This Tin Can/Pallet Wood Musical Instrument is inspired by a Hungarian cymbalom, which is a zither with hammered strings. I used tin cans as the resonators, guitar strings and pallet wood for the body. The wood is raw; each board has two tin cans on a threaded shaft with tape, two steel bridges, and guitar pegs. There is a video for you to watch as well.
Tin Can/Pallet Wood Musical Instrument - an outstanding achievement in creativity and upcycling:
- Three pallet deck boards, cut to different lengths (see photos)
- two 1x2" strips to mount the boards together
- Six pieces of threaded rod or long bolts (threaded rod may be cheaper!)
- Six steel bridges
- 12 guitar pegs
- Six empty, clean & dry cans to be used as resonators
- Nuts/bolts/nylon washers for guitar pegs
- 6 threaded shafts
- Nuts/bolts to mount the shafts to the boards
- small screws to fasten the bridges
- Guitar tuner (there are guitar tuner programs available online too).
Tin Can/Pallet Wood Musical Instrument - Starting the build:
I built this in only four hours, so it seems easy to me. However, it may be considered hard, depending on your mechanical abilities. Supplies are modest, and it cost about 60 dollars to make this. The cans are similar to canned meat tins that share a name with annoying emails (haha). First, start with three boards, and cut them to different lengths, increasing by approximately 5" each.
Next, empty, wash and dry six cans that you can use as resonators. Remove any labels if they have plastic-wrapped styles. I drilled a hole through the long end of each can. This allowed me to mount the cans vertically as shown in the photos. Then, drill two small holes, just large enough to slide the guitar strings through. I anchored the guitar strings around the center post that run up through the cans later in the build. Set the cans aside for now.
Tin Can/Pallet Wood Musical Instrument - Prepping the base:
Cut the wood to length and sand smooth. I fitted the edges of the boards together fairly tightly, but that isn't critical if you want a more rustic look. Next, I drilled three holes in each end: one for the resonator mount and two for the guitar pegs. Pre-drill two more holes on each end for the steel bridges. Next, mount the three boards onto the 1x2" strips, mounting the strips in a V-shape to provide more stability and strength. Secure each board with two fasteners for each of the two 1x2"s.
Tin Can/Pallet Wood Musical Instrument - Assembly:
Install the threaded rod into the board and secure with a washer/nut on both top and bottom sides of the boards. Slide the cans down onto the threaded rod. Next, install all of the guitar pegs and secure with nuts/bolts/nylon washers. If your steel bridges do not have holes, drill two small holes in each (see photos). Route the guitar strings per the pictures, securing them into the guitar pegs. Now, have some fun tuning the instrument and learning to play it!