First three tongue drums

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Project by JoeinDE posted 578 days ago 1386 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


112000 posts in 2178 days

#1 posted 578 days ago

Looks like great fun Joe .nice work.

-- Custom furniture

View dustyal's profile


1195 posts in 2076 days

#2 posted 578 days ago

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


362 posts in 1924 days

#3 posted 578 days ago

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

13305 posts in 939 days

#4 posted 578 days ago

Great job. Looks fun.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

615 posts in 1868 days

#5 posted 578 days ago

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


362 posts in 1924 days

#6 posted 578 days ago

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 960 days

#7 posted 578 days ago

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


3998 posts in 1605 days

#8 posted 578 days ago

Great drums

-- Norman

View JoeinDE's profile


362 posts in 1924 days

#9 posted 577 days ago

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

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

View mcoyfrog's profile


2885 posts in 2195 days

#10 posted 13 days ago

First one is my fav

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

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