Fixture to hold snare drum shell for finishing

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Blog entry by Lee Barker posted 05-28-2012 06:47 PM 4897 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The finish demands for a custom snare drum are surprisingly high. The snare drum to the player is a very personal thing, like a putter might be to a golfer. Once the bass drum establishes the One, the snare drum is involved in almost everything else. Players know the sweet spot of their drum and where to get other effects on the head. Tuning is crucial, as is stability.

“Hand rubbed” is the phrase du jour here, so the need was for a fixture to hold the thing once the inside was sealed (that’s what the yellow masking tape was for). No finish is applied to the summit of the rim where the heads make contact.

On the fixture the three shoes slide to make contact with the interior of the interior. The rims have doubled plies on them, so the shoes are trapped in there. They hold fine with no mechanical pressure required to get them snug. The dowels keep the shoes on target.

In one of my finish rooms I installed a socket (2” of hardwood, drilled) into which the dowel slides. It is quite simple to rotate the shell, hold it when necessary, and apply the finish and check for coverage with a good side light.

If you look in the dictionary under “niche market” I think you’ll find “finishing custom snare drum shells.”

But I’m ready when the throngs are outside hammering on my door in strict 4/4 time!

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

2 comments so far

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3468 days

#1 posted 05-28-2012 10:18 PM

And the beat goes on.Well done sir.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3110 days

#2 posted 05-29-2012 01:33 PM

Very wonderful niche market, the beautiful lady would not let me finish her shell, but she did let me provide
the shellac, brushes and sandpaper to finish the inside; as well as drill the holes for pad mount to help
control the volume when she plays jazz. Drummers are very particular about their drums and head tensions.
Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

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