How-To: Build a Cajón

Music Woodworking
How-To: Build a Cajón

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A cajón (Wikipedia) is an Afro-Peruvian percussion instrument that consists, essentially, of a wooden box with at least one thin plywood “playing face.” The other five sides are commonly made of thicker plywood, and most designs feature a sound hole cut in the face opposite the playing face. Often, the top edge of the playing face is left unattached to the sides, and snares (like those on the underside of a snare drum) may be stretched across its inner surface.

In the embedded video, percussionist David Kuckhermann shows off what this seemingly humble instrument can achieve in the hands of a skilled player. There are many online tutorials for building cajónes (not to be confused with “cojones,” por favor), but I especially like this one from The Cajon Drum Shop of South Shields, UK. [Thanks, Ben Ehlers!]

How to Build a Cajon

HOW TO – Make your own conga drum

6 thoughts on “How-To: Build a Cajón

  1. M Lange (@errorad) says:

    Darn, and here i was about to make a a joke about cojones.

  2. rahere says:

    Don’t forget to measure the diagonals to check the glue-up on the case is truly square. Adding small rubber feet adds to on-stage stability.

    These also work as useful resonators for stand-mounted instruments, for example a celtic harp.

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    How-To: Build a Cajón | MAKE

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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