DIY Orff Carts – Get those bass instruments moving!
So, I’ve got three amazing bass barred percussion instruments in my room. Two bass xylophones and a bass metallophone. I love them for the timbre they bring and kids love playing them because they’re “the hugest ones!” All in all, these instruments are fantastic… but they’re not fantastic to move around the room. Bass instruments are pretty heavy and hard to slide/pick up. I wanted a way to get my bass instruments in and out of a stored position to a playing position with ease.
I casually told my boyfriend that I would love to have some carts for my large barred percussion instruments but was sure I would never have them since they cost so much (generally $100-200 depending on the brand). He casually mentioned back that he and his dad loved woodworking and that he would be interested in the idea of making something if I could come up with an idea how. I did a little digging on Pinterest and found a “made at home” version of an Orff cart that looked pretty great. When I showed him he forwarded my email off to his dad. It was a shot in the dark but since it was such a big project I didn’t think that he or his dad would be able to make anything for a while, if at all.
Wow, did they come through! In just a few weeks I got these amazing, custom-made carts that look and function perfectly. They made them to the height that I asked for and tailored each cart so that each of my barred instruments fits snugly inside the frame. All three instruments I have sit at a slightly different height and so they designed each cart a little differently so that all the keyboards lined up at the same height. They even said they would paint or stain the wood if I wanted that, but since my instruments are almost all a light wood I thought that natural color was fine… Yeah, these guys are awesome. I am totally lucky.
The carts come on castors so that they easily roll around the room and are made of sturdy plywood with firm bases so that I don’t have to worry about them tipping, falling apart, or breaking even when used over and over in close proximity to very small people. 😀 They built in a shelf on the bottom so that I had a place to store extra chromatic bars, mallets, or whatever I choose.
I love my carts for my big bass instruments. I think that these carts are a bit sturdier and will last a little longer than any cart you can find in a catalog. The only thing about those catalog carts is that they are adjustable to different heights. My carts are made for each specific instrument and will not change or adjust. All the same, I think that my carts rock out a little bit more than other ones.
While I can’t provide the dimensions or details about the construction process (I no longer teach at this school and so I don’t have access to the carts), here is a link to the video that they watched to get inspiration. Thanks to Sherry Curry (not sure if that’s spelled right) from Gentry, Arkansas for doing it first and posting a great informative video about it!