First three tongue drums

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Project by JoeinDE posted 12-26-2012 04:25 PM 1952 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are all roughly the same size. The videos embedded give a better concept of size. They were given as Christmas presents to my sister’s kids who are all under the age of 5 so I was concerned with making them sturdy. The first has 3/4” ply sides and beech front and back with a walnut soundboard. The second has the same box build with a mahogany (?) soundboard. The third has sapele sides, beech front and back and a maple soundboard. All three have cedar OSB as the bottom. They are all finished with two “coats” of mineral oil. The mallets were made from super balls and 1/4” maple dowels. All the joints are simply glued with titebond and the corners were reinforced with a glued triangular wedge support. Since I was making seven of these I decided to take the easy way out.

So far the kids seem to like them. Below are the links to the videos that I made while playing these three. Sorry for the quality – I was holding the camera and beating a drum, which is not the easiest thing to do.
The soundboard does not resonate very well on this one
This one sounds better than the walnut
The maple soundboard has the best resonance of these three

As always, comments and critiques are welcome.

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


114379 posts in 2743 days

#1 posted 12-26-2012 04:28 PM

Looks like great fun Joe .nice work.

-- Custom furniture

View dustyal's profile


1264 posts in 2641 days

#2 posted 12-26-2012 04:48 PM

Nicely done… sure the kids love to make noise… but, uh, how about your sister… how does she enjoy the musical merriment? I did something for my sister and her kids… and my sister didn’t speak to me for a few YEARS… Nicely constructed, however…

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View JoeinDE's profile


406 posts in 2489 days

#3 posted 12-26-2012 05:56 PM

Al – I specifically asked my sister and my sister-in-law before making these for the kids. They were both cool with the idea. All of my nieces and nephews already have a host of musical toys, so these are just adding to the “orchestra.”

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

19168 posts in 1504 days

#4 posted 12-26-2012 06:18 PM

Great job. Looks fun.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

663 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 12-26-2012 06:21 PM

what did you do to “tune” the tongues? my brother in law made one of these and all the tongues sound the same

View JoeinDE's profile


406 posts in 2489 days

#6 posted 12-26-2012 06:32 PM

Mike – I didn’t tune them. I tried to make them different enough in total mass, that they would resonate on different frequencies. This approach was only moderately successful. If I had more time, I would have tweaked the tones by taking mass off of different tongues and using a tuner to get the pitches correct. Since these were for kids, I did not worry too much about tuning the tongues. Had I been making these for adults, I would have gone to the extra effort to do so.

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

View ZED's profile


83 posts in 1524 days

#7 posted 12-27-2012 03:06 AM

These look great and I bet the kids are loving them. How thick did you make the sound boards?

-- A good craftsman is able to make it work with the tools he has, I still need more tools

View NormG's profile


5186 posts in 2169 days

#8 posted 12-27-2012 05:45 AM

Great drums

-- Norman

View JoeinDE's profile


406 posts in 2489 days

#9 posted 12-27-2012 09:16 PM

Zed – I think they were all 13/16” thickness.

-- A bad craftsmen blames his cheap #$%ing tools

View mcoyfrog's profile


3800 posts in 2760 days

#10 posted 07-14-2014 06:31 PM

First one is my fav

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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