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FinishThoseDrums

Finish Those Drums
45 years later that is
Back in the 70’s, when I had time and energy but no money, I decided I wanted a set of tom-toms to go with my drum set.

The only technology I had was a table saw, wood lathe and hand tools. So I made a whole bunch of drawing on paper of how many staves I would require for each drum size given the thickness of wood I started with, the diameter of the finished round shape and a tiny bit extra.

Then I table sawed the staves for each drum at a slightly different edge angle, glued the pieces together and tightened it all with ropes.

Then I glued each “barrel” to a false face plate (who said grade 8 shop class wasn’t useful) and started to turn them down on the lathe.

Everything went well until I mounted the largest one and realized my careful calculations had negated the bed depth of the lathe. Now 4 drums became 3.

When I finished each drum I could only “sort of” get to the head size of the drum by the false face plate. I then realized, or had put off solving how to finish the batter head side of the shell.

I sanded and finished the drums concocting a few blocks between them to mount them for now. Even though the batter head side was not finished I wanted to use them so I fashioned some rubber tubing in a hoop and mounted it below the head on the rough un-finished surface. Well, that was using my 16-year-old brain.

The rubber tubing greatly lowers the tone and was good enough for then. I would fix them later.

Well later turned out to be 45 years after 2 houses, 6 kids and 4 grandkids. I was watching a you-tube video on drum-making I a factory and saw them finish the edge with a rolling router bit.

“Ah-ha”, I had one of those from my father’s tools. So after a lot of tool digging and some practice and 45 years, I finally get to hear what my drums were supposed to sound like. Patience or distraction?

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