First Cajon Drums (Awesome Veneer)

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Project by jeff_wenz posted 08-14-2012 03:26 AM 7201 views 23 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have heard these cajon (pronounced ku – hone) drums played on a couple occasions. They sound neat when played amongst other acoustic instruments. And hey, it’s only a box, so I thought I would give it a try!

I followed the measurements and construction techniques of Joe Cruz as outlined by a Woodworkers Guild of America video. The box is made of birch plywood.

There is also a corresponding article on the cajon.

Since I am in a veneering phase right now, I really wanted to make some nice looking fronts (drum heads). Thanks to Joe at for the excellent veneer. In the last picture from left to right (koa, birdseye maple, ebony, blue dyed).

I used the techniques from this YouTube video to create the adjustable snare.

The vinyl logo was cut by my wife on her Cricut machine.

The boxes that are dark are stained with General Finishes java gel stain. The finish is Deft semi-gloss lacquer (brush on first coat, aerosol spray can for the next couple coats. 400 grit sanding in between coats.

Here are a couple short videos of some friends playing one of the drums:

video #1: Britt
video #2: Adam

I had a friend take the photographs. Man, she made them look good!

I know everyone has their preferences, but I am curious to know which color/wood combination everyone likes?

-- Jeff, North Carolina

13 comments so far

View WoodChips_Mac's profile


90 posts in 3188 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 03:50 AM

these turned out awesome!!. They sound good too. Great work. I wanna woodwork like you when i grow up :)

-- "Still Learning"

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4009 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 11:43 AM

They turned out very nice! I’ve been wanting to make one of these for awhile, but keep getting sidetracked. Thanks for the helpful links.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Damien Pollet's profile

Damien Pollet

73 posts in 3667 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 02:46 PM

The darkest one looks amazing with these lighter stripes in the middle… beautiful wood!

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4608 days

#4 posted 08-14-2012 03:16 PM

Macster – one day my son, one day… :) Looking forward ot seeing you trhis weekend.

Brandon – I encourage you to make one. They are fun and quick to make.

Damien – The one you like has the ebony vebeer. I liked it and then I put the finish on it and WOW – it really popped. My seam in the middle turned out great and is virtually undetectable, even if you know to look for it.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View Matt W5MIX's profile

Matt W5MIX

34 posts in 3443 days

#5 posted 08-14-2012 03:44 PM

Jeff. They sound great! Such variance in tone, and this is not the norm. Great work!

-- Matt in Dripping Springs

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4608 days

#6 posted 08-14-2012 04:59 PM


I’ll have to claim beginner’s luck on the tone variance. All I did was follow the instructions…

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 3728 days

#7 posted 08-14-2012 05:04 PM

Great job, I’m going to have to check into the adjusted snare. Didn’t do that with mine. Awesome colors too.

-- Bryan

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3246 days

#8 posted 08-14-2012 05:07 PM

Very nice cajons ! I like the ebony best. Thanks for the details on how you made them.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Jason™'s profile


87 posts in 3185 days

#9 posted 08-14-2012 11:19 PM

Jeff Nice looking cajon’s I watched the WWMM video when Steve made his and his son was playing around with it. I have to agree with most of the other comments the ebony veneered one is my favorite!!!

I wanna see a video of you playing it though!

Saw some of your other projects and I have to repeat what your buddy said in the very first comment…lol

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 4061 days

#10 posted 08-14-2012 11:20 PM

Koa first and the blue dyed look smoother or softer for lack of a better word. They have a “feel me” look. Now you need to do a blog about building it from start to rubbed finish.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4608 days

#11 posted 08-15-2012 08:20 PM

Sweet, the website I order my veneer from is featuring one of my cajons. How cool is that?

blue dyed veneer

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 4371 days

#12 posted 08-18-2012 02:48 PM

Wow, I would be sportin’ wood for a while if a website like that used one of my projects like they did with yours.
these are great. My faves are the Koa and the blue dye. Thanks for sharing the links, too.



-- 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 Bricofleur's profile


1480 posts in 4251 days

#13 posted 08-20-2012 02:51 PM

Wow! Great work! I will definitively make one, at least. Thanks for posting as well as sharing the links.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

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