Birth Snare

StaggerLee

Silver Member
As many of you know, I spend some of my time in UK and rest in Netherlands. I was unfortunate enough to be in the UK during the storms we have been having and whilst at my mums something rather horrible happened. When I was born my dad planted a eucalyptus tree so we could grow together, so when I leave home there would be something to remind everyone of me. Well sadly the storm proved too much, and the tree which was about twice the size of a 2 story house came down. Amazingly it missed both sheds, the house and the fence, a rather nice defiant last act. Well when it was being chopped up I asked for one thing. A choice of one of the logs to be made into a snare drum, because as of august next year, it is likely the move to Netherlands will be permanent. I want a memory of home, and I cant think of a better one than a snare made of something so precious and personal to me. But therein lies the problem. I want a hollow log 12x7 snare (the tree is 15" wide one part but only 12" wide 90% later so it can only make a 12" snare. But I have no idea how I would go about this. Do I need a lathe or are there other ways? I have next to no money so I cant ask a drum builder to do it really. I did ask local drum builder Provenance Drums, if I could either give him a huge log and he can keep the rest in return for just building me a 12x7 inch thick shell in return for keeping the rest of the log and if i could do anything for him to make it up i would. He said he would think about it but seeing as what I am asking I have grave doubt it will actually come to fruition... so is there any ideas from you people as to how to go about this :/ I have the hardware and heads and a snare and butt, so its really just how do i get the shell done... :( Anyone who can help I will be eternally grateful...
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Hello mate.

The wood will definitely have to dry to stabilise. If you can get access to a kiln, then this process will be much, much faster. Perhaps you should ask your woodworking friend if he has a kiln. That's the first step in having usable wood - it has to be dry and stable - otherwise it'll be difficult to work and liable to go out of round once turned into a drum.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Hello mate.

The wood will definitely have to dry to stabilise. If you can get access to a kiln, then this process will be much, much faster. Perhaps you should ask your woodworking friend if he has a kiln. That's the first step in having usable wood - it has to be dry and stable - otherwise it'll be difficult to work and liable to go out of round once turned into a drum.

At current it is being seasoned as it were with teh other log being turned into firewood, im happy to wait the 2 weeks for that.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
You basically have four options in terms of making this into a drum. There are genuine builders here (obviously) so my knowledge is much more limited than their knowledge.

You can:

i) Use a single piece of wood and hollow it out. This is difficult to get right and if the wood isn't stable, it will go out of round more significantly than other methods.

ii) Cut a board from the full log and steam-bend.

iii) A segmented drum - lots of rectangular blocks glued together with mitre joints, several layers deep in a 'brick-laying' pattern. For instance, if you had three vertical layers of blocks, the top layer will vertically correspond with the bottom layer, with the middle layer being exactly half-way between the two in terms of where the joints are. This requires precision cutting of joints, precision levelling of the blocks so that they are all the same height and a lathe inside and out to create a cylinder.

iv) Stave. Vertical strips of wood, glued with mitre joints. Think of an old barrel, made of staves.

If you don't have access to a lathe, getting the drum cylindrical would be challenging and require extreme precision use of files - and very sore hands, no matter which construction technique you used.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
You basically have four options in terms of making this into a drum. There are genuine builders here (obviously) so my knowledge is much more limited than their knowledge.

You can:

i) Use a single piece of wood and hollow it out. This is difficult to get right and if the wood isn't stable, it will go out of round more significantly than other methods.

ii) Cut a board from the full log and steam-bend.

iii) A segmented drum - lots of rectangular blocks glued together with mitre joints, several layers deep in a 'brick-laying' pattern. For instance, if you had three vertical layers of blocks, the top layer will vertically correspond with the bottom layer, with the middle layer being exactly half-way between the two in terms of where the joints are. This requires precision cutting of joints, precision levelling of the blocks so that they are all the same height and a lathe inside and out to create a cylinder.

iv) Stave. Vertical strips of wood, glued with mitre joints. Think of an old barrel, made of staves.

