Acoustic Guitar Construction in the small shop -- Kenneth Michael Guitars LLC

Information, ideas and help for those constructing scratch built acoustic guitars or acoustic guitar kits - © 2017
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The purpose of this forum site is to provide a means for acoustic guitar makers at all skill levels to forward information, share experience and ask questions if project obstacles are encountered. We ask that egos be left at the door – the highest levels of courtesy and respect are to be shown to all. Posts containing disparaging comments will be removed. The “Acoustic Guitar Construction Forum” is owned by Kenneth Michael Guitars and is copy protected. Direct links to luthier suppliers are not permitted and will be edited.

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 Post subject: Cajon
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:37 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:03 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Marshall, MI
Cajon Will Reyer 09/02/17

One of the friends that gigs with me here, David, also having granddaughters, several years ago made a couple cajons.

Duh, made whats? I cheerfully confess to being denser in my '70's than I was in, say, 8th grade. A cajon is a Peruvian invention, Spanish for drawer/box/crate. A drum box. Since my daughter is busily reinventing herself in middle age as a heavy metal drummer, it seemed to me that my granddaughters, 3 and 7, might want to imitate mama or play along without having to learn bass pedal, snare, tom-tom, high hat, etc.

So David brought one of his cajons out when my granddaughters were here in July, and I wrote down some pertinent dimensions. David made his out of 1/2” birch plywood, I think, and I happened to have some leftover pieces of softwood veneer of that thickness sufficient for the project. His outside dimensions were 12” x 12” x 18” and he assembled his box with dovetails, using a thin piece of walnut for the 6th side, the drum head surface. All varnished up and elegant.

The 12” x 12” x 18” dimensions are used for my 5 plywood pieces but they're framed over 3/4” x 1-1/4” scraps of white pine of those lengths all around, leaving me total overall dimensions 1” bigger in all directions. The plywood is glued and stapled to the pine framing. I ran a rounding over bit on all the exposed plywood edges.

I used some scrap 3-ply underlayment plywood for the drum head surface, sanding it down to just about .125”. Put a coat of sanding sealer and then wiping urethane on the drum head, as I had it on hand. Framing for the drum head surface is white pine radiused to match the plywood edges.

I attached the drum head surface with stainless phillips round head screws to David's spacing pattern. He used brass slotted head screws, a nice contrast with his walnut. Screws are on 2” centers except both top corners avoid screws for 3-1/2” in both directions to let the tap pitch change.

In the back is a sound hole centered 8” up from the bottom, diameter 4/5/8”. Radiused both in and outside edges of this. Bought 4 nail-on furniture feet with carpeted surfaces to avoid scratching hardwood floors. Found a quart of blue interior enamel at the paint store for $5 that someone rejected for some reason, looks nice on the plywood to a Umich grad. Sit on it to play.

David strung some old guitar A (5th) strings inside the drum head from top center to mid-side, made variable tension devices from eyebolts, to give a snare drum effect. I bought a couple tension strings for same purpose, hung them on screw eyes from top center and 7” down each side. They were stronger and bigger diameter than I would have liked and don't have near the proper snare effect of David's guitar strings. I may rework that before taking the cajon to Austin in October.

Photos are sideways to meet the pixel strictures of Ken's site, reduced to 35% of the original - just tip yer head, hah!

cajon_ft.jpg [ 143.21 KiB | Viewed 228 times ]
cajon_bak.jpg [ 153.72 KiB | Viewed 228 times ]
 Post subject: Re: Cajon
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:02 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:01 pm
Posts: 756
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
This is a very interesting instrument. I never heard of it myself, either. I am curious what it sounds like.

I noticed that the drummer in Jack Fate's band for "Masked and Anonymous" used a cardboard box and a brush, probably with a microphone. The song was "I'll Remember You".


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