Wood Snare Drum / DIY Cajon Snare




Introduction: Wood Snare Drum / DIY Cajon Snare

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

In this Instructable, I build a wood snare drum / DIY cajon snare! This is a great project for adding a unique sound to your drum kit, and would also make a great gift for kids interested in music. Make sure to watch the video above for more details on the build. Enjoy!

Step 1: Gather Your Tools & Materials

Below is a list of the materials and tools I used to build this project. At a minimum, you will need a miter saw and drill to build this project.

Materials Used on the DIY Cajon Snare

Tools Used on the DIY Cajon Snare

Step 2: Cut the Sides of the Snare Drum

The side pieces are 5 ½" tall by 4 ¾" wide, and there are 8 total side pieces. I cut strips to 5 ½" on the table saw, then crosscut the 4 ¾" pieces with my blade set to an angle of 22.5 degrees. 8 pieces times 22.5 degrees results in 360 degrees, making these come together in a circle.

Step 3: Drill Port Hole in One Side Segment

I used a 2" Forstner bit for this at my drill press. You could certainly do this with a handheld drill. Only drill this hole into one of the side pieces.

Step 4: Assemble Side Pieces

I cut biscuit slots into each of the side pieces to help with alignment during assembly, but you could also use dowels if you don't have a biscuit joiner. I then assembled the pieces using #10 biscuits and glue, and used a strap clamp to hold the pieces together while the glue dried.

Step 5: Cut the Top and Bottom Panels

I used ¼" plywood for the bottom and ⅛" plywood for the top, but you could just as easily use ⅛" plywood for both. I traced the outline of the octagon onto the plywood, using the side assembly we just glued up as my template. I then rough cut the shape at the bandsaw.

Step 6: Attach the Top and Bottom Pieces & Trim Edges Flush

I attached the bottom using glue and screws, but only used screws on the top. I wanted the top to be removable so that I can adjust the snare wire if needed.

After attaching the top and bottom, I used a flush trim bit on my router to flush up the edges of the top and bottom with the sides of the snare.

Step 7: Create Snare Assembly and Mount Inside Snare

To attach the snare wire inside the snare, I cut a piece of scrap wood to fit inside the snare walls. I then cut my snare wire in half using wire cutters and screwed the two halves of the snare wire onto the scrap wood.

Next, I attached the wood inside the snare using one screw on each side of the snare. This allows me to rotate the piece of scrap wood to adjust the snare's tone. The tighter the snare wire is against the top, the harder it must be hit to get the snare sound.

Step 8: Roundover Edges, Sand, and Apply Finish

I rounded over all of the edges using an ⅛" radius roundover bit on my router. This gives all of the edges a soft, comfortable feel. If you don't have a router, you could just break the edges with sandpaper. After rounding over the edges, I sanded the whole drum using 120 grit followed by 180 grit sandpaper.

For finish, I used a few coats of spray shellac, sanded with 320 grit after that dried, then finished with a few coats of spray polyurethane. Once the finish dries, your snare is ready to play!

Step 9: Enjoy Playing Your Snare!

Hope you enjoyed this build! To hear a sound demo of the snare, click here. If you want to see more builds, get subscribed to my YouTube channel here. Thanks again for reading my Instructable and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

- Johnny, Crafted Workshop



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    18 Discussions

    What materials is it made out of? I also need the dimensions of the beginning pieces of wood. This is for a school project and my teacher needs to order the wood.

    2 replies

    I built the sides out of ¾" plywood and the top and bottom from ⅛" plywood. For the sides, a 25" by 5" piece should be plenty, and for the top and bottom, a 20" x 40" piece should be good.

    i got 34" x 5 1/2"for the sides when I went through the instructions. So I dont think 20" x 40" will be enough for the top

    Do you mean cajun, or that the name of the snare? If so, then I never heard of it. Sounds interesting.

    Trying to be nice but it seems there is some wood missing from your parts list.

    Chill dude; you could discourage some from posting their projects because they don't need unwarranted criticism, not everyone has thick hide.

    Yea, my design was certainly inspired by theirs, as well as Index Drums. Obviously, I had to design the joinery, materials, dimensions, etc. Wasn't trying to imply that the octagon shape was original to me.

    That's cool! A nice twist to the cajon craze.

    1 reply

    Neat! I made a classical cajon recently, and this kind of intruments is really enjoyable to play.

    One thing I'd change is the cross head screws for torx, just for aesthetic purposes ;)

    Good work man.

    1 reply

    i don't hear the snare. in your video, it sounds like a regular box drum.

    1 reply

    Yea, it's kind of tough to record but it's got plenty of snare sound in real life. If you listen after I stop playing guitar, you can hear it a little better.