Friday, October 17, 2014

The Cajon Project

  The Cajon drum is currently a fashionable folk instrument. It has a number of attractive points, it is not very loud, it is easy to play and fairly simple to make.  All of the above virtues gives it potential as a elementary school musical instrument. I have a long time friend teaching in a local elementary school that has commissioned two class sets of cajons for his kids, 30 drums in all.

  I am not by nature a production wood worker but the cause was good and there was a bit of profit in the project,(if I don't keep track of time invested too closely) and so I have under taken to make 30 Cajon drums.(with my friend's help)

1st. you begin with a pile of Baltic birch,
 7 sheets 1/2 inch and 4 sheets 1/8 inch.

 The next part of the task was work space, there was no way to comfortably work with 5 foot by 5 foot sheets of plywood in my down stairs shop.  Two saw horses with a sheet of plywood and some supporting pieces made a work table arrangement that was up to the task, when there were four hands available for moving the sheets and holding them firmly while cutting.

  The Kreg Rip Cut jig proved to be an excellent tool for cutting those sheets of plywood into 11 3/4 inch strips. There are two things which you need to be aware when taking on a job like this with a circular saw and a jig. One, the long arm of the jig makes clamping the wood a problem, thus the need for an extra set of hands. Second, the jig doesn't have much registration left as you get to the very end of the cut and so you have to be very, very careful not to nip the end a bit as you finish the cut.Keeping those things in mind the jig worked a charm.

 As well as a good jig I used an excellent saw blade. The Freud blade I used cut very smoothly with nearly no tear out, the edges of the Cajons will need only the lightest sanding, just enough to break the edge, not to hide tear out.

some of the plywood ready to be cross cut.

  I will cut the plywood to length with my sliding mitre saw because I want to work in my shop where it is warm rather than in the garage where the only heat is supplied by mother nature, not because I think it will do any better job than the circular saw with the good blade.

  Next week I am away on holiday so the blog posts will be atmospheric, not practical.

  cheers, ianw

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