Cajon drum for my brother - a Christmas present

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Project by weatherley posted 12-27-2012 09:11 AM 5366 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Going back as far as I can remember, I’ve always been a musical guy. I played the violin, then trumpet then moved on to bass guitar and finally 6 string guitar. My real dream though was to play drums. My parents wouldn’t let me get a drum set (despite incessant nagging) so I joined a band and played lead guitar but would often switch over to drums on a few songs.

My brother (also musical) and I have always talked about these as a great instrument to satiate the constant thirst for making beats and percussion. When I drew his name at Xmas this year I went down to our local music shop and saw a nice sounding cajon which was $299 on sale plus the $80 bag. Not prepared to outlay that cash I drew up some rough measurements on the back of a receipt and started building. This is the finished product.

Cajons are small, portable and dynamic sounding box drums. Mine has 3/4 phillipine mahogany top bottom back and sides and a 1/8 Baltic birch tapa or drum head. I also built an adjustable snare so the drum can toggle from a tight (almost military sounding snare) to a conga feel. Works great and is driven by a 7/16 dowel into a 1 1/4” dowel. The approx measurements are 13” at top 15” at bottom and 19” tall. My brother is a big dude so the box is all rabbeted and braced with red oak at each joint as well. The snare mechanism is made from red oak sockets and hardwood dowels/knob.

It’s finished in Danish oil as it is a nice easy product for my brother to use to maintain the finish.

-- Steve | weatherley, Vancouver island

7 comments so far

View drbyte's profile


816 posts in 4299 days

#1 posted 12-27-2012 03:40 PM

Love all the home built instruments and musical goods. The cajon looks great, hope it sounds as good as it looks! Where did you get your snares?

-- Dennis, WV

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 12-27-2012 04:02 PM

Cool build

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View weatherley's profile


7 posts in 2214 days

#3 posted 12-27-2012 07:43 PM

Thanks gents…yes it sounds a lot better than I ever expected. Big deep bass and a crisp snare sound when you hit in the top middle of the tapa. The two corners are intentionally left unscrewed to provide a rim hit type sound. The snare is made by the Pearl drum company (bought it from our local music store). I just cut them in half using sidecutters and then used a small brass screws to attach them to the dowel.

-- Steve | weatherley, Vancouver island

View Fridgecritter's profile


176 posts in 2353 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 08:10 PM

I have been following the Cajon drum types on different websites, and have even watched a Youtube video that showed like 50 difference sounding Cajon drums. I am fascinated by it. I am not a huge musical person, but I like these drums.

This one is very nice, and I like the snare idea. I would love to see a video of the drum being played.

-- "Anyone can post a quote on the internet and attribute the quote to a famous person." -Abraham Lincoln

View weatherley's profile


7 posts in 2214 days

#5 posted 12-30-2012 06:03 PM

Thanks – it was a lot of fun to build. I’ll be building another one when I get my new GENERAL tablesaw hopefully in the next month or so. I sold my old portable BOSCH as it just wasn’t delivering the squareness and accuracy I need. I will see if I can get a video of it for you. My brother is taking it home with him (he lives in a different city) so I’ll have to do that sooner than later before he goes back home with the holidays winding down now. Cheers

-- Steve | weatherley, Vancouver island

View choppertoo's profile


301 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 12-31-2012 04:55 AM

very nice. I’m guessing your brother loved it.

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View weatherley's profile


7 posts in 2214 days

#7 posted 12-31-2012 10:44 PM

Can’t remember who wanted to hear the actual drum but here is a small sample. I am still learning so not the best demo :-/ i also was playing super quietly as my kids were asleep

-- Steve | weatherley, Vancouver island

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