Hello! This is a tutorial on how to build your very own two sided small cajon (not large enough to sit on but large enough to have a great punchy bass). The purpose of having two playing sides is so that one has the snare sound like a drum kit and the other side sounds more like a hand drum.
Here is a list of tools and materials you will need:
1/2 birch plywood 2x2 ft
1/8 birch plywood 2x2 ft
small 1 inch finishing nails
snare drum snare wire (found at most music stores) http://images.guitarcenter.com/products/optionLarge/Puresound/DV016_Jpg_Large_1274034479841_A.jpg
orbital sander or just something to sand the wood
stain of your choice
some kind of tung oil or varnish to protect the wood
4 small 1 inch bolts with flat tops that will fit through the snare wire holes
4 washers and nuts
a jig saw to cut a hole in the wood
Step 1: Cut the Wood Into Needed Sizes
First things first, you are gonna need to cut the wood on a table saw into the sizes listed below:
Two 18 1/2" x 9 1/4" 1/2 in thick boards
Two 9 1/4" x 8" 1/2 in thick boards
Two 18 1/2" x 10 1/8 " 1/8 in thick boards
Make sure that each identical pair of boards is flush when lined up so that they are equal in size.
Step 2: Cut the Resonance Hole
Now you are gonna want to cut a hole in one of the 18 1/2 x 9 1/4 in boards (This is where the sound come out). Find the center by drawing the diagonals of the board then seeing where they cross, at this point you can use a circular object that you think is a good size to draw a circle in the center. My hole is about 4 3/4" in diameter. Next, slowly cut out the hole with a jigsaw along the circle you drew. You can take a piece of sandpaper and smooth out the sharp ridges of the hole if you like.
Step 3: Prepare the Box
Now you can go ahead and start putting the sides of the box together (the 1/2 in thick pieces). You want to have the two small boards in between the two long boards and have 4 flush sides. Its easiest to do this with another person holding a piece while you apply glue ( a small amount will due) to the edges that are being put together, and when both sides have glue you and the other person can flush them up and you can hammer a small finishing nail to keep them together. Now go ahead and hammer some more nails so that the two boards are sturdy. Do this for the next boards, making sure to apply glue to the edges before you hammer them until you have the sides of the box put together. Sand the top and bottom edges so that they are flat across for the 1/8 in pieces to be put on.
Step 4: Attaching the Snare Wire
Now you are going to want to attach the snare wire to one of the 1/8 in boards. To start, find where you want to have the snare sound (I put mine close to the edge opposite of where the side where the whole will be). Take a pencil
and mark where the ends of the snare wire are and where the holes are (it is important to make these marks about 1cm wider than the actual snare wire because the snare will need to be stretched in order for it to stay tight against the playing surface). now simply drill the holes and fasten one side of the snare wire with bolts washers and nuts, then while stretching the other side with pliers, put it on the bolts and fasten it down. You can tape it to the board with a few pieces to eliminate any ringing when u play it later.
Step 5: Finishing the Cajon
Now you can glue the tops and bottoms of the sides you have nailed together and attach the two other boards by putting a few nails threw on each side. Be sure to make it nice and flush. Now that the box is put together you can start to sand the entire thing until all the surfaces are smooth and all the edges are rounded (make sure to make the area where the top and bottom connect to the sides smooth and not like a bump or edge). Once you are satisfied with the sanding you can stain it however you want ( I stained the top and bottom dark, leaving the other sides a natural color). I used painters tape to keep the sides i didnt want stained, unstained. Let it dry in the sun for a for several hours or until its dry. Now apply some kind of sealer like tung oil or varnish. Again let it dry in the sun.
Once dry, Your cajon is ready to play! Enjoy!