Music Box Design

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Forum topic by Herb posted 04-15-2011 08:52 AM 4890 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 4139 days

04-15-2011 08:52 AM

Hello: Can I just ask a question? I want to desgin a music box … but am most interested in the kinds of wood to use as the “tone” board (have no idea if that verbage fits the bill)—that is: the piece of wood that the music box mechanism sits on. Please refer to:

I guess you’ll have to copy and paste this URL into your brower (don’t know how to insert links)

Or go to —click on: “Movements”—“Box Design & Installation Considerations”—“Demensional Requirements PDF Drawing”.

I am interested in any ideas or theory about music box construction that will … ahh… ... make it sound as good as it can. Especially as it relates to the kinds of wood and properties of wood that is desireable and why.
Thanks— Herb

-- herbc6306

1 reply so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3025 days

#1 posted 04-16-2011 04:05 PM

Hi Herb—I’ll take a run at this. “Tonewood” is a legitimate term used mostly by makers of acoustic musical instruments. I am not one, but I played a doctor on television and I make electric basses which do resonate.

Acoustic guitar tonewoods are usually exotic hardwoods and make up the sides and back of the body. The top, which resonates way more, is usually sitka spruce or some other coniferous softwood. So we get no good clues there.

I read the pdf and the suggestion to make the bottom of plywood or solid wood tells me the solid wood option would be better. Then the creation of the dado sounds self defeating in terms of resonance, because you’re now making plywood so to speak.

My recommendation would be to use a wood like maple and if you want to “increase the bass response a little bit” then actually mill it with the groove. That would be your optimum option in my view, and that is the sense I get from reading your request.

You can check a board for resonance by dinging it with your finger. Given the dimensions it might be interesting to try that with several pieces of wood milled down to the appropriate thickness. In fact, that suggests that while you’re doing that involved milling, make several bottoms of different species and try to make the rest of the run of boxes as consistent as possible.

In no time atall you’ll have your own authoritative pdf on the web!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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