Not a whole lot of how-to’s out there on how to make a kalimba, so thought I’d make a quick one.
You can use the pictures for reference, but I’ll write most of the information here.
First, I cut the poplar into two even pieces, and glued them together. While that dried, I cut the brass and steel rods to the width of the sounding board with a hacksaw. I let the two pieces of wood sit for about thirty minutes before I took the clamps off. Then I got to town and sanding the edges flat and making sure that all the edges and corners had a nice roundness to them. Worked my way down from medium grit sandpaper to very fine (220) grit. Marked with a knife where I was going to put the brass rod. After I got it marked, I started to “v” it out with the edge of a chisel. After it got kind of chiseled down, I rounded it out will a round file. I put a little bit of wood glue into the slot and clamped the brass piece down for a while. Got all of my spring steel for the tines cut out on the grinder, where I then grinded them flat. A little bit of 220 grit sandpaper got them smooth on the tips. Then went to my girlfriend and friend’s house (they have a drill press, not me, haha) and started on my bolt-holes. I first drilled halfway through with a bit big enough to let the round part of the eye bolts to drop a little below flush. Then I drilled the rest of the way through with a bit just a little bit bigger than the width of the thread. Almost done! Put the bolts in and slid the metal bar through the eyes. Then I got the tines all snug down so I could tune them. After they all got tuned into a nice A major pentatonic, I tightened all the nuts real tight, and enjoyed my finished product! Good luck on yours!