16" Bass Drum Build


Senior Member
Hey there, just thought you guys might like to see the project I'm working on as I go. I'm building a 16" bass drum from a floor tom shell to serve as my mobile kick.

I found a brand new 16" floor tom from my local music shop that had been disassociated from it's original kit. It was complete except for the batter side hoop and cost me $15!!!! I scrounged some lugs from another shop for free and ordered some wood hoops and small 1" claws from Precision Drum Co. in NY.

This is my first drum building project so I've got another shell to practice on so I don't make crucial mistakes on the project shell.

I'm going to try and match my present kit found here:

I looked into various veneers to match my kit but it came down to cost...some of the South American Rosewoods looked pretty close but cost a lot. I settled on a sheet of walnut that will hopefully do the trick.

The lug hole spacing was not exactly the same on this shell so my first step has been to fill some of the old holes and drill some new ones. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be veneering the shell and maybe the hoops if everything goes smoothly.


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Senior Member
Today I sanded down the wood filler and gave the whole shell alight sanding. I layed out my veneer and selected the pieces I wanted out of the eight foot length. I then cut and squared three sheets and trimmed the butting edges to get nice seams in the end product.

I then applied contact cement to both the shell and my pieces, repeating a layer on the shell. (I would have also applied a second coat to the veneer had I not run out at 7:30 on a Sunday night...all the stores are closed.)

Applying the veneer was pretty straight forward, I measured out where to put my top sheet and worked toward what will be the bottom of the drum. Taping the ends at the overlap allowed me to cut a nice join then peel and apply the remainder.

Lastly I gave the shell a first sand with 180 grit (was already quite smooth).

Tomorrow I'll stain the maple hoops and apply the veneer to the outers. I can imagine this will be the most finicky part of the veneering process...ANYONE WITH TIPS HERE IS MORE THAN WELCOME TO CHIME IN...PLEASE.

I work in a body shop so I'm hoping to get our painter to spray these parts for me soon.


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That looks brilliant! I have done the same thing, but nowhere near as thoroughly as you - mine being just drilling some spurs into an old floor tom! Good luck with the rest and keep us updated


Senior Member
Yeah. Lookin' good. Pretty brave doing that veneer on your first build/modification. I did a 16" bass drum modification and am now onto my 3rd 16" bass drum build from virgin shells. Lotsa fun.


Senior Member
I laid out and cut the strips for the hoops tonight. I tried to use the most figured parts of the veneer to add some interesting variety. Hopefully it will stand out a bit.

Much harder work as the edges won't be hidden like those on the shell under the heads. Perfection is hard earned. (we'll see if I tried hard enough)

Tomorrow I'll either come out with beautiful works of art....or wreck $80 worth of circle shaped wood.


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Senior Member
This evening I I successfully applied the veneer strips to the hoops. I haven't yet sanded the veneer so it looks a little brighter than the application on the shell. The figured segments I used went down well and didn't crack or cause problems as I anticipated.

I had applied masking tape as a backing when cutting the strips for the hoops and glued the veneers face down. As I was applying the strips I couldn't wait to peel the tape to see what it looked like underneath.

There are still some factory tape pieces left on the hoops I will need to soak off before sanding and staining but it's cool to see a project start to come together.


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Senior Member
Thanks for your comments guys/gals...I hope to have things sanded and stained this weekend. The veneer will show it's true beauty with some colour on it I think.


Senior Member
Well I finally got the veneer and the hoops stained. I used a one coat applicaton of Minwax Rosewood stain and wiped away the excess with a rag. The colour is very much like my current kit which is good....because that's what I was going for.

I was however hoping that the lighter maple hoops would take the stain differently than the walnut veneer. I may try to give the inside of the hoops a light sand and apply an orange stain to compliment the pigment and better match the hoops on my bubinga kit.


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Senior Member
I finally got the chance to get my project into the paint booth at work. The photos below show the components after being sprayed with two sealer coats of a zylene based product. They will get sanded with 320 after a couple of days of cure time to take down the imperfections and prep for the final coats to get that nice glossy shine.


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Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Numa that looks absolutely marvelous. Be sure to measure about three times before drilling so as not to mess up your great work to this point. Good job.


Senior Member
I finally got some time to finish off and assemble this project. I'm pretty pleased with the result being that it was my first. I will however, probably sand it down one more time and fiddle with the colour some more.


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