Ever thought of making your own cajon?
Well, here are a few pointers to get you started, but beware, a cajon is much more than just a box made up from its component parts.
Making Your Own Cajon?
Some players still prefer to make their own cajons from raw materials.
There are lots of good videos on YouTube & web sites that will show you how.
However, this is a tricky process, not so much in taking the materials & assembling them but in choosing the best raw materials & knowing how to put these together to produce a cajon that performs well & sounds excellent.
The cajon may appear to be ‘just a box’ but there is far more to getting a great sound than simply putting the pieces together.
Don’t forget that many of the traditional manufacturers have done it for a long time, have a family musical heritage or have spent a lot of time, effort & money in developing their own process & modifications.
Here are 5 quick points to consider when building your own cajon (these will be covered in geater detail in the next post on understanding the cajon):
- Choose your body material carefully: birch marine ply is a great choice but keep an eye on the quality
- Think about your front tapa face: aim for the highest quality materials you can & don’t go thicker than 4mm if possible
- Snares: are you using fanned snares like on a drummer’s brush or are you going to use wires? Control of excess buzz is critical but can be difficult to achieve
- Sound hole: where are you going to position it; back or side; top or bottom? Each produces its own sound characteristics (& challenges if you intend to amplify your cajon
- Assembly: how are you going to put everything together: glue; traditionalwoodworking joints; screws? Each presents its own challenge & will influence the final sound produced.
The big advantage of making your own cajon is that you can source the highest quality materials, rather than just putting up with a good-looking cajon made from inferior woods.
If you prefer to assemble a cajon from pre-cut pieces, there are a few manufacturers that sell ‘build-it-yourself’ cajon kits containing everything you need. Although I get no commission or payment for saying so, I am always impressed withe quality of materials used by Schlagwerk, a German cajon manufacturer. Here is a short video they have produced on their ‘Do It Yourself’ cajon quick assembly kit.
An advantage here is that you are using pre-cut & selected parts, so you don’t have to worry about choosing your own. However, one of the attractions & challenges with building your own cajon is choosing what you need.
Whichever route you choose, always make sure that the materials used are of high quality & recognised as being ideal for a cajon. For example, high quality Birch is a great material; rubberwood & softer woods rarely are. My next blog post helps you understanding the key parts of a cajon, how they work & how they are put & work together), so you can set about creating the ultimate cajon for your needs.
Building your own cajon can give you a great sound & a great amount of satisfaction. It can also provide you with an instrument that gives you years of faithful service.
OUR KEY ADVICE: Know what you want to achieve; structure & sound-wise. Research extensively. Choose your materials wisely. Build carefully & don’t cut corners.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not have experience in making our own cajons but we hope that our experience & attention to detail in the cajons we play will help you.