Building A Cajon...

I've been playing a cajon for over two years and it is great to hear your plans of building one.

When it comes to picking out materials, you don't have to go real extravagant to create a great sound.

First, you can go guitar strings or you can go real snares snipped in half way through and touching the back. If you want more sensitivity real snares will give it to you but if you want some sizzle without too much buzzing then guitar strings are fine.

Plywood is the norm for them, it's just that when you look at the more expensive cajons they have a thin laminate wood layer on top for more of a decorative aspect. Most front pieces are also a thin piece of plywood because they add strength to the part that is getting hit the hardest and the most often. I've seen cajon fronts made from fiberglass sheets and plexiglass. It's not as much the material but the thickness of the material that affects the sound the most. I would choose something that is about an 1/8" thick.

The thicker plywood of the sides is usually somewhere between 3/8 -1" in thickness.

Also think about your sound hole placement, some companies place it on the wood right behind the "batter" surface and some put it on the perpendicular side.
 
So I searched through threads looking for definitive info on this subject but couldn't really find much...

I've decided to try my hand at building a cajon, seeing as cajones are fun instruments that seem to require little cash for materials to build.

In my search for info, I've run across a few articles:

http://www.techible.net/2008/09/making-a-cajon/

http://www.caseyconnor.org/cajon.html

http://www.caseyconnor.org/images/cajon/cajon.pdf

http://www.anneldavis.com/bobandanne/cajon.htm



But I'm still looking for answers for a few more questions:

What wood would work best for the playing surface? Beech seems to be fairly common.

Is it ok to use plywood, or are solid pieces necessary?

What widths of wood would work best for the back, top, sides, front?


Oh and in addition I think I read something about the snares breaking if guitar strings are used, would swapping them out for actual drumset snare wires be a better option?
 
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