The construction of a xylophone is a long and complex process:
The xylophone begins as a simple design drawing. Next, the materials the keys will be made of are chosen, although the modern orchestral xylophone is almost always made out of rosewood. The rosewood has to be aged for about two years, to ensure optimal tone. The keys are then cut, although in varying lengths, depending on the the pitch of the desired notes. One of the most important steps in the production of the keys occurs when a notch is carved out of the underside of the key.
This arch provides the precise pitch, and is done in a painstaking process of carving, and then checking the pitch repeatedly. After this process, holes are drilled near the ends of the keys, and the bars are finalized by sanding, polishing, staining, and varnishing. The next step in the building process is creating the resonators. The resonators are made from metal tubing that must conform to precise measurements. The length of the tubes range, but this is actually only for appearance, since the tubes are stopped on the inside. The frame is constructed out of wood, and the legs and supports are usually made of wood or metal.
Wheels are also constructed on the bottom that can be locked or unlocked. The next step is to combine the bars and the resonator on the frame. The stop is inserted in the resonator after is has been sound-checked, and then all of the components are attached to the frame with screws. The last step is to construct the mallet. The mallet handle can be made of a variety of materials, and the head is made of rubber or plastic around a core of wound cord. The construction process is now complete, although most xylophones are put through a number of quality control tests.