Heartwood Drums

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Cruising my local CL and found someone selling a snare drum called....guess...and a website was linked so I decided to check it out. Here they have some patented concentric cutting process where they take a log and all at once cut concentric, different diameter shells from sections of the same log. So solid shell. Solid shell drums always stop me in my tracks so since these are new to me, I thought I'd inquire about them here. Any experience with them?

The Canopus Zelkova would be the same kind of thing I guess being essentially a hollowed out log. But the Zelkova is shaped like a barrel with an arc in the outer vertical profile for strength. Because a straight carved shell can lack strength supposedly. Which is what I think these Heartwood drums may be. Now I know zero about Heartwood drums and am not trying to knock them. Quite the opposite, I want to give them some sunlight. I'm really just trying to open up a discussion, especially with the builders here, if this is true, that straight, hollowed out logs don't make strong shells. Or maybe that's misinformation I picked up along the way. But Canopus seems to think so. The concentric drilling thing is interesting. Some shells would be heartwood and the outer shells would be sapwood. What would that translate to sonically in the form of a drumshell? Hmm. I'll leave it to you guys.

 
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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Established in 2003. The website looks like it was also designed in 2003.

Is the company even active? Maybe it's just dormant. I can't seem to find any other info on Youtube or social media.

The idea of concentric circles is a good one. Theoretically, these drums could have a lower fundamental pitch (if they are thin enough). This is because no bending is required. When wood plies are bent into a circle it increases tension and the pitch goes up. That is doubly true for single ply shells because of how thick they are.

But if the shell is hollowed out with no change to the tension, the only determining factor for it's fundamental pitch would be its thickness, right? Well, aside from the harmonics of the wood itself.

I wish there were sound or video samples. Maybe we'll never know what they sound like.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
The floating lug system sounds insane. Solid drums are already the most resonant (as far as I am aware) and they have taken away even the small amount of dampening the lugs provided.
 

Wawan219

Member
Established in 2003. The website looks like it was also designed in 2003.

Is the company even active? Maybe it's just dormant. I can't seem to find any other info on Youtube or social media.

The idea of concentric circles is a good one. Theoretically, these drums could have a lower fundamental pitch (if they are thin enough). This is because no bending is required. When wood plies are bent into a circle it increases tension and the pitch goes up. That is doubly true for single ply shells because of how thick they are.

But if the shell is hollowed out with no change to the tension, the only determining factor for it's fundamental pitch would be its thickness, right? Well, aside from the harmonics of the wood itself.

I wish there were sound or video samples. Maybe we'll never know what they sound like.
+1
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Here they have some patented concentric cutting process where they take a log and all at once cut concentric, different diameter shells from sections of the same log.
We have machines at work that will do this. I'm still trying to convince the powers that be to cut me some. The retooling and programming of the machines is what is stopping it. Too much work for a one off thing.

I'm interested in seeing how a single section of wood would sound as drums also.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
We have machines at work that will do this. I'm still trying to convince the powers that be to cut me some. The retooling and programming of the machines is what is stopping it. Too much work for a one off thing.

I'm interested in seeing how a single section of wood would sound as drums also.
Was a fellow on here from Finland a long while ago who had some solid wood drums, all hollowed from hardwood logs...SOWO or Kumu?
They were awesome.
 

60's Drummer

Senior Member
Any experience with them?
I have a six piece solid shell (hollow log) kit made from English Walnut.
I'm really just trying to open up a discussion, especially with the builders here, if this is true, that straight, hollowed out logs don't make strong shells.
The wood is a natural product with natural defects which can be invisible to the eye. The grain runs from bearing edge to bearing edge - a bump of the drum that might make a dent in other shells can cause it to crack running from edge to edge. See the attached pic of my bass drum. That was done in shipping. The 16x16 floor tom split in the same fashion. The bd shell was 1/2 inch thick - the floor tom was 7/16ths. I cannot imagine how a truly thin shell would hold up to normal use.
Some shells would be heartwood and the outer shells would be sapwood. What would that translate to sonically in the form of a drumshell?
You are asking in essence 'How do shells of different densities translate sonically?' I believe they have different sonic characteristics. I seriously doubt they would use the sapwood for a shell, but I could be wrong.

