Picture of Homemade traditional Finnish 5-string kantele
I was surprised to see there was no instructable for making a kantele, so I decided to do one myself.

The instructable is not a complete how-to, it shows basic guidelines on making the instrument and leaves room for creativity. Common sense is needed when reading.

Please read the notes! It is of utmost importance! The tag notes patch up my faulty drawings quite a lot.

In pic 1 you can see a very basic kantele model with wooden tuning pegs.
Pic 2 shows my (still a little unfinished) kantele, which has been made from some junk 2x4 pinewood(and it looks like a wooden shoe, I hear!).
Pics 3-5 show the works of a local kantele maker J. Väätäinen.

Additional information and legend:

The original story of the Kantele is related to Kalevala, the Finnish national Epic. According to the epic songs the first Kantele was made by Väinämöinen, the wise old seer. He took a giant pike jawbone and tail hair from a demonic horse to make the instrument. Luckily nowadays the construction is less of a hike.

Many different sources point to the fact that traditionally each household had one kantele. It's supposed that the kantele was property of the head of the family. The instrument was often made and played by the same person, not mass produced by skilled carpenters like today. Traditional kantele was never an instrument of professional performers.
This is my first instructable, so be merciful! And sorry about the stunted English.
Correct me freely, if you see errors :)

And let me know if you make a kantele, I'd love to see what kinds of instruments people come up with my instructions!
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The first one was Unfinnished?

Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!

Thermonuklear (author)  TruthHunter12 months ago

Ha! :D

rimar20002 years ago
I would like to hear an MP3, of you playing the kantele.
Thermonuklear (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Unfortunately I have no kantele of my own(yet). I asked my friend to provide pictures of his kanteles. But soon I will have my workspace in order(I moved to a new house some time ago) and I can continue the project. If you want to see kantele construction and hear some kantele playing, I recommend this short video:

I does a better job to explain how to make a kantele than my instructable.
ohh finlands national instrument from national story kalevala old genius man called väinämöinen make kantele with giant hauki's(fish) chin bone the story says old wizard väinämöinen and bad wizard louhi fought sampo the wonder machine have 3 tubes one gives salt second grain and 3rd money well i stop there sorry my bad english iam from finland
Thermonuklear (author)  ninjatesshin3 years ago
Teehän näytiks kanteloinen,
laululauta lengollinen!
Goodhart4 years ago
pictures along the process of the build, as well as a finished product would be extremely invaluable :-)
Thermonuklear (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
Coming up next summer!
friger4 years ago
I think I follow what you are doing and it looks like you have made a good start on this. I guarantee your English is much much better than my Finnish so I will just applaud your mastery of the language.
I would think a short history of the instrument would be nice to include and any comparable instruments in the mainstream. It generally reminds me of a lap guitar so I would love to hear one. Keep on building and keep us up dated.
Thermonuklear (author)  friger4 years ago
Yay, thanks! I tried to include some history on the intro, but the text turned out a bit cheesy and pompous, so I gave up on it :D