Backyard Xylophone

Frank Di Leo discovered more than flowers at Canada Blooms. He walked away from Bienenstock's natural playground exhibit with a big idea for his own backyard: an oversized DIY xylophone!

Frank Di Leo's DIY wooden backyard xylophone.Materials

4 8-ft. two-by-fours
washers and screws
rope
pencil
saw
straight edge
measuring tape
metal hoops/carabiners

Method

  1. Gather two-by-fours. Cut into 13 pieces, starting with a 12-in. segment and increasing length by 2 in. with each subsequent segment (e.g. 12 in., 14 in., 16 in., 18 in., etc.). These will form the bars of the xylophone.
  2. Lay out wood pieces symmetrically and in sequence from smallest to largest on your work surface.
  3. Find nodes on each piece of wood: Measure 22.5% of the length in from each end of the smallest and largest pieces of wood; mark. Using a straight edge, connect the dots by drawing a diagonal line between the nodal points on each side of the smallest and largest pieces of wood. That should automatically identify the nodes on the remaining pieces of wood without having to measure 22.5% in on each piece individually.
  4. Drill hole at all nodes, then lay down washers and insert screws. Don't drill screws all the way in yet; you'll need to leave room for the rope to connect everything together.
  5. Wrap rope around each screw and secure by drilling screw in tightly over rope. Leave 2-3 in. between each piece of wood.
  6. Cut excess rope, taking care to leave ample length for hanging.
  7. Tongue oil or paint as you please. Hang from tree or overhang with metal hooks or carabiners and get playing! Wooden dowels inserted into skateboard wheels make the perfect drumsticks.

What's a Node?

A node is the point in a piece of wood that doesn't move or moves the least when struck. Fastening each bar at its nodal points allows it to still vibrate/oscillate freely, which is what creates the bar's unique musical tone.

 

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