Recycled Kalimba

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Introduction: Recycled Kalimba

During the quarantine, there has been plenty of time to learn a new skill. In my case, I wanted to learn to play kalimba or the thumb piano but they are rather expensive so I decided to make one myself with supplies around my house.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Supplies need:
Cigar Box

Skewers

Piece of wood from anywhere

Hole Drill

Drill

Scissors

Piece of junk wood

Saw

The box does not need to be a cigar box but any wooden box will work fine. I got the wood from a cabinet that I didn't need anymore. The skewers are just wooden skewers for cooking, the skewers have to be wooden unless you can cut metal at home.

Step 2: Making the Sound Hole

To drill the soundhole the lid of the cigar box needs to be removed. After the lid is removed the drilling can begin, while drilling the whole be sure to put a piece of junk wood underneath to prevent blowout and protect the surface underneath.

Step 3: Making the Bridge

The bridge piece was cut from a longer piece of plank with a saw and sanded down later. The bridge is there to hold the skewers in place so they can make a sound. The holes cut in the bridge piece should be slightly smaller than the skewers because if the skewers are too loose then the sound is lost.

Step 4: Adding the Skewers

Just put the skewers into the point where they will not go in further, this is the point where they are snug enough to make a sound. The skewers vary in size so some will fit better than others the length of the skewers doesn't matter at this step.

Step 5: Attaching the Parts

The penultimate step is to glue all the pieces together. I first glued the bridge to the lid of the cigar box with wood glue and after waiting overnight for it to dry. Then I glued the bottom and top of the cigar box together.

Step 6: Tuning

After gluing the last step is to tune the skewers. I used a phone tuner and I slowly cut the skewers down to the right length. Shortening the skewers make the pitch higher and removing material from the base of the skewer lowers the pitch.

Step 7: Example

The sound is rather quiet so it was difficult to get the sound clear but here is the best I could get.

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