|Project by Olaf Gradin||posted 12-16-2008 06:34 AM||2173 views||1 time favorited||6 comments|
I recently attended Stan’s (of buildadrum.com) drum-building workshop. Stan provides the experience, drum shells and skins, and supplies needed to build your own drum. The students supply ingenuity, creativity, and anything else they want to bring to the workshop.
I chose a 13”x27” monster made from clear (northeastern) maple. Stan uses stave construction to build all of his drums; while not a traditional technique, still very beautiful. He finishes them up on a large lathe. A student begins by choosing how they’ll finish their wooden shell. Since I was dealing with such a pretty wood, I wanted to be sure and sand it down to a smooth finish. The drum had been sanded to 120 grit, so I pushed it further to 220 with a palm sander, then 320 by hand. I then used a woodburner to create my cloud and water lines as you see at the base of the drum. I painted those areas in with aniline dyes that I mixed with water. Since I was using a water dye, I first wiped down the wood with a sponge to initially raise the grain. I then hit it with the 320 paper again to minimize the effect after applying the dye. Having applied the dye, I can tell you that you need to sand more to get rid of the grain. 320 grit paper was probably too soft. When everything had dried, I simply wiped down the dyed surfaces with teak oil (contributing to an additional color change), and linseed oil to the untouched maple on the foot. After that had dried, I rubbed two coats of bowling alley paste wax into the shell. It left the drum with a wonderful sensation of touch – and a far better smell than varnish!
The head is made from an African goat skin – mottled black and white. I stretched the head between steel rings while wet and laced the rope to an additional ring locked into position at the base of the drum’s bowl. As the head dried in a semi-stretched position, I shaved the hair from the playable surface. It’s a tedious, risky job, but worth the sound effect when complete. I have to wait a few more days for it to dry completely before I can finish stretching the head. When it’s done, I hope it will live up to its namesake: Thunder Head!
-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r: http://www.gradin.com