Recommended Tools & Hardware

Power Drill

This is one of the most essential tools needed to build a handmade Cajon. Many Cajon manufacturers glue the entire frame of the Cajon together and only use screws when attaching the Tapa. However, when I build Cajons I will use both screws and wood glue for the entire drum to ensure that it is held together well.

Jig Saw

The use of a jigsaw is really up to you. Most novice Cajon builders do not have the luxury of an adequate woodworking station so they might not be able to manually cut the pieces of wood. If that is the case, most times your local hardware stores will cut the wood for you upon request. However, when I am building a Cajon, I will use the jigsaw to cut the bass port with. It can also come in handy when you’ve got pieces of wood you need to trim down or when cutting your square dowels for the interior support.

Electric Sander

The use of an electric sander is important when you build a handmade Cajon drum because it can allow you to make the surface of the drum smooth and avoid possible splinters. Additionally, if done correctly, the electric sander can be used to round the edges of the body of the drum.

Clamps

Clamps can be quite useful if you are building the drum with glue rather than screws. Using clamps will allow you to hold the drum intact while the glue dries or while you are screwing it together. It is important to remember that if you are going to use clamps to hold the drum together while the glue is drying that you double-check to make sure the clamps are holding the drum in the correct form before leaving it to dry.

Safety Glasses

I cannot express how important it is to emphasize safety when doing any form of woodworking. For the most part, when building a Cajon you might not need to be wearing them at all times, but if you are going to be using an electric sander or manually cutting the wood it is imperative that you wear eye protection so that sawdust or wood chippings do not get in your eyes.

Measuring Tape

Having a measuring tape is mainly needed if you will be making any form of manual cuts to the wood. If you will be cutting the wood for the drum just remember: measure twice and cut once!

1 Inch Wood Screws

It’s important to make sure you get the right type of screw for your project. When building Cajons, I always use the Spax #6 x 1″ wood screws. However, that does not mean that’s what you have to use! It is recommended to use a screw that is flat so that you can either sink it into the wood or drill it in flat with the surface.

Wood Glue

Wood Glue is extremely important for your project. Even though you may be using screws to assemble the drum, by using wood glue you are ensuring an even tighter bond and will have a more sturdy, reliable Cajon. Remember, you’ll be placing your body weight on this instrument, so the more support, the better!

Wood Filler

The need for wood filler comes on an as-need basis. Sometimes when cutting the pieces out, your measurements are off by a little bit and you may notice small gaps in the wood once it is fully assembled. Wood Filler will save the day as you can easily patch to holes up with it. Once you apply it, let it dry until it is hardened and then gently sand over top of it. It is important to note that if you are going to be staining the wood, be sure you get “stainable” wood filler. If you get a wood filler that is not stainable, when you apply the wood stain to your drum it will not look very pleasant.