Me, with drum and Peruvian hat.
The tone ring was made from a half inch diameter copper tube that was bent into a hoop. The hoop diameter was just a bit larger than the outside diameter ofthe drum bowl. A smaller piece of copper (about 1 inch length) was split and fashioned to fit snuglyinside of the tube where the ends of the hoop met. This intersection was generously fluxed and sweat soldered together (I'm using non-leaded solder in this picture). Just before soldering, however, I placeda little Mojo inside the tube. I can not tell you what it was, but it was somethingthat I had in my possession for many years. It is now sealed inside the tone ring. If you were to shake the ring, youwould hear it rattle inside the tube!-- This adds a personal touch to the instrument; It most likelywill drive insane any of the spirits unacquainted with the presence of the mojo. Heh, heh!
After the tone ring has cooled down, it is centered onto thedrum bowl. Some corrugated cardboard is taped around the edge of the bowl to act as a spacer betweenthe body and the drum head when the skin gets fitted over the tone ring.
Last year I went to a convention in Portland, Oregon. While I was in town, I purchased a nice piece of goat skin from a place called African Rhythm Traders. It was 26 inches in diameter. I was told that it was for a djembe (I guess there must be djembe builders in Portlandsomeplace). I bet it will work on this goblet drum just fine!
Anyhow, in order to prepare the skin for fitting, I first soaked the skin in tap water. I wait for the skinto get soft, like a wet noodle. In the case of this particular goat, the skin was under water for about an hour. (I've got some thick cow hide that may take three hours to properly soak, so the soaking time depends on the animal and thickness of skin, I imagine).
The skin is taken from it's bath and blotted to remove anyexcess water (so it's not dripping wet) and draped over the tone ring and drum bowl.
A steel tension ring is placed over the skin. I pushed the ring down to 2 inches below the top of the tone ring. It is a good idea tomeasure the distance of the tension ring around the diameter of the drum to make surethat the ring sits evenly on the drum.
Interestingnote: While I was in Portland, I stopped in at a craft store (Tandy Leather Co.) whereI purchased some additional skins for future drum projects. (This is how I operate-- I go to conventions and buy skins!) While I was in the shop, I noticed that they had these steel rings for sale, about $3.00 for the 18 inch diameter size. I asked the store owner what they were for-- he said that they were for making dream catchers. I said that they would be good for making drums too, so I bought a bunch of 'em, in all kinds of sizes.
The outside ends of the skin that's left flapping under thetension ring is turned up onto the top of the drum head and held momentarily with masking tape. Makesure that the masking tape is not too sticky-- it should have just enough hold to keep the skin up untilthe next step:
With the tape holding the skin flaps up, take some stringand start winding it around the top of the tension ring. Start out loosely at first-- when you haveenough hold on the skin flap with the string, then you can slip the masking tape out from under thestring. Now you can wind the string around the skin tightly (I happened to use blue yarn for string, andit worked out O.K.) Keep winding the string. Go up to the bottom of the copper tone ring as you wind.While you wind the string, look for weird looking folds in the skin-- The skin is still quite flexible andyou can pull on the ends of the skin to remove most of the big folds in the skin. Little folds won'thurt the drum, but there should not be any folds or creases anywhere on the tone ring!
Keep the string on the head, and let the skin dry overnight.
By the next day, take the string off and pry off the head with the tone ring intact. The result is a fitted drum head! I have found that it is now easier to workwith the head after it has been fitted and dried. I can now take my time measuring where I want to put the lacing and make the holes. When I put it back on, I will moisten the skin and trim off theexcess skin-- but that's for next week!