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Civil War rope tension snare drum

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Project by JonJ posted 2465 days ago 10740 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built two of these for a reenactment we have at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob MO every three years. I copied a drum I found a picture of on an antiques website up northeast. I changed the company to a MO outfit, so this is not an accurate reproduction. The Mozart company were German as it turns out…I just thought the maker of the original liked Mozart, but a sharp eyed history buff set me straight!

These are real simple, with oak bracing inside a luan shell. I planed one ply off 1/4 luan, making it flop around like a wet rag. The hoops are oak, with deer skin heads. The hardware that tensions the snares was cast from brass on one drum, and aluminum on the other. I had no idea what I was doing, but they seemed to work. I wound up with one of ‘em, looks good under the Christmas tree!

-- Jon





14 comments so far

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

2913 posts in 2529 days


#1 posted 2465 days ago

Jon – I think it looks great. History reenactments are great fun as well. I’ve been to a couple of small ones and have always come away awed at the people who put them on.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2627 days


#2 posted 2465 days ago

Very nice work! They look great.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19393 posts in 2484 days


#3 posted 2465 days ago

Great job.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2772 days


#4 posted 2465 days ago

Jon -

Very cool! I will have to show this to my son – he his a huge history buff with an interest in the Revolutionary War and Civil War.

David

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3034 days


#5 posted 2465 days ago

Great drum. Looks like fun.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View cajunpen's profile

cajunpen

14379 posts in 2699 days


#6 posted 2465 days ago

Great project – I agree with everyone else – looks like a fun project – Mr. Mozart would be proud.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/

View RonH's profile

RonH

33 posts in 2558 days


#7 posted 2465 days ago

Great job. That is really cool. Was down in your neck of the woods last weekend. Was in Fredericktown last weekend. Love the area.

View JonJ's profile

JonJ

163 posts in 2473 days


#8 posted 2465 days ago

Great job. That is really cool. Was down in your neck of the woods last weekend. Was in Fredericktown last weekend. Love the area.

Thanks Ron…It’s funny you were in my neck of the woods last weekend. I was in Arnold last weekend, taking a nap in the car while my wife was shopping at Kohl’s.

-- Jon

View JonJ's profile

JonJ

163 posts in 2473 days


#9 posted 2465 days ago

Jon -

Very cool! I will have to show this to my son – he his a huge history buff with an interest in the Revolutionary War and Civil War.

David

David,

If you would want a sketch of how I built it, I could get something together. I bet it could be built for less than $50, even if synthetic fiberskin drum heads were used. That was the messiest part, dehairing the deer skin and scraping it. Synthetic heads look like real rawhide, but without all the prep, and they are not affected by humidity.

-- Jon

View Chip's profile

Chip

1904 posts in 2726 days


#10 posted 2464 days ago

Beautiful, beautiful work Jon. Thanks for letting us see it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Wasioja's profile

Wasioja

2 posts in 2115 days


#11 posted 2115 days ago

Could you send me a sketch of how you built the drum. We are starting a small CW Fife & Drum Corp.
Thanks in advance
www.civilwarmn.com

View JonJ's profile

JonJ

163 posts in 2473 days


#12 posted 2115 days ago

I sent this in a PM so you’d be sure and get it, but copied it here for the whole group if anyone is interestd…

Wasioja,
Does it need to be 100% historically accurate? I tried to do that, but real rawhide heads are a PAIN! I started off with calf skin, and then changed to deer skin…but it is still very tempermental in MO humidity in September (when we have our reenactments every three years) Every other drum I’ve seen at events has a fibreskin head, which looks just like rawhide, and does not have all the headache/mess associated with the real stuff. I would go with a 16” which was a common size, or if these are young/small guys, maybe go with a 14”. here is a link to what I’d use, but shop around, or you may have a local music store who can get these. http://www.ruppsdrums.com/Drum_Heads/Remo/Remo_Fiberskyn_Drum_Heads/remo_fiberskyn_drum_heads.shtml

The construction method I use is not totally authentic, though I couldn’t find enough documentation when I built mine to know what that is. It seems these were built from many makers, and different ways. Some used laminated wood, while others from staves like a barrel. I built a frame and wrapped a plywood skin around it. I’ll try to draw up a sketch and get photos. Might be a few days.

The worst part of all this is building the hoops. I heat bent oak for mine, and it was a bear. In retrospect, I think I could do it now with a lot less effort. Do you know someone with a thickness planer? That is what I used to take one ply off the plywood so it would bend easy. You can use a belt sander, but it’s hard to do and time consuming.

The snare strainer is something I spent a lot of time on, as I made molds and cast it from brass, but one could be made from hardware store material- I’ll also try to sketch that. Someone else has been asking me about this, so i may do a blog on it. I’ll be in touch

Jon

-- Jon

View alford's profile

alford

1 post in 2049 days


#13 posted 2049 days ago

Would love to see the sketch of how you made this. High school band is planning a civil war halftime show and would love to make some of these,

Thanks in advance,

jasonandtera@comcast.net

View Qjon's profile

Qjon

6 posts in 1249 days


#14 posted 1249 days ago

Hello Jon, Jon here:)

I found your Rope tension drum project some days ago, and I would love to make something similar to those drums.
Wonder if you have more pictures of the drums, and if it is possible to listen to a recording of them. Looking foreward to hearing from you.

All the best!
Jon :)

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