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Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:30 am
by Paul Breen
I had a guy I do a fair amount of repair work for, ask me to build a custom case for his wood key xylophone. I put him off several times but finally relented from his persistence and said I would take it on. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into at the onset, I had never built a case before, let alone one with flight case hardware and a felted interior. I never felted anything before either but figured I could teach myself how to do it. I have worked in a custom cabinet shop since 1983 and done instrument repairs since 2000, should be easy, right? 72 hours later, spread out over 10 months, this is what I came up with.

The case is designed with a lift off lid and stacking trays. Bottom tray holds the keys, resonators in the next tray in the stack and the break down stand components in the top tray. The parts are presented in the order that you would need them, build the stand, add the resonators, finally the keys and stows away in the opposite order. The felting was very involved and I started with the rectangular compartments first to get the hang of it, the key tray was last. The flight case hardware all came from DIY Road cases on-line store. I have approximately 230 screws and nut and bolt fastenings which took longer than I would have guessed but then, so did everything else. I added the wheels after the case was done, it got a bit heavy. The tilt and roll wheels work pretty well.

Here are the trays prior to finish and hardware.
xylo felted trays and lid.jpg
Bottom of the box and tray for the keys.
xylo bottom tray.jpg
Middle tray for the resonators.
xylo middle tray.jpg
Top tray for the stand parts.
xylo top tray.jpg
Couple of views of the closed case.
xylo case 1.jpg
Hmm, one can only add 5 attachments. See next post for the next two images.

Re: Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:41 am
by Paul Breen
OK, last two images.

Another view of the closed case from the other end.
xylo case 2.jpg
Here is a shot of the felt work in progress on the most difficult tray to felt.
Btm tray felt work.jpg
Turned out very well and the owner was quite pleased. It was a lot more work than what I imagined at the onset of the project, I probably won't be doing another one of these any time soon. It was an interesting project and I have added felting and case building to my repertoire of skills.

Re: Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:23 pm
by Bob Francis
That is impressive.
I like the concept of unloading in sequence a lot!

Re: Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:39 pm
by Bryan Bear
Wow! Well thought out and executed.

Re: Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:08 pm
by Paul Breen
Thanks for the remarks.

I did actually do a lot of thinking about how I would approach this case build. The owner left the xylophone with me during the design phase and I experimented with different groupings of the parts to see what would be the most compact design. The stacked tray design that presents components in sequence was the most compact way I could come up with. It is possible I would not have paid attention to sequence if the parts and pieces did not lay out so well to that end. There where no technical drawings, just a rough sketch and the xylophone parts on-hand through the initial tray layout. It was mostly seat-of-the-pants as I went, I did have to modify on the fly more than once.

Re: Case build for wood key xylophone

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:23 am
by Clay Schaeffer
That is a great looking case. At 72 hours it's something done for fun, not profit.
I build wooden guitar cases similar to the old coffin cases of the 1800's. They are much simpler to build, but again even with "scrounged" materials, they are done for "fun" ,not profit. It is hard to charge someone a "flight case" price for a simple pine box.
But again, a great looking case, and I'm sure the owner loves it.