Red Gum Stave Build

Galadrm

Senior Member
Hey all, haven't been on the forum for ages, but obviously still been active as a drummer and seeing holidays have come round I thought I would build myself a drum with wood cut from my own property!

I really hope it works out, I did a ton of reading beforehand on the drumshed, but am the kind of guy that will work through problems as they come along so we will see how this project goes.

Anyway to the details. The staves were cut from a piece of Australian red gum by a carpenter (as I do not own the correct machinery) and I am attempting to make the drum with minimal tools.

I have had to sand the staves to bring in the diameter of the drum ever so slightly, and have since glued the drum using Aquadhere (a PVA) and used a couple of ratchet straps to clamp the drum. I hope this thread will give some people ideas for building their own drum with incredibly minimal tools. No lathes, jigs, or routers.

I will post photos as I go and put up some soundclips at the end. If its up to standard it might even be on my bands upcoming EP. Lets hope it gets that far.
 

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gdmoore28

Gold Member
Re: Red Gum Stave Drum Build

Very interesting project. I love watching builds. I have quite a bit of carpenter experience doing furniture, speaker cabinets, etc, but have yet to build a drum.

Can you give us some dimensions? What size are the individual staves? Height, width, depth? What angle are the adjoining edges? What diameter are you using for the circular forms?

Will be watching with interest.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Re: Red Gum Stave Drum Build

Can you give us some dimensions? What size are the individual staves? Height, width, depth? What angle are the adjoining edges? What diameter are you using for the circular forms?
GeeDeeEmm
So the staves are 16mm deep, 57mm wide on the outside edge, and 165mm deep. The finished drum is to be a 14"x6.5". Angles on the staves were 9 degrees either side, and the final diameter of the drum, the size the circular forms were cut to, is 13.875".

I have just finished rounding the drum so will upload more pics tonight.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Looks nice but I have one question. How long was the wood allowed to age or dry out before you began the build??
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Looks nice but I have one question. How long was the wood allowed to age or dry out before you began the build??
The wood was dried for about 6 months since it was cut. It was a bit risky to build the drum due to any future warping/shrinking, however I was too excited and couldn't wait any longer. I also spoke to my carpenter and he said Red gum is a very stable wood, and sometimes the evaporation of moisture can have almost a negligable affect on the structure of the wood.

I have finished rounding the outside of the drum, and here are some details.
The braces on either end are made from plywood, cut by the carpenter to the finished diameter of the drum, and screwed to another smaller plate, which is cut to the internal diameter of the drum. I ran two threaded rods through the braces to hold the drum together, and make sure that both braces lined up so I could file down the drum properly, making sure it was square.

I used a heavy duty wood file to grate up to about 3mm off some parts of the shell. I filed down such there was about 1.5mm of snare wood sticking above the braces. This allowed me to sand down the remaining wood and remove the large gashes left by the rough file. I used 40 grit sandpaper on an electric handheld sander, and sanded the shell down to the size of the braces.

I decided I wouldn't bother rounding the inside of the drum, because it would just take too long by hand. Im sure it wont affect the drum too much sonically, but can always round it later if I really want to. For now I just used a detail sander to make sure the inside was smooth between staves and to remove any marks from the timber.

Here are some more pics
 

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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
First up, this is great to see :) Nice work man, & a lot of work eh!

I decided I wouldn't bother rounding the inside of the drum, because it would just take too long by hand. Im sure it wont affect the drum too much sonically, but can always round it later if I really want to.
Especially on harder woods, you may find the staved internal profile will propagate more errant high overtones than you'd like, but as you point out, you can always return to that later if you need to.

If you get stuck on anything, give me a shout :)
 
Have a look here :- [URL="http://www.woodworkforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=98[/URL]

Musical instrument section on an Aussie woodwork forum. These guys would probably be only too happy to help. There is probably someone near you with a lathe who would like something different to do than bowls, clocks, vases and pens.
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
How will you do the bearing edges and snare beds?
All by hand! Ive got the time so Im just going at it with my file and sandpaper. Should have them done soon.

First up, this is great to see :) Nice work man, & a lot of work eh!

Especially on harder woods, you may find the staved internal profile will propagate more errant high overtones than you'd like, but as you point out, you can always return to that later if you need to.

