Cajon Drum

Post by 56nortondomy » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:53 pm

Maybe check out this post for a start.
Wayne

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6521&p=73653&hilit= ... rum#p73653

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Nick
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Re: DIY Cajon Drum

Post by Nick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:01 am

mickeyj4j wrote:Hi all I am a musician I mainly play Guitar and Bass, in church and sometimes go busking.

I have been intrigued by foot percussion for some time.
 
At the moment I am interested in cajon drums. I have a small wooden wine box i intend to make into one.

I have a few things to work out
1. I will need a tapa (front of the drum)
2. an adjustable rattle, snare
3. what to use to fix the open join you can see on the back? filler, left over tapa, or leave it.
4. need to make a sound hole. using a hole saw. (where is teh best place on back to put it, Hi, Low, or in middle)
5. i will get some wood blocks (medium sized square dowel) to put on the joints to add strength

Anyone else here made a cajon and have any ideas and tips i would appreciate it thanks.
Hi Mickey, I'm no expert (just picked things up from the good old internet & youtube) but can offer you some 'non-expert' thoughts,
1. I used 4mm Marine ply for the Tapa and actually ran it through the thickness sander until it was just over 3mm thick (the recommended thickness, although I suspect that's mainly because 1/8th" is so readily available in the states), 4 mm just seemed to make it less responsive, it 'thudded' rather than having that typical Cajon sound. By taking the ply down to just over 3mm it removed 1 of the plys, also helping it to loosen up.
2. I used a 13" snare that was cut in half, I made mine adjustable so you can 'turn off' the snare or have as much snare as you want but they can be fixed in position also if that's what you want.
3. Personally I'd remove the back/bottom boards and replace them with a single piece of the 4mm ply, this helps strengthen up the box too.
4. I went for middle (100mm DIA holesaw) but there's no hard and fast rules from what I've seen, one company even had a slot at the bottom of the Tapa rather than a rear firing hole ( :shock: ), personally I like the idea of a rear facing one as you can put the Cajon close to a reflective wall/glass shop window and the wall acts as the amplifier.
5. My corner fillets were just off cuts, I made them 16mm square and glued and screwed them into the corners. They take a fair bit of punishment so having the carcass as strong as possible is what you're aiming for.
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Nice to hear in church but not in a Mexican prison.

mickeyj4j
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Re: DIY Cajon Drum

Post by mickeyj4j » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:04 pm

Update I found some old plywood and wonder if it will be any good for this project.

The boards are from some old draws or picture frame backs and look water stained some of the edges are ragged, flaked and minor splits. I think they should be ok to use. Hope you can see from the images how they are. They are bigger than the box so I can cut them down to fit. This will cut away the ragged edges & splits there are and hopefully give me some good boards to use.

Board 1 side 1
Image
Board 1 side 2
Image
Board 1 end
Image
Board 2 side 1
Image
Board 2 side 2
Image
This shows boand I relationship to box
Image

If these boards are no good I will buy a piece of ply for the front and back of this box.
Appreciate any advice you may have on this.
Just a simple musician who plays for fun and enjoymet here.

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Nick
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Re: DIY Cajon Drum

Post by Nick » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:59 am

Can't see a problem with using those bits of ply Mickey, would give the whole thing a certain character too, in fitting with the wine crate theme :wink: . The important thing is getting the thickness right. As I found, the thicker ply didn't have the right response and it was more of a muffled thud, whereas when I thinned it slightly (took off just a bit less than a millimeter) it just made it more 'boomy' and Cajon "y". Just looking again at the first pictures, you may want to strengthen up the two ends on the crate as they will ultimately be supporting your weight, plus you want to isolate any stress from your tapa (You won't want it having to play a part as a structural member, it has to vibrate freely). Maybe just a couple of diagonals attached to the sides and top/bottom to act as a strongback.
"Jesus Loves You."
Nice to hear in church but not in a Mexican prison.

mickeyj4j
Myrtle
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Re: DIY Cajon Drum

Post by mickeyj4j » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:20 pm

Thanks Nick great ideas
Nick wrote:Can't see a problem with using those bits of ply Mickey, would give the whole thing a certain character too, in fitting with the wine crate theme :wink: .
yea that's good to hear. I was thinking of using a vaneer on the playing surface. But why run the character it already has aye
Nick wrote:The important thing is getting the thickness right. As I found, the thicker ply didn't have the right response and it was more of a muffled thud, whereas when I thinned it slightly (took off just a bit less than a millimeter) it just made it more 'boomy' and Cajon "y".
that's ok I have no way to thin properly, (apart from an orbital sander but that can't guarantee an even thickness) so will leave as is.
Nick wrote:Just looking again at the first pictures, you may want to strengthen up the two ends on the crate as they will ultimately be supporting your weight, plus you want to isolate any stress from your tapa (You won't want it having to play a part as a structural member, it has to vibrate freely). Maybe just a couple of diagonals attached to the sides and top/bottom to act as a strongback.
Yes I noted that in point 5. If I remove the back pieces and use the 2nd piece of ply will weaken it again. I was going to get some square dowel on the edges inside to strengthen the box. Was thinking of also making a frame inside the box to attach the tapa too. This box is small someone could still sit and play on it. I intend to put it in front of me, when I play guitar, and use a kick-drum pedal to play it. Wont get any reverb off a wall though so i may also electrify it.
Just a simple musician who plays for fun and enjoymet here.

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