I was hoping to hollow log it like the straight unsupported canopus one i tried at bell perc. So how is the best way to do it and keep it strong?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I was hoping to hollow log it like the straight unsupported canopus one i tried at bell perc. So how is the best way to do it and keep it strong?
In all honesty, that's the extent of my knowledge. I would keep the shell fairly thick and building in reinforcement rings would certainly be very wise.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Knowing what I know about wood and having worked at a woodburning stove establishment, two weeks is not adequate to season wood. split oak for instance should be seasoned at least 6 months before burning and that is after it is split. Two weeks would only begin to dry out the wood or bark but be far from making it workable as a drum. I would talk to some other experts in the field but a chunk of wood that big will take a while.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
In all honesty, that's the extent of my knowledge. I would keep the shell fairly thick and building in reinforcement rings would certainly be very wise.
The unsupported shell i saw was an inch thick. Im beginning to think 12x7 is too deep for such a shell, 12x5 might be better? I have seen a resurgence of 12" main snares recently so id love to have one too.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Knowing what I know about wood and having worked at a woodburning stove establishment, two weeks is not adequate to season wood. split oak for instance should be seasoned at least 6 months before burning and that is after it is split. Two weeks would only begin to dry out the wood or bark but be far from making it workable as a drum. I would talk to some other experts in the field but a chunk of wood that big will take a while.
Thanks for that :) So how faster will a kiln increase this by do you know?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
sorry I don't know that but I'm sure it will depend on the size of the log and the type of wood.

Quote''''''
I'm Australian and moved here about 3 years ago. Eucalyptus is not a soft wood. Whoever told you that is telling you porky pies. I consider oak to be a soft wood, when compared to Eucalyptus. You'll want to season it for at least 2-3 years, and that's split. In OZ, they would season it for a lot longer.

2nd Quote'''''''From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:


The difficult eucalyptus species are best air-dried first to minimize collapse. At the same time, drying must be very slow to control checking as well. Many of these species also have lots of growth stress, so end splitting is severe. In one mill I saw them putting a metal band across the end (and down the sides a few inches) of every piece of lumber to prevent wide end checks. Kiln drying green is likely to cause collapse in those species that are prone to it.

 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
sorry I don't know that but I'm sure it will depend on the size of the log and the type of wood.

Quote''''''
I'm Australian and moved here about 3 years ago. Eucalyptus is not a soft wood. Whoever told you that is telling you porky pies. I consider oak to be a soft wood, when compared to Eucalyptus. You'll want to season it for at least 2-3 years, and that's split. In OZ, they would season it for a lot longer.

2nd Quote'''''''From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:


The difficult eucalyptus species are best air-dried first to minimize collapse. At the same time, drying must be very slow to control checking as well. Many of these species also have lots of growth stress, so end splitting is severe. In one mill I saw them putting a metal band across the end (and down the sides a few inches) of every piece of lumber to prevent wide end checks. Kiln drying green is likely to cause collapse in those species that are prone to it.



Oh great, so I have to keep hold of it for three years first, oh wells. Im sure it will be worth it in the end, thanks for your expertise before I buggered up big time!
 

Guru Drums

Senior Member
Oh great, so I have to keep hold of it for three years first, oh wells. Im sure it will be worth it in the end, thanks for your expertise before I buggered up big time!
Sorry to add to your pain, but 3 years isn't nearly long enough. Average drying time for most species excluding harder/close grained species is around 1" thickness / year. Eucalyptus is likely to take longer, & it's most inadvisable to go for conventional kiln drying. Curing time could be shortened by hollowing out a substantial portion of the log, in the knowledge that it would need to be machined again to size once cured, & supported to stop it going massively out of round. After all this, with hollow log, whether it sounds good or not is a bit hit or miss. Only after you've machined it fully do you know if it's tonally good or not. This is why many chose to build using the stave method. It's considerably more consistent, sonically near identical to a really good hollow log drum, & much more stable in the long term too.

As this drum is more of an emotional attachment journey than a search for the ultimate instrument, I would encourage you to open up your construction options.

Hope this helps.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Sorry to add to your pain, but 3 years isn't nearly long enough. Average drying time for most species excluding harder/close grained species is around 1" thickness / year. Eucalyptus is likely to take longer, & it's most inadvisable to go for conventional kiln drying. Curing time could be shortened by hollowing out a substantial portion of the log, in the knowledge that it would need to be machined again to size once cured, & supported to stop it going massively out of round. After all this, with hollow log, whether it sounds good or not is a bit hit or miss. Only after you've machined it fully do you know if it's tonally good or not. This is why many chose to build using the stave method. It's considerably more consistent, sonically near identical to a really good hollow log drum, & much more stable in the long term too.

