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Thread: Next project - a bass drum

  1. #1
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    Next project - a bass drum

    Skinny Bass.jpg
    Planning on making a new type bass drum. 18" diameter, open face, 6" (or so) deep. Going to make it out of lepoardwood (have a bunch of 8/4 and don't like it much). Going to make 3 segmented rings, glue them face to face to make a rough cylinder, and turn it to 18" diameter. I can then turn half the inside thin, reverse it in the chuck and turn the other half of the inside. Buying one is $310 + shipping & tax = $425. I can buy the hardware & head (sans legs which I will make) for just under $120. Here's the link to the commercial version https://www.sidekickdrums.com/shop/s...m-single-head/
    Last edited by Larry Litwin; 11-30-2023 at 12:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'd wrap some veneer around a form instead of fighting with the 8/4 stock and doing all that turning. You are also going to get some weird grain patterns when you turn through segments.It's very unusual that you can turn a blank, flip it around, and have it perfectly line it up again.

  3. #3
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    Our son has one of the slim bass drums. He loves it. His is a Super Flyer. It is made by the C&C drum company in Gladstone MO. It is made from veneer. Using segments is a technique some banjo builders use to make the wood rim of a banjo. Other banjo makers laminate steam bent strips of wood. 18 inch will be the biggest segmented drum I have heard of. Thats going to be an epic turning project. I would be nervous to make the walls thiner than an inch or so. An 18 inch drum made from segments will be a fascinating experiment. There is good info on the web about edge profiles. Some Drummers want the tension hoops to be wood.

    Screen Shot 2023-12-03 at 6.33.05 AM.jpg Screen Shot 2023-12-03 at 6.32.28 AM.jpg
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 12-03-2023 at 8:39 AM. Reason: snips from the web
    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
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    These are stacked segments that were then cut into staves.

    IMG_1728.jpg
    Best Regards, Maurice

  5. #5
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    Actually it's not at all difficult to run the 8/4 through the band saw, cut the segments and do the glue up - with the right tools and experience. Working with veneer would require a learning curve and tooling I may not have. And veneer to build a shell that size isn't going to be cheap. I have the wood I need so the only cost is glue and possibly sandpaper.

    Grain patterns? I've done more than a few bowls and other turnings using lacewood and lepoardwood. If you economize and just flip the stick you are cutting segments from it makes a very pleasant alternating pattern. If you waste a tiny bit you can have the grain match through the entire ring or set of rings.

    Don't know what your experience is with reverse chucking but it's really not at all hard to reverse a turning and have it run true. Again the right equipment and experience.

  6. #6
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    Looks like your son's set is concert style (except for the bass & snare). I like the sound of concert style drums.

    18 inch rings (actually a wee bit more so I can turn them down to 18") is fairly large but only 6" deep. I have a large Cole Jaw set that I had a machinist make extensions for. It can just handle the segmented ring with the buttons inside the ring pressing out. I'll use a couple of threaded rods and a cross bar on the outboard end to put pressure through the cylinder against the headstock end to make sure it can't pop off. I can't use the tailstock as I have to rotate the headstock off the bed rails - the Nova 2000 has a tiny bit over a 16" swing. I could have made the bass shell that size but I wanted something a wee bit bigger.

    I plan on taking the wall down to no more than ". I'm not really concerned as I have turned bowls down to 1/16" - carefully, very carefully, and I have the special tools to work the inside. The size isn't really an issue as long as the blank is held properly and the lathe speed is correct. The most important thing will be to maintain focus. One slip of concentration and I could blow the entire thing up. If that happens I'll just buy an 18" shell and call it a day. LOL

    I'm going to make the edge profile double rounded. Full contact on the outer edge, none on the inner - same as the floor tom I made.

  7. #7
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    Started with raw wood yesterday. Worked a short time and got the three segmented rings done. Today I trued them and glued up the cylinder. Only took a few enjoyable hours. Tomorrow I'll put the cylinder back on the lathe and turn the outside. I may have to leave the inside surface alone. If I turn it smooth inside I will probably end up with a " thickness. That might lack enough strength.

  8. #8
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    First try on the lathe a failure. The joints of the segments stick out too far and are too far apart for the speed the wood past the tool (rotational speed within reason for an 18" diameter). One other factor is the splinterieness (a real word?) of the lepoardwood. One reason I don't like to work with it. Took the cylinder off the lathe, clamped it to a work horse and nipped the protrusions with a Stihl MS 192 T (first time I ever did woodworking with a chainsaw), remounted on the lathe and was able to turn it (very carefully). Took it down to an even outside surface. Tomorrow I will dimension it and sand the outside. Still not sure what I'll do about the inside. If I turn the inside, the walls will be about " or so. I will probably turn the top inside so I can do a proper bearing edge for the head.
    DSCN0012.jpg DSCN0013.jpg
    Last edited by Larry Litwin; 12-07-2023 at 7:29 PM.

  9. #9
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    Well, it was fun while it lasted. On turning down to the finished size so the head would fit, one edge ended up paper thin. Reversing the cylinder on the lathe didn't resolve the problem. I tried to work too close to tollerance and didn't account for slightly out of round.

    I thought of a way around the problem that might work, but ... there is still the issue of the inside not being able to be smoothed and no assurance it would sound good. I've decided to cut my loss and order a shell. I'll stain it the same as the floor tom I assembled from parts and be done with it.

    The shell I ordered is 12" deep so I can leave it that deep or cut it down to 6" (which is what I intend - a skinny bass). If I cut it down I'll have an additional 18" by 6" shell that I can use for another drum at some point. It makes sense to admit when it's gotten to be a bit too much to continue. Better to spend time on practicing or something else fun when the activity has become a chore.

  10. #10
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    There are many ways to make many things! There is no harm in pursuing an idea, as long as you stay safe. I had a phone conversation with Mr. Sullivan of Sullivan banjos. He does his turning on a massive metal lathe to make a hoop with a 9 1/2 - 9 5/8 inch ID.
    Best Regards, Maurice

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