Cajon Drum

  • Advertise with us
Project by sugarpine posted 02-19-2015 05:02 AM 2061 views 4 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We recently had house guests. Both are avid musicians and brought their guitars, a ukulele, and a harmonica. My wife is a guitarist too. One evening while they were all jamming I felt left out. I excused myself and headed for the wood shop. What used to be a drawer box became a cajon drum. Initially all it took was a hole in the back and an 1/8 ” baltic birch front. In thirty minutes I was back at the jam session and providing percussion. Since then the little cajon has evolved. The drawer was small (11 X 15 X 5) and was a bit hard on the back bending over to play it. I installed a pedestal base that tilted the drum back and raised it off the floor. That made it much more comfortable to play. Placing both feet on the base stabilizes it. A handle on the back simplifies carrying. Considering the size, it has pretty good sound, good enough for a very amateur cajon drummer. The drawer that I used was from a customer who had modified a kitchen cabinet to install a pull out trash container. She gave me the drawers. The are very well constructed, dovetailed and have a rattle free bottoms. No doubt contributing to the drum’s sound quality.

-- sugarpine

4 comments so far

View Bill_Steele's profile


748 posts in 2698 days

#1 posted 02-19-2015 05:03 PM

Nice job on the cajon!

When I saw your post I knew I had to comment. This weekend my neighbor (who is a drummer) asked me to make him a cajon. He has one that he let me borrow for reference. I’m not musically inclined, nor do I have a good sense of what a proper cajon should sound like. I’m trying to learn as much as I can before I start design/construction (e.g. appropriate wood to use, optimal port diameter and/or location, and any other construction details that will contribute to a proper sounding cajon. The cajon that he provided is made from 3/4” pine—the striking surface is 3/16” plywood and the port is 5” and centered in the side opposite the striking surface. He showed me how he plays it—by sitting on the box itself. He asked me to make one that has 1/2” thick sides, because he thought maybe that would improve the sound.

From what I’ve learned the surface that you strike should be thin—evidently plywood is a good choice. I’m planning on using 1/2” Baltic birch for the top, bottom, and sides. I’m planning on using Walnut for the port face.

Any tips you have are much appreciated.

Bill Steele

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4646 days

#2 posted 02-19-2015 07:37 PM

nice job, need to build aportable one, and this fits the bill…

Bill, I have seen some faces be @1/4” in some cases, but birch is the best to use from my research. You should pickup a drum snare if you are building from scratch, that way the cajon has many different sounds possible. There are all kinds of variations for add ons as well.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View scottishbob's profile


171 posts in 3254 days

#3 posted 02-20-2015 08:39 PM

nice, I like the ped you put on it. I made one from birch ply and swapped it for a dust extractor , check it out in my projects

-- Ireland, Galway .... fingers! "we dont sell them"

View Popsnsons's profile


445 posts in 3948 days

#4 posted 02-21-2015 05:55 PM

Nice job with the quick instrument build. I’m sure it was all fun times after that.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics