Drum building

So I went ahead and made my own log drum, native american style, of a large scots pine (Pinaceae Pinus) trunk.

According to some, you’re not really supposed to be making drums out of pine, but it’s one of my favorite tree, and it sounds really nice. Soft, deep and round.

Top side is reindeer rawhide, bottom is fiberskyn, which I had to manipulate and cut.

The main steps are, make the trunk hollow as soon as you can to prevent it from crack or later rot. (Though my log was waiting for a few years stacked off the ground.) The sides should be fairly thin, as thin as you dare to go ahead without cracking the side, also listen to the tone of the wall, a slightly thicker wall will have a more numb sound but deeper. Something around 1,5 cm at least. How to hollow it? Start drilling (or axing) a hole to get you started. Don't even think about using a chain saw if your not educated in that craft in some way, it's simply the worlds most dangerous tool, ask for proper advice. But if you do use a chainsaw, a hole is necessary otherwise a saw can bounce right back at you. After I got a longer tunnel in the trunk, I then used a special tool like a large curved chisel, which I had help making. And then hammer down the walls with the chisel and a sledge hammer. It's heavy work! Prepare yourself to give it a few days.

Make the ends on the drum really flat, or the skin may burr or vibrate bad. You could use a piece of a window glass to put on the top to see where you need to file of. Put some sandpaper on a piece of a plane board and go over it evenly.

Rawhide preparation: If you're planning to do that yourself, it is heavy work and it takes time to have the hide in water long enough to be able to get the hair off. Found some reading about this;

"Drums, tomtoms and rattles: primitive percussion instruments for modern use" by Bernard Sterling Mason.

To attach the hide I found some towel hooks, it needs to be sturdy to hold the hide stretched. For the fiberskyn it was enough with smaller screws with large heads to hold the lines.

I have a few more logs waiting to be carved, my plan is to have a complete drum set of huge logs. It will probably take me a few more years. 😊


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