All Wood Drums

NOTE: This page is still under construction (Updated July 11, 2017)

We cannot accept Internet orders at this time. All sales must be in person.

Because of the wide variation in sound produced by different drum materials (head and body), we strongly recommend that the buyer try out different drums in person to make sure that the sounds are to his or her liking.

The original Cajón (kah-HONE) was developed in Peru based on packing crates or dresser drawers which had a heavier wood frame and sides, and relatively thin wood panels which produced a pleasing percussive sound when struck with hands or other implements.

The style made here is called a "Teardrop Cajón" and follows the same principle of rigid sides or frame and thin plywood heads (top and bottom).

The Teardrop Cajón was developed by Bob Konigsberg to address the problems with bending over to play the traditional Cajón, and because the traditional Cajón is larger and awkward to carry.

Traditional (sit-on) Cajóns weigh from 5 to 15 pounds. A Teardrop Cajón weighs from 2 1/2 to 4 pounds depending on the type of wood it is made from.

It is small (18" Long, 12" wide, and about 4 inches high), light and easy to carry. It is placed on the player's lap, or held under one arm. It can also be fitted with a waist strap.

These drums are made from a variety of different woods for the body, and drumheads thicknesses, materials and laminations which provide a wide variation in the sound produced based on the thickness of the upper (struck) head and the material of the body.

Recordings of 5 Alder-body drums and different available drumheads

The first set of recordings are of each drum being struck in the center of the large diameter and the center of the small diameter. All of the drum bodies in this set of recordings are made of Alder and only the head material changes to provide comparative sound examples.

 Drumhead Material  Description Sound Sample
3 mm Birch plywood
(standard on most Cajons)
Provides a 1 octave difference between the large and small diameters of the drum. There is very little echo for a beat. A single beat lasts about 1/5 of a second. 3mm Head, Alder body
1.5 mm Birch plywood
(Aircraft-grade plywood)
Provides a 1 octave difference between the large and small diameters of the drum. The thinner head provides more reverb/echo effect than the 3 mm head. 1.5 mm Head Alder body
1.0 mm Birch/Mahogany
(cross-grain veneer)
This provides a bass "boomy" sound, intended to approximate the sound of a leather headed drum. There is no tone difference based on the diameter center hit. 1.0 mm Head Alder body
0.8 mm Birch plywood
(Aircraft-grade plywood)
This produces a higher pitched "ringing" sound somewhat like a timpani, but with a short sustain (About 1/3 second). There is no tone difference based on the diameter center hit. 0.8mm Head Alder body
0.4 mm Baltic Birch plywood
(Aircraft-grade plywood)
This produces a bass "ringing" sound somewhat like a timpani, with a moderate sustain (About 1/2 second). There is no tone difference based on the diameter center hit. 0.4mm Head Alder body

Drum recordings for 7 body woods, all with 3 mm birch drumhead

The sound of each drum also depends on the variety of wood used to build the body.

All sound descriptions and samples are based on a 3mm birch plywood head (the most popular), and the drum is
hit with a hard rubber tipper (Hard rubber ball mounted on a wood dowel) for consistency of comparison. Many other
sounds are possible depending on how the drum is played. These recordings were done this way for simplicity of
comparison between different materials.

The body-wood table below is ranked from lowest to highest pitch.

Each recording has two sets of 3 beats. The first 3 are from striking the center of the large end of the drum, the second 3 are from striking the center of the small end of the drum.

 Body wood  Description Sound Sample
Redwood Lowest pitch with short reverberation, but a slight echo Redwood body
Alder Slightly higher pitch than Redwood, but with no reverberation Alder body
Mahogany Notably higher pitch with a slight ringing sound to it. Mahogany body
Pine Similar (high) pitch as Mahogany, but no ringing or sustain Pine body
 Birch Fairly high pitch Birch body
This varies depending on the particular mix of hardwoods used. In general though, there is low echo and very little sustain. Birch and Alder drums are closest in Mixed Hardwood body
 Poplar  (not yet recorded)  

All-wood Bodhran

The newer style (below) is patterned after the Celtic drum "Bohdran ("bah-RONE")". It is held by the cross-bars in back with one hand and played with the other hand - using either the bare hand or a rubber-ended tipper.

This is not currently available since it is still in development. When they are available, there will be sound samples posted here. The sample below uses OSB as the body material with Poplar crossbars and a 0.8 mm Baltic Birch drumhead.

Manufacturing the solutions to meet your needs: (408) 395-3921