If you get stuck on anything, give me a shout :)
Thanks for the comment mate! I have read much of your wisdom on here, if I get stuck Ill let you know for sure. :)

Have a look here :- [URL="http://www.woodworkforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=98[/URL]

Musical instrument section on an Aussie woodwork forum. These guys would probably be only too happy to help. There is probably someone near you with a lathe who would like something different to do than bowls, clocks, vases and pens.
Great recourse, thanks for the link, didnt know of this forum, and should definitely come in handy with any other woodwork endeavours. For now I am happy using my hands, I kind of wanted this to be a project that I could complete as much of by myself rather than contract any of the work (other than the stave cutting).
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Boy! When you said you intended to use basic hand tools, you were not kidding! I don't think I'd have that much patience any more. I'm following along because I admire what you are doing and can't wait to see the final drum. But, at the same time, I'm constantly thinking of ways to use my power tools!

Keep up the good work.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Next round of photos.

I have since squared the edges of the drum, cut the bearing edges, and put the first coat of poly on.
I was lucky to have a slab of granite lying around, so I glued some 60grit sandpaper onto it so I could use it accurately square the edges.

Next I used a file to cut the bearing edges, and cleaned them up with 40 grit followed by 120 grit sandpaper. I did a reverse cut on the outside, 3mm into the shell, and 8mm long. The internal cut was at approximately 45 degrees, and so obviously a lot more was cut from the inside of the shell than the outside. I rounded the bearing edge with 400 grit sandpaper to make them extremely smooth. I cut the snare beds 3mm deep, and cut them such that they met the original bearing edge height at where the two adjacent lugs would be to the snares.

The outside and inside of the drum was hand sanded with 120 grit paper, which was optimal for a hardwood to be coated with an oil based lacquer. I put tape around the edge of the drum such that the lacquer would not coat the bearing edge.

I do have one question. I am planning to put three coats on the drum, and peel the tape off once this is done. However I know polyurethane finishes can be brittle, and am wondering if I pull the tape off, will this crack the drum finish by any chance? If anyone has any experience with this I would really appreciate any advice.

Also what do people think of using a grapeseed oil to rub the inside of the shell? Or should I just leave it bare?
 

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gdmoore28

Gold Member
Very nice. Thanks for sharing this build with all of us.

I can't wait to see which hardware you choose to complete the snare. Since your build will probably prompt me to build one myself, this has given me the opportunity to imagine which lugs I would choose, which hoops, which snare wires, on and on and on . . . .

GeeDeeEmm
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Very nice. Thanks for sharing this build with all of us.

I can't wait to see which hardware you choose to complete the snare. Since your build will probably prompt me to build one myself, this has given me the opportunity to imagine which lugs I would choose, which hoops, which snare wires, on and on and on . . . .

GeeDeeEmm
Nice! will look forward to seeing your build, and Im glad I have inspired you.

In terms of hardware... I have gone for all chrome hardware, 10 lugs tube lugs, triple flanged hoops, as it is a thick heavy shell, so die cast would have been over the top I think. Trick strainer, and a nice 20 strand snare. I was a bit disappointed that drumfactory had not had the oversize tube lugs in stock for several months at the time I ordered, so I went with the standard. I was influenced by Brady drums to build this snare and they use the oversize machine lugs which I think look great. Could always change them over in the future.
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Well just to give everyone an update, Australia post has incorrectly delivered my parcel of drum parts and have told me it could take up to two weeks to relocate the parcel, if at all.

So it looks like we will all be waiting a while to see/hear the finished product.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Well just to give everyone an update, Australia post has incorrectly delivered my parcel of drum parts and have told me it could take up to two weeks to relocate the parcel, if at all.

So it looks like we will all be waiting a while to see/hear the finished product.
Ah - that just sucks! It's happened to me a couple of times. The feeling of helplessness just exacerbates matters further. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!
 

Galadrm

Senior Member
Ah - that just sucks! It's happened to me a couple of times. The feeling of helplessness just exacerbates matters further. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!
Good to know Im not alone! A very painful experience haha.

Anyway I have managed to track down the parts faster than the postal service could, and finished the drum yesterday! I think it just looks stunning and am very happy with how it turned out. It even sounds pretty good.

Will post some sound clips in the next couple of days. For now, here are some pics of the finished product.
 

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johnwesley

Silver Member
Beautiful job. I'm waiting for a maple/oak stave shell to arrive so I can whip her into shape. Hope she turns out as nice as yours.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Especially considering your build method, this is a great looking result! Crisp, non fussy, & workmanlike :)
 
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