Xylophone for Music Class

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Project by Tim_CPWD posted 04-06-2015 04:37 PM 1590 views 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is another project I made for my wife’s music class. She had more students than instruments so she asked if I would make her a xylophone. She has a number of these in her class purchased from Suzuki and they cost about $300 each. Her classroom budget did not support buying another so she asked me if I could build one. She brought me a xylophone from her classroom to look at. Using this along with information found on the internet I built the one you see in the picture. I made everything from scrap wood left over from other projects. The body of the instrument is made from Oak and the bars are made from Purple Heart. I finished everything with several coats of clear lacquer. We used small bungee cord purchased by the foot at a local fabric store under the bars. We also ordered a set of replacement screws with rubber grommets to hold the bars in place from Suzuki. We tuned the bars to the correct pitch using a music tuner application loaded on an IPhone. To lower the pitch if the sound was sharp you sand material away from the arch cut under the bar and to raise the pitch if the sound is flat you trim the ends of the bar at an angle making it shorter. It took awhile but we got all of the bars in tune. The three spare bars you see in the trays on the front are chromatic bars. By swapping these out (no tools required as the bars lift off over rubber grommets) with other bars on the instrument it allows you to play in a total of 3 major and 3 minor keys adding to the versatility of the instrument. Total cost outside of the scrap wood was less than $20. My wife and the students appreciated the instrument and I enjoyed watching their concert, both seeing and hearing it in action.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca.

15 comments so far

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1368 posts in 1610 days

#1 posted 04-06-2015 05:19 PM

That looks fantastic! I too have a music teacher wife. I occasionally make a rhythm instrument for her to use in class. Great job.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Earlextech's profile


1157 posts in 2112 days

#2 posted 04-06-2015 05:26 PM

I like it!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View mcoyfrog's profile


3800 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 04-06-2015 06:01 PM

Thats awesome, for sure on my bucket list.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3639 days

#4 posted 04-06-2015 06:51 PM

Very cool!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dakotawood's profile


199 posts in 2204 days

#5 posted 04-06-2015 08:41 PM

Impressive! I bet it was tedious tuning it just right.

-- Travis, South Dakota

View nayo's profile


277 posts in 1314 days

#6 posted 04-06-2015 09:17 PM

Lovely project, will we see it in action, any video of it?

View Terry's profile


194 posts in 3055 days

#7 posted 04-06-2015 11:49 PM

Really nice. What material are the hammers? What are the overall dimensions?

View kdc68's profile


2526 posts in 1698 days

#8 posted 04-07-2015 01:53 AM

Wow ….amazing work ! The oak and purple heart are very complementary ! You make real good use of scraps from your shop. Well done !

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2289 days

#9 posted 04-07-2015 06:01 AM

Absolutely beautiful. I’m glad you managed to tune it. I saw Steve Ramsey from Mere Mortals strugle to tune his project. Nice instrument. I like wood colours and design

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3272 days

#10 posted 04-07-2015 06:29 AM

Tim, A great use of materials & an excellent result.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ruddy's profile


521 posts in 2360 days

#11 posted 04-07-2015 08:02 AM

That is a great project. I have put this on my to do list!

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1390 days

#12 posted 04-07-2015 11:41 AM

As a music teacher myself I think this is awesome! Great job

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2225 days

#13 posted 04-07-2015 12:23 PM

Very nice. I’d like to hear the sounds from these keys

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1713 days

#14 posted 04-08-2015 07:37 PM

Great job, as alway. Sorry I missed the opportunity to comment in a timely manner, but see it received a well deserved DT3. Congratulations.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Eddie G's profile

Eddie G

44 posts in 996 days

#15 posted 04-10-2015 11:54 PM

Very nice. I made one also. Turned out great. The purple heart was a good choice for the bars. I installed a small pick-up so it could be connected to an amp.

-- Ed G., Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.A.

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