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Pair of Bongo Cajons

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 07-24-2012 11:04 AM 1516 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dear wife showed me a picture online of a $40+ box in a catalog and asked if I could make her one or two for her class at school, (she teaches general/choral music K-5.) The catalog called it a ‘Bongo Cajon’. It’s a cajon that is bongo sized and open on the bottom and can be played with the hands or a rubber tipped mallet. I said that it looked very possible if I had the right wood. So I took down the measurements in the catalog and made a few drawings to remind myself of the project. A few weeks later i saw a chest of drawers along the road for the trash. The sides of some drawers are about 1/2 inch thick wood and sometimes solid wood. I snarfed up four of the drawers and took them home for disassemble. I’m not sure what the wood is, but i’m leaning towards maple. It cut very nicely, but not like pine. I angled the cuts 5 degrees to give it the shape and fit the ends in with a rabbet. The top is made of 1/8th inch plywood that a friend had. Everything is held together with glue.
The end result is very satisfactory even though I know my joinery isn’t first class. These free projects give me a chance to practice and learn.

-- - Ni faru ion el ligno!





7 comments so far

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2097 posts in 847 days


#1 posted 07-24-2012 03:59 PM

Interesting design. I made a cajon a few years back for a drummer friend and got the basic design off the Internet (where else ??). It had a hole in the back for the sound to escape and was oriented vertically. How does the sound get out on this one ?

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

326 posts in 847 days


#2 posted 07-24-2012 04:05 PM

MonteCristo, You’re describing a proper Cajon. I’ve got one of those in mind too in the future. These are bongo cajons. The sound comes out the open bottom like a square/rectangular bongo drum. The difference is that instead of skin, this has thin plywood to tap.

-- - Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1474 posts in 926 days


#3 posted 07-24-2012 09:10 PM

I like the arch at the bottom as a sound hole. Why the division..does it give out two separate tones? You really didn’t mention it, but how does it sound? A halo and medal should come in the weekly paycheck of anyone who teaches children about music. Hope the kids have fun with it. Thanks for sharing the idea with us.

-- Big Al in IN

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

326 posts in 847 days


#4 posted 07-24-2012 10:28 PM

Boxguy, The division allows two different tones. It’s held between the knees like a bongo, but can be played on a table top. According to my wife, they sound great.

-- - Ni faru ion el ligno!

View BigDaddio's profile

BigDaddio

19 posts in 2093 days


#5 posted 07-24-2012 10:55 PM

I made a few log or tongue drums in the past for my kids. I love making musical stuff. Those are cool and I think I will make some for the grandkids, thanks for the inspiration.

BTW guys do a google for bongo cajon and you can find videos of people playing them, sound great.

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1474 posts in 926 days


#6 posted 07-25-2012 09:56 AM

It would be kind if you had included dimensions for anyone interested in making one of these. Could you pass that secret on?

-- Big Al in IN

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

326 posts in 847 days


#7 posted 07-25-2012 10:58 AM

Boxguy, Here’s the dimensions I ended up with. Measuring along the top, length 13 1/2 in. width 7 in. height 6 1/2 in. The divider inside is 4 1/2 in. from one side. the arch is 1/2 in deep. I cut the sides at a 5 degree angle to help its aesthetics and fitting between the knees for playing. My wood was 1/2 inch thich except for the top which was 1/8 inch thick plywood. It looked like the commercial models use plywood, but I used solid wood from drawer sides. Hope this helps.

-- - Ni faru ion el ligno!

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