Project 2 – Lap Cajon – Updated
*** Now updated for single page view and video demo. ***
For my next project I decided to make a lap sized cajon. I’d seen a smaller flatter Cajon in Cuba which looked pretty handy and I’m aware that Meinl make a good looking Bongo Cajon.
Rather than playing between the legs in the Bongo style which can be tiring I’ve based the next project on a lap version.
To try and create a cross between a Bongo Cajon and a regular Cajon I plan to use an angled back board to give different tones.
Using some spare plywood from my homemade Cajon drum I set about building the frame for my lap cajon. To determine the hight of the drum I sat on a chair and measured a comfortable playing position for my hands which came to 220mm. A length of 5450mm gives me room to play over each knee and a width of 220mm, which is a bit bigger than my hands, provides enough room on the playing surface.
The end of the lap Cajon use 12mm plywood with 5mm plywood used for the sides. To fit comfortably on the lap a curve was cut in both sides at the bottom. Each end is angled to give a larger playing surface and a bit less bulk on the lap.
With the frame built the remaining items are the playing surface and resonant side. As previously described I planned to use an angled resonant side on the lap Cajon to try and create a difference in pitch end to end. This seemed to be simpler to construct than two separate chambers and should provide tone across the length of the drum.
Both the resonant and playing surfaces were cut from 3mm plywood. The resonant surface was glued into position at an angle supported by wood strips and clamped to give a good seal. Once this had dried the playing surface was then glued and clamped into position.
I decided against adding any snares / strings to this Cajon to give more of a bongo sound. I also decided not to cut a sound hole as I was unsure how this would work on an angled surface but it may be something worth experimenting with in future versions.
To finish off the project the edges were rounded and the drum given a couple of coats of Danish Oil.