I love the look of Walnut and decided to use it to make the frame, pin block, and ponsi of my kantele. When finished naturally the color reminds me of milk chocolate. I was lucky to find a slightly damaged 8-foot x 5” x 7/8” piece of rough sawn walnut at the Woodcraft store in Roanoke, Virginia. It was on clearance for about $20. They let me exchange it for a 3-foot length of similar width and depth milled walnut the Woodcraft store in Virginia Beach sold for 30+ dollars. I got almost 3 times the material for 2/3 the price. I also used a 3 foot x 2” x 2” length of walnut to create the pin block (the part of the instrument that holds the zither pins used to tune the instrument). I have enough walnut left over to make another kantele or two.
Cutting the sides and pin block of the kantele body was pretty straightforward. Since the kantele sides would be 2 inches high, the 5-inch wide plank was cut into 2-inch high strips with a circular saw. The lengths and angles of the two sides were measured and cut. Great care was needed to accurately measure and cut the angles of the pin block to make the parts of the triangular-like shape of the kantele meet up accurately. Some of these angles can be seen in the left over pieces in the image above. Curves at the back of the two side pieces were cut out with a jig saw. These will be visible in future posts.