Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to make the crocodile, a percussion musical instrument

I made this DIY instrument out of a piece of maple. It can also serve as a fun wooden toy or decorative element. I made it using mostly hand tools. I also used the lathe to turn the scrubbing stick.

In order to produce the sound, you just scrub the stick on the crocodile’s back in a rhythmical way.

First of all I rough sketched the basic shape of my crocodile. I then scanned it and designed the vector template over the sketch. 

I took a piece of hard maple and jointed one edge on the jointer. With one side flat I fed the piece on the thickness planer to flat the other side also.

I then glued the template on the wood using spray adhesive.

I used the drill to open up a hole for the jigsaw blade. I then Used the jigsaw to cut the handle shape out. 

I used the drill to remove material from the crocodile’s back. I then cut the rest of shape out on the bandsaw.

I finished the rough shaping with round and flat rasps and files. I then sanded the piece with 100 grit sandpaper.

I used a dowel and a flat wood piece as sanding blocks to sand all the different areas.

Using a heat gun I gently removed the template from the wood.

I finished sanding with 240 grit sand paper.

On the jointer again I flattened the side of another piece of maple.

I rip cut it on the table saw. I cross cut the edges with my cross cut sled.

I then glued the two pieces together.

Using again the table saw with the blade at 45 degrees, I removed as much material as I could to save me some time on the lathe.

I then mounted the stock on the lathe between centers and used the roughing gouge to round the stock over. I finished shaping with the skew chisel. When the piece became to thin I used my hand as support to avoid vibrations.

I finished the piece with a coat of mineral oil.

My little crocodile percussion toy was now ready, I am really happy with the way it came out!


  1. Hi, it's really cute! Are you sharing plans? I saw you have some... This croc is very nice!
    Thank you

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