How to Build a Cajon

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Introduction: How to Build a Cajon

About: Hi! I'm a guy who find it's cool to create things!
A Cajon is a common instrument in South America. It is often related to flamenco music/ samba.But you can use it just as a real drum with a guitar for accompany. When you play the cajon, you are sitting on it an drumming with your hands on the front side of the drum. You can find out a whole technics and learning stuff if you just search on cajon drumming on youtube for example.

In this instructable I will tell you how I builded my Cajon!

Step 1: The Construction

I looked up a whole bunch of sites on how to build cajons on google. There were plenty of people who had nice instructions on how they builded there cajons. But i decided to create one from a construction i found on Orcana Artesania* . It was an easy instruction except it was in Spanish but I did only use the measurements. Instead of having guitar strings in it I bought a snare drum wire that i put in it.

*Link : http://www.ocanartesania.com/

This is the parts of the box and the measurements: (see the PDF file)

Step 2: Building the Drum

The building of the drum box was quite easy. I used plywood as material. For the frontside I used a thinner type of plywood like 3 mm thick. Then i cutted out the parts. I used a circle saw. For the hole I first drilled a small hole then I used a jigsaw to cut out the larger hole. When I had all the parts I used screws/nails and glue to put all the parts together except the front side. The front side i used smaller screws and no glue. The thing is that if you use screws it is useful for tension of the drum surface. Before I screw the frontside I fixed the snare drum wire inside it. It was the trickiest part. I had an idea that I stole from another building site I found. I had two thin iron boards that held the plastic tape of the snare wire. Then i had one screw in the middle of the two boards that I drilled a hole for to the outside of the drum*. When it was done I put the frontside in its place.

*See picture

Step 3: The Finished Drum!

This is the finished drum!

Look at the pictures! =)

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31 Comments

I wonder, since on the front you have to put screws to tune up the Cajón... Do you think is a good idea to use thread inserts to avoid the plywood to tear down?

Thank you. It's cool.

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Here's the english version of those instructions:
http://www.davidbruce.net/building_cajon.pdf

The instructions are in German, not spanish...

The vid sound isn't the best, but I've heard these in real life, and its like half a drum set in one box! Might build one once i have time...

Maybe! Let's find out =D

I'm going to try it with spruce, and I'll tell ya about it when I'm done.
Awesome 'ible!!

It was a bit tricky to tighten the snare wire! I got to metal plates as you can see in the pictue, those are tighten with two metal screws and two nuts on the inside of the drum. On the outside of the drum I only got one wingnut to tighten the whole construction. I don't find wingnuts are so sharp that they could have your leg bleedning but of course everthing can happen! Build it on yor own risk! =P

man, this is right up my alley! i already beat on everything in sight, this is another project for me!

I'm also a little confused how you arranged the snare in the cajon. I much prefer this way to loose snare wires, but I don't understand how you attached the snares. Could you explain a little more?

So using the wing nut can you tighten and loosen the snare without opening the box? If so, I'm not sure from this photo I can tell how the strap would move. Also, have you found the placement of the wing nut troublesome? I'd hate to get my leg up against that too many times. Already looks like some blood on the side . . . :O)

I JUST built a Cajon! I saw one at a jam and thought,"I can do that!" It was a fun and easy build. Mine is not as loud as I may wish. My next one will be better.

I just finished mine. I used actual snare drum tensioning devices that are inside the box and the snare is shimmed up on the edges to keep them pressed against the tapa. It sounds great, but in the future I might want to test out a traditional guitar string setup. I made mine out of crappy warped plywood I found and flattened down with a box of chains(kind of worked), some cedar scraps for an internal frame, and 1/8" birch front plywood for the tapa. I was also looking into the Marímbula idea that bigredlevy mentioned, but to do this the sound hole would have to be put on the side. Overall: really fun instrument, great jamming applications, and very easy to tweak and make interesting by adding different types of snares, wires, etc. to the inside of the box.

Does the placement of the snares on the drum matter? Should they be horizontal, vertical, further up or down, etc.?

2 replies

Further up, cause you want to get the snare sound further up rather than down!

ok, so I should be horizontal to the front of the box?