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Project by Stonekettle posted 08-22-2014 07:44 PM 1298 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Zil are the finger cymbals used by belly dancers. Traditionally they’re made from bronze, brass, or silver.

However, metal zils are loud and dancers sometimes prefer zils made from wood for practice. Wooden zils are also sometimes used by musical groups for their distinctive sound and rhythm. Zils are used in pairs, held between the thumb and the middle finger (a tight elastic band goes through those slots). There is a concave cavity in the bottom that makes a loud Clack! when the zils are clicked together.

The zils are turned on my lathe from various hardwoods, each with its own sound. These are purpleheart, epe, oak, and rosewood.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

7 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 08-23-2014 05:37 AM


Another good educational experience for me! You have made good use of all those small scraps with which we have trouble parting.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1608 days

#2 posted 08-23-2014 12:02 PM

Howdy Jim,

That’s a lot of amazing work. I’d love to hear the soft clack.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View DonB's profile


484 posts in 2112 days

#3 posted 08-23-2014 02:31 PM

Well done. I learned something today. Very neat and tidy. Enjoy.

-- DonB

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2584 days

#4 posted 08-23-2014 04:52 PM

Haven’t seen that done before…......very interesting….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View oldnovice's profile


5651 posts in 2788 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 05:06 PM

Haven’t seen those before, didn’t know what they were called, but I do know now! At first they looked like turned buttons. Neat project !

Do the different woods make different sounds?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Leonard5's profile


377 posts in 2113 days

#6 posted 08-26-2014 12:16 AM

Thanks for the info.

-- Leonard H.

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2324 days

#7 posted 08-26-2014 02:16 AM

Yes, different woods make different sounds. Very hard dense wood like the bolivian rosewood makes a very sharp loud click, like a castanet. Softer woods such as oak tend to make a more muted sound. The sound also depends on the shape and size of the cavity in the bottom.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

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