Since this cajon is all but finished, I thought I’d post something about the snare element that goes into the box. I came up with this myself, but my wife says it’s nearly identical to the professionally made cajones she’s seen. I guess I just got lucky.
Without the snare, a cajone will sound basically like a base drum—boring. The snare gives it some dynamic and pizazz.
The snare has to be attached to something and adjusted once installed. My cajones have a fixed snare which cannot be turned off once installed. The photos above and below show the arm I built and where it sits in the box. It’s approximately in the center, but that’s not what determines the location.
I bought a 13 inch snare from eBay because it’s easier and more convenient than making my wife pick one up from the music store on her way home after work. I can get one at the same price without having to add drivetime to the project.
Using a wire cutter, I cut the snare strings in half. Despite my best efforts, I never get them exactly in half. This actually creates a nice feature in the drum. The two sides are slightly different pitches, so it adds to the dynamic.
The snares are screwed to the arm so that the strands do not touch it. They are set in about 2 inches from the edge, sort of equally spaced from the edge and each other. Ideally they aim straight up.
I install the arm so that the tips of the snare clear the top of the box by about 1/2 inch. It just looks right to me.
The arm is held in the box and pivots on two screws, one on each side.
In this closeup from the last photo above, you can see how I keep the snare arm from moving. Once the front is installed. I reach in from the back and turn the arm so the snares just kiss the front. I test it for sound. If there is snare, but no after-rattle, I turn the eye-screw right into the wood on the side of the cajon. It’s too short to go through the side and shouldn’t ever need to be adjusted.
-- Ni faru ion el ligno!