Solid shells seem to work best for smaller depth drums, but for floor toms and bass drums - buyer beware. I think they are a novelty - not a professional musical instrument.

Bd damage 1.jpg
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yikes. Thanks for all the great info. Sorry about what happened to your drums. That is what I was concerned about. Solid shell vertical grain = weak shell...there's the proof right there.

Any comments on how they sounded?
 

60's Drummer

Senior Member
Any comments on how they sounded?
IMHO - they sound like any other thick wood shelled kit. Nothing special - no magical forest fairy's dust in or on the wood.
Interesting it’s encasement system??
Not sure what an encasement system is ...
Is there rerings to to keep it from cracking?
No re-rings. I would not want re-rings on such a thick shell - but they probably would help keep a crack from starting at the edge. Where re-rings won't help is where the grain runs between any of the mounting holes. There were three cracks on the two drums - two on the bd - one on the floor tom. Two of those cracks ran through holes - a spur mount hole on the bd and the air vent hole on the floor tom. The second crack on the bd was the only one that didn't run through a hole but I think it happened because the first crack weakened the integrity of the shell.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Yikes. Thanks for all the great info. Sorry about what happened to your drums. That is what I was concerned about. Solid shell vertical grain = weak shell...there's the proof right there.

Any comments on how they sounded?
Hey Uncle Larry, if your log is of large enough diameter, you can cut it into a block (cube) first. Now you can set it to be cut so the grain is horizontal. The grain would be straight however, not following the curvature of the shell. So some sections would have more grain ends than others.

As an example of how big, say you need a 20" bass drum. To get a cube 20"x20" (you cut the drum down to size later), you need a log at least 20" tall x 36" diameter. You really only need 29", but this allows for bark and sapwood removal also.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I have a six piece solid shell (hollow log) kit made from English Walnut.

The wood is a natural product with natural defects which can be invisible to the eye. The grain runs from bearing edge to bearing edge - a bump of the drum that might make a dent in other shells can cause it to crack running from edge to edge. See the attached pic of my bass drum. That was done in shipping. The 16x16 floor tom split in the same fashion. The bd shell was 1/2 inch thick - the floor tom was 7/16ths. I cannot imagine how a truly thin shell would hold up to normal use.

You are asking in essence 'How do shells of different densities translate sonically?' I believe they have different sonic characteristics. I seriously doubt they would use the sapwood for a shell, but I could be wrong.

Solid shells seem to work best for smaller depth drums, but for floor toms and bass drums - buyer beware. I think they are a novelty - not a professional musical instrument.

View attachment 87940
Thanks so much for giving us your first-hand experience. Your photos answered a LOT of questions.

Just curious - did the seller of this kit do anything to make this right? Have you attempted any kind of repairs? Seems to me that gluing the cracks and strengthening the shells with rings would offer some hope. But would the effort be worth it?

GeeDeeEmm
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I have a hollow-log ash kit from Luka Percussion. I love it. They’re very well-made. Thin shells, about 1/8”, no re-rings. The sound is dry, and really clear/pure, and explosive. The sound is absolutely immediate when you hit the drum, there’s none of the slight delay with ply drums. It’s a similar sound to stave drums. The sound is exactly the same tone quality at all volumes, which is nice if you play a lot of quiet stuff. Luka is out of business these days, I bought it direct from them right after they closed last year.

There’s a maple Luka kit on eBay

Maple kit

That I would get if I could afford it.

I also have a Luka maple snare that I like.

