Kids and adults alike know the entertainment value of this easily mastered musical instrument. The building process involves the use of a table saw or bandsaw, stationary sander, and drill press, which makes this project an ideal introduction to using stationary tools. The kazoo’s appeal, as well as the simplicity and reproducibility of this design and its hardware, make it an easy choice for students to explore entrepreneurship through simple profit calculations, making several kazoos at once, and even recording video demonstrations for advertising purposes. Download Project
Tools & Materials
- hardwood (maple, alder, oak, arbutus) – finished dimension of 1/8” x 6”x 6”
- food grade finish
- wood glue
- 1 x wing bolt and matching wingnut
- waxed paper
- drill press
- sand paper (increasing grits 80 to 220)
- bandsaw or scroll saw
- Plane down an approximately 6”x6” piece of hardwood to 1/8”.
- On your piece, pencil in the outlines of the top and bottom pieces (1-½" by 6”), the side strips (1/4” by 6”), and the waxed paper holder piece (1-½” x 1”).
- Draw the ½" and wingnut hole placements for the top and waxed paper holder. Use a ½" Forstner for the big holes, and make sure you customize your small holes for the diameter of your wing bolt.
- Cut out all 5 pieces on a bandsaw or using a scroll saw. Line the side pieces up, making sure the 1/8” edges are touching the top and bottom (the top and bottom pieces should be ¼” apart).
- Fit the wing bolt into the hole you drilled in the top piece and arrange so that the wing bolt head is INSIDE the kazoo, then lay the top onto the side pieces. Make some light pencil marks along the inside of the top and bottom pieces so you can see where to place your side pieces when you are ready to glue.
- Spread glue on surfaces, arrange your pieces, and clamp until dry.
- Sand off the overhanging edges of the top and bottom pieces and round the corners. Be careful to keep the top of your kazoo very flat so that when you attach the waxed paper and the wingnut, the paper is held evenly and securely between the wood pieces.
- Apply your oil or other food grade finish to your kazoo.
- Using the waxed paper holder piece as a stencil, use a pencil to draw out the shape on a piece of waxed paper and cut it out. Put the waxed paper piece on the top of your kazoo to cover the hole, place the paper holder over top, line up the large holes, and secure with your wingnut.
- Your kazoo is ready to play!
- Consider how your procedure would change if you were to plan on making 20 kazoos at once.
- Experiment by making kazoos with different dimensions and shapes (longer, shorter, wider, thicker, etc), different hole sizes and placements, angling the side pieces to make a trapezoid kazoo, different thicknesses, etc, to see if it changes the sound of the kazoo.
- Laminate different colour hardwoods into a block and cut your top and bottom pieces at an angle to create stripes on your kazoo.