xylophone for nephew

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Project by MattObjects posted 09-24-2013 07:41 AM 1533 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a wooden xylophone I made as a gift for my nephew. As usual, I forgot to take good pictures of the project when it was complete, though it is visible in the picture I took of my nephew—as you can see, he is sitting on the edge of the xylophone while playing with the rocking chair I made him. Because I know how “creatively” children sometimes use their toys, I made sure it was strong enough withstand me standing on the top and sides before I gave it to him. I also have a video of him playing the xylophone with sound that I will try to upload.

The stand for the xylophone is walnut and in the pieces I selected for the handles (at either end of the keys), the color of the wood fades from very dark to very light, with the lighter side oriented toward the keys. The keys themselves are made from poplar, which I chose after testing multiple sample keys from various types of wood I had on hand (maple, cherry, mahogany, poplar, and red oak) to see which had the best tone. After cutting the keys to approximate length, I tuned them by hollowing the underside of each key a bit at a time and then testing the sound with a little battery powered tuner. I found that resting the keys on a folded towel while testing them was enough to allow sufficient vibration for tuning. The keys were attached to the stand using recessed Robertson-head screws with the countersinks for the screws being slightly over wide and the screws 1/8” from bottoming out in order to permit the keys to move adequately. There are felt strips on the frame underneath the keys for the keys to rest on. I wanted there to be gaps between the keys for the best sound when the hammer was dragged back and forth over them but was worried about little fingers getting caught in such gaps so I cut the edges of the keys to raise the center of each key instead of leaving gaps between the keys. The hammers were just wooden balls from the craft store with holes drilled in them to fit on the end of 3/4” poplar dowels. The hammers are stored in the handle on the wide side of the xylophone.

2 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21731 posts in 3306 days

#1 posted 09-24-2013 11:24 PM

Nice project!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2376 days

#2 posted 09-26-2013 04:20 PM

Cool and pretty xylophone. Like it. Kids will have a great time playing with it. Great job!

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