As this drum is more of an emotional attachment journey than a search for the ultimate instrument, I would encourage you to open up your construction options.

Hope this helps.

So does the stave decrease the time needed to cure wood though? And is there a quicker way of making a snare with this log then??
 

Guru Drums

Senior Member
So does the stave decrease the time needed to cure wood though? And is there a quicker way of making a snare with this log then??
Yes. The log is cut into boards of the required thickness (let's say 1.5" on average), & that gives you an air drying time of around 2 years (ish). Once cured, the board can be cut into staves with the correct flank angles, glued up, then machined into a shell. Same time for segmented construction. You could consider cutting a board from it for steam bending, but this depends very much on grain consistency, & the depth of drum you require. I don't know what the average percentage of heartwood there is in a eucalyptus log of that diameter. If you could get a suitably consistent board from it, it's possible to steam bend it from green. It would then need to sit on a mould tool for a good while (maybe a year +, depending on the environmental chamber it's stored in), the scalf joint glued, then machined into a shell. It's potentially the fastest method, but finding someone with the skills to do that is extremely difficult. In terms of time on tooling & other costs, it's an expensive option too.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Please don't take this as an insult or put down. I know what your Dad did was great and for you to want to make something of this tree is fantastic. I know at one time there was a huge market for clocks made of Eucalyptus and maybe this would be an alternative to the drum. Maybe a reminder of the time you and your Dad spent together, etc. I hope this is taken in the proper light and wish you the best with this project.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
I do not take it a bad way at all! But I actually already have a small clock from my deceased nan, so not in need of more clocks! And my fiance also has a sentimental she will be moving in soon. Its a lovely idea, but I think one that has already been done here haha. But thank you for such a kind thought!
 

MileHighDrummer

Senior Member
Curing wood, naturally, is relative to your surroundings - temperature, humidity. Check with a lumber mill in the area you will be treating your log. They will have an actual realistic approximation on what duration you will be waiting. Good luck.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
First off, I think what you're trying to do is way cool. You could build an entire segmented set from that tree. Or at least any size snare. IMO, segmented or stave is the way to go. Honestly, I would ask Andy what he would do, and just do that, whatever it is. He knows his woods and how they relate to construction types. You want the construction type that will make the most out of your eucalyptus wood. Andy is THE man for that stuff.
 

Guru Drums

Senior Member
Curing wood, naturally, is relative to your surroundings - temperature, humidity. Check with a lumber mill in the area you will be treating your log. They will have an actual realistic approximation on what duration you will be waiting. Good luck.
Agreed. Local conditions make a big difference, although humidity levels in the UK & Netherlands are predictably at the higher end of things. Our approximate of 1" thickness/year is based on local conditions.

First off, I think what you're trying to do is way cool. You could build an entire segmented set from that tree. Or at least any size snare. IMO, segmented or stave is the way to go. Honestly, I would ask Andy what he would do, and just do that, whatever it is. He knows his woods and how they relate to construction types. You want the construction type that will make the most out of your eucalyptus wood. Andy is THE man for that stuff.
I think this project is very cool too. Nothing like having something as a reminder of great times, or a great person.

As for our experience Larry. Yes, we know what we're doing with air dried timbers & constructions, but our experience with eucalyptus is zero, & every species has it's own way of doing things. That said, in all but the most marginal circumstances, most of the basics apply. Processing solid wood into an instrument is a very different proposition to layering up a ply shell in terms of wood behaviour. Multiple thin ply constructions have very little of the original wood structure left, especially after they've been sandwiched between other plies with a massive glue bond area, & either compressed, or heated, or both. They simply don't/can't act like a solid wood anymore, & that's their big advantage - stability. Plies are typically cut green, then pressed to make them more flat, & if kept in veneer form, can be cured very quickly because they're so thin. Even air drying would likely only take a matter of weeks. Kiln drying almost no time at all. http://youtu.be/XlUvfthZl0I?t=2m30s It's potentially a very rapid method, but finding someone who can veneer your log may be a challenge.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
How about this.

Given that this is such a cool and personal thing, there is no need to rush.

If I was you I would sound out some drum builders and find one that can turn your log into a snare. Then agree a budget, method and timescale.

If two years is what it takes to dry then you can use that time to save up the cash to pay the drum builder. Two years will fly by and in the end you will be far happier that you have a professionally made drum that lasts a lifetime than if you go the fastest route and try and do something yourself.
 
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