Making drums!?


Junior Member
hey guys. I recently took up the idea of making my own drum kit. its alot more affordable for me right now, and I need a few questions answered.

1. where do I find tonal woods that can be used in making the drum shells. Im going to be making a Solid shell kit and i have no clue where to find the company's that sell wood that i can carve a shell out of (since this is the process of making a solid shell drum).

2. now for wood types... I would like to use Wenge as my wood type. because I play alot of metal music its very Metallic clean and articulate and its warm ... which is good for the style. now going back to question 1 where can i find Wenge.

3 I am trying to stay away from steam bending wood and using glue because it effects the sound. and by making a solid shell kit the shells wont be under tension from being plied together. is this a good route to go down or should I just end up buying some pre made shells.

thanks guys.... any help at all would be wonderful I am eager to get started and make at least a snare drum using a solid shell.

-Chris Piette


Platinum Member
So you are doing it because it will be cheaper? It may seem so, but remember that you will need to buy:

Drum Heads - Top - $64 Bottom Heads - $50
Front Bass Drum Head - $27
Snare Strainer - $24
Snare Wires - $8-9
Bass Drum Hoops - $22 each
Lugs for each drum - $4 each (need 12-20 per drum)
Bass Drum Spurs - $45
Tom Mounts - $36
Tom Arms - $36x2
Floor Tom Legs - $10x3
Floor Tom Leg Brackets - $10x3
Tom Brackets - $18x2
RIMS - $20x8
Tension Rods - $1x64
Wood Stain - $50

These are just a few of the expenses BEFORE even thinking about buying (or making the shells). I also tried to list basic equipment, not upgrades which would take the price up. If you buy the shells, you will want to have the bearing edges cut. Since you are considering making the shells, I assume you have a good amount of woodworking experience and plenty of tools.

I'm not trying to discourage you,. just letting you know that it most likely will cost just as much or more than a new set. As far as buying the wood, you might want to check out some of the drum making forums. You could also call Precision Drum Company to see if thay have any info on obtaining wood. You will probably be ordering a good amount of accessories through them.

Last edited:


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Your profile says you are 17 so I am wondering if you have the tools, a lathe, to turn the shells out of a solid block of wood? As for the type of wood, I don't know any companies that sell blocks of wood. A block of wood big enough to turn a bass drum will be huge and weigh a ton but I like your enthusiasm.

Try this site...


Platinum Member
I think that you will find that steam bending is the only practical answer.
A stave drum is another way to go that will be somewhat cost effective.


Platinum Member
I don't want to rain on your parade hear,but making drums out of a solid piece of wood is just not practical.If you could even find the raw materials,they would be extremely heavy.Shipping would be prohibitive,and as has been mentioned before,require an advanced set of skills and tools to even attempt such an undertaking.

I have seen artists create bowls and lamps,even lamp shades out of solid wood but not something the size of a bass drum.There have been threads posted here where someone wants a custom kit and thinks it will be much cheaper building it themselves.Even buying say Keller shells,all the hardware,the finishing materials/wrap.It actually comes out to only about 20-30% cheaper if you build it yourself ,as opposed to a pro,who has experience,and will do it right ....AND warranty his product.

Finally...ask yourself why nobody builds drum sets out of solid blocks of wood?

Steve B


Junior Member
Alright thanks for all of your feedback guys.. I was just referring to the snare shell for the solid block of wood. I found this link that tells me the different kinds of shells there are.................. ( ) and, yes its kind of un-practical to think about carving out a bass drum from a block of wood (especially Wenge). I have all of the funds for drum making and all of the tools. I have been woodworking for about 7 years now so I have experience with that. Just wanting to try something new. I think so I don't blow a hole in my pocket buying wood, I will just get enough for a snare for now. and probably end up buying pre-made shells with bearing edges cut. Like you guys said it would seem more practical. the main thing I'm lacking now is knowledge on how to steam bend plies ... one of the main reasons I do not want a multiple ply shell made by me. the reason I wanted a solid shell is because of the fact that sound resonates better throughout the drum due to the wood being un-stressed from being bent (like a 10ply shell). I ran over the option of doing a single ply shell but that would require me to use reinforcement rings. In another forum i read that the glue holding your plys together changes the sound your drum produces. From what I understand a lot of professional studio drummers these days do use stave shells because the drum resonates well. but I'm worried about the wood changing shape. I have no experience with reinforcement rings and I don't know how the drum will react. Thank you for your input, I am glad to be in a community of helpful and professional people. any further assistance anyone can bring to the table will be great. this is all for the fun of woodworking and education for me on drums. I feel that in order for me to understand my drumming more it would help to know how one is made.


Junior Member
also im just curious. so when I do Purchase my Toms and Bass shells from are few plys going to make a bigger sound? I'm looking for a big warm resonant sound and I am not so experienced in knowing how the ply will make the difference in sound.