Spalted Birch full kit build

uniongoon

Gold Member
Been drying this wood for the past 2 years, from a tree cut down a few doors down from my house. The kick was originally done in two pieces because it was too scary turning it on my lathe in one big chunk, that is a ton of rotating mass. Even in two pieces, one of the halves did not survive and the amount I had left of this rare wood was not strong enough to do over. So I did a piece from some mill bought Birch and cut it in two and interlocked it on each end of the kick, getting to my desired depth of 16".
Re-rings are steambent birch and are milled flush to the inner shell walls.
Bearing edges are rough cut so far, 30 degree inner cut and a slight 45 on the outer.

10"12"15" and 24" with a 14X6 1/2" snare. Almost to the finishing stage which will be a simple matte natural.




 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
OH MY !!! Looks great.

Looks like it will be a beautiful kit with a beautiful finish if you stain and clear coat it.

Also might be kind of a heavy kit.


.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
that looks amazing! Can't wait to see it finished! :)
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
OH MY !!! Looks great.

Looks like it will be a beautiful kit with a beautiful finish if you stain and clear coat it.

Also might be kind of a heavy kit.


.

Not heavy at all. I make my shells thinner than most stave builders, the re-rings are needed to reinforce the shell strength. 3/8" thick. The kick shell is even a little thinner but the end pieces are still pretty thick, about 7/16".
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
An interesting build, & quite a process!

The kick was originally done in two pieces because it was too scary turning it on my lathe in one big chunk, that is a ton of rotating mass.
Scary it can certainly be, & risky too (for the shell). Unfortunately, you found that out the upsetting way. Looking forward to the finished article :)
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
Thank you all for the comments. Andy, you can see the remnants of the original kick drum half in the pail on the last picture. I knew the wood was not strong enough and was likely to fail, I fired up the lathe and stood back and it blew, did not even touch the tool to it lol. But I have exploded 3 or 4 shells due to various mistakes, getting too aggressive with the cutting tool, improper sharpening causing the tool to get sucked in etc. It just takes one piece to let go and the cascade is almost instant. Sometimes I make my first cuts wearing a full face crash helmet, and I always stand off to the side of the piece I am turning.

To give others some wood education. The amazing grain pattern is caused by the precursor to "rot". It happens naturally and is not always successfully beautiful like this wood, and you can not know what you have until you cut into the log. If you wait too long, the wood begins to rot, get soft and is unusable. Such as the case of the broken shell, I was running out of my supply and was using the final pieces to get the last shell half built. Also spalted wood can be hard and strong but one of those grain lines can be a weak link that really is next to impossible to detect until you start working it, this makes having a spalted kit that much more rare, not an easy process.
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
Truly beautiful. Don't forget to show us the finished drums!
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Incredible! One of the nicest grain patterns I have ever seen! Can't wait to see more, UG!
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Very very nice. The orange tinge really works. Surprised how thin you get these shells.
Love the shop too. Do you work on this stuff all weekends or...?
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
Very very nice. The orange tinge really works. Surprised how thin you get these shells.
Love the shop too. Do you work on this stuff all weekends or...?

I always intend to keep track of my labour hours, but then end up procrastinating. Figure I will have 150 hours by the time the kit is done. I try to get out a few evenings for a couple hours, and some weekends. I build for personal reasons, piece of mind, relaxation, and a desire to better my craft, so when I get sick of it I take a break. I have a pretty demanding day job, this is a hobby.
 

single-ply

Senior Member
Beautiful work! However, I made the mistake of clicking on one of the photos and was redirected to your photobucket file. I enjoyed seeing all of the in-progress photos, but then I got to the pitchfork photo. YIKES! Might want to move that one. Looks like that was a bad day at the office!
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Those shells look beautiful!

I really hope we get to see a video of you playing those things when they're done!
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Holy smokes, and stoked you should be! That kick drum is over the top nice man! Can't wait for more!
 
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