I agree with 60s Drummer, bigger drums that are hollow log can break easily, and they are also more prone to warping/cracking due to changes in humidity. They are not really giggable drums, because of those issues, and the fact that you can’t just find replacements easily. The snares are great, though. Incredibly sensitive.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
The center pith is most juvenile wood but as tree grows it will no longer conduct and become heartwood. The concentric layers of sapwood at it outer rings meet cambium generally aren’t as dense -probably why large diameter issue- you don’t want bark or cambium and the more inner layers stronger.diffetent woods have rays and other structures I’m trying to remember runs perpendicularly
 

60's Drummer

Senior Member
Thanks so much for giving us your first-hand experience. Your photos answered a LOT of questions.
You're welcome. I am sure with the right tree fine drums can result - like push pull said.
Just curious - did the seller of this kit do anything to make this right?
That's in process. Time will tell - I am awaiting the replacements.
Have you attempted any kind of repairs? Seems to me that gluing the cracks and strengthening the shells with rings would offer some hope.
If I end up SOL without any replacements - maybe I will. But as they are they serve as unique conversation pieces. <grin>
But would the effort be worth it?
I doubt it - they are more a novelty than a precious musical instrument.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I have a hollow-log ash kit from Luka Percussion. I love it. They’re very well-made. Thin shells, about 1/8”, no re-rings. The sound is dry, and really clear/pure, and explosive. The sound is absolutely immediate when you hit the drum, there’s none of the slight delay with ply drums. It’s a similar sound to stave drums. The sound is exactly the same tone quality at all volumes, which is nice if you play a lot of quiet stuff. Luka is out of business these days, I bought it direct from them right after they closed last year.

There’s a maple Luka kit on eBay

Maple kit

That I would get if I could afford it.

I also have a Luka maple snare that I like.

I agree with 60s Drummer, bigger drums that are hollow log can break easily, and they are also more prone to warping/cracking due to changes in humidity. They are not really giggable drums, because of those issues, and the fact that you can’t just find replacements easily. The snares are great, though. Incredibly sensitive.
I just looked up Luka drums...and WOW.

This bop kit is perhaps one of the best drum kits I've ever heard!

Luka Percussion Jazz Kit

This snare isn't too shabby either

It's a shame they're out of business, and that there are so few sound demos.
 

60's Drummer

Senior Member
The idea of concentric circles is a good one. Theoretically, these drums could have a lower fundamental pitch (if they are thin enough). This is because no bending is required. When wood plies are bent into a circle it increases tension and the pitch goes up. That is doubly true for single ply shells because of how thick they are.

But if the shell is hollowed out with no change to the tension, the only determining factor for it's fundamental pitch would be its thickness, right? Well, aside from the harmonics of the wood itself.
Theoretically. I am clueless as to why - but - when the 16x16 floor tom cracked - the shell opened up to what is now a three inch wide gap that takes quite a fair amount of pressure to close the gap. If that circle of wood had no tension when unbroken, why does it now take lotsa pressure to return it its supposedly non-tensioned state?

Push pull mentioned "they are also more prone to warping/cracking due to changes in humidity." Humidity could cause some change - but this is a thick shell and the gap is big and it *really* resists being squeezed back into shape to seal the gap.

Any explanation would be appreciated.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Theoretically. I am clueless as to why - but - when the 16x16 floor tom cracked - the shell opened up to what is now a three inch wide gap that takes quite a fair amount of pressure to close the gap. If that circle of wood had no tension when unbroken, why does it now take lotsa pressure to return it its supposedly non-tensioned state?

Push pull mentioned "they are also more prone to warping/cracking due to changes in humidity." Humidity could cause some change - but this is a thick shell and the gap is big and it *really* resists being squeezed back into shape to seal the gap.

Any explanation would be appreciated.
I think it was in the process of warping, and the hit it took in shipping released the tension that was created by the warping process.

By the way, I think gluing it back together would be an interesting experiment, have you thought about that?

I’m sill waiting on my walnut set from that guy. We’ll see what happens with it.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Theoretically. I am clueless as to why - but - when the 16x16 floor tom cracked - the shell opened up to what is now a three inch wide gap that takes quite a fair amount of pressure to close the gap. If that circle of wood had no tension when unbroken, why does it now take lotsa pressure to return it its supposedly non-tensioned state?
Just my thoughts:
The wood did have tension/stress in it though. Quite a bit. Since the shell doesn't have anything inside or outside to support the tension it relieved the stress at the weakest point. The amount of compression you have to use to reconnect it is the amount of tension it was holding.
 
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