My Little Girls Xylophone

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Project by boatworkstoday posted 01-29-2012 06:11 AM 5239 views 11 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was one of the Christmas gifts that I made for my daughter (she’ll be 2 on Feb 20); it is made out of Sapele and heartwood of a huge birch tree that I had milled from our property (the same birch that I made her crib out of :-)

This project was actually 1 of 4 gift ideas that I video’d and put together as Christmas gift ideas. The Xylophone is finished in a combination of bees wax and mineral oil (Clapham’s salad bowl finish; certified child safe) and is tuned in the key of ‘A’ so that MaMa and PaPa could go through the scale with her and teach her the beginning of the ABC’s… Not sure if that’s going to work or not….

All the spacing between the keys and sound box is tight enough so that she can’t get her little fingers caught and the keys themselves are recessed to protect them in the event of the guaranteed drop on the tile floor :-O

One unexpected use for this is that it doubles as a stepping stool (didn’t see that one coming!) but it’s solid enough that it works well..

Anyone interested in building this, here’s a link to the 2 part video that’s basically a step by step ‘How-To’..

Part 1:
Part 2:

If anyone decides to build one, please send me some pics!! It’s a fun project to do!!

Unfortunately this was the only project that I didn’t include downloadable templates for as the size and shape of the keys are somewhat irrelevant.. With an understanding of the tuning, size and shape really doesn’t matter all that much….

This xylophone is really in tune!! Check out the videos to listen for yourself :-)

Thank you!

-- Andy Miller,; Twitter:@BoatworksToday

12 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118333 posts in 5068 days

#1 posted 01-29-2012 06:16 AM

Very cool xylophone and a cut little daughter.


View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 4429 days

#2 posted 01-29-2012 06:43 AM

Nice xylophone , She looks perfectly happy with it and thas all that counts….......................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 3928 days

#3 posted 01-29-2012 07:15 AM

The greatest thing about making a toy is seeing the child’s smile!

Really cute kid! The xylophone is really nice too!

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View florentin's profile


65 posts in 3810 days

#4 posted 01-29-2012 07:56 AM

Very nice work!
How did you figure out the length of each key, in order to get the right pitch?


View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 5082 days

#5 posted 01-29-2012 09:24 AM

Nice project and that little girl is so cute!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View boatworkstoday's profile


20 posts in 3801 days

#6 posted 01-29-2012 09:30 AM

The tuning was a bit of trial and error (initially more error).. Actually found that the length of the key didn’t play as big of a factor as I thought in the pitch.. It’s all about the dishing on the underside. A square box with keys of the same length can still be “tuned” the same as using keys of different lengths.. I personally just liked to have a little shape to the design…

-- Andy Miller,; Twitter:@BoatworksToday

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4728 days

#7 posted 01-29-2012 12:59 PM

Wow what a beautiful smile! It’s going to be a while, but I see grandchildren playing with this Xylophone in your future. When it happens it’s going to feel like it was only yesterday that you built this project. If you go to a trophy shop and get a small brass plaque engraved with both your name and your daughters as well as the date it was given to her then a beautiful gift like this will stay in the family for generations.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4909 days

#8 posted 01-29-2012 04:18 PM

By the smile on your daughter’s face… I would say she like the xylophone Dad !!! Nice work.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Phil277's profile (online now)


315 posts in 3814 days

#9 posted 01-29-2012 05:19 PM

Very nice work, I’m sure your daughter will be playing beautiful music for years to come.
I couldn’t help but notice that the couch she is sitting on looks identical to the one I am sitting on right now.


-- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. From a sign on a surfer bar in So. Calif.

View EyeOfTheJen's profile


205 posts in 3908 days

#10 posted 01-29-2012 06:01 PM

This is great and I love instructional videos. on my list of projects to do for Christmas this year. :)

-- Jen ~ Happiness is being covered in sawdust.

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 4485 days

#11 posted 01-30-2012 03:13 AM

Nice job. I think the best gift is the happy little girl.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5709 days

#12 posted 01-30-2012 04:01 AM

I don’t know about the xylophone, but that first photo is an absolute winner for sure!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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