Shaping the Drum Body
After all the rings are glued together and set aside to dry fora few days, the drum body should be smoothed down. The rings overlap, sometimes as much as 0.25" in a few placesbecause I cut each ring without a circle cutting jig (That would have been nice!). Sometimes I lost my train of thoughtand veered away from the circle.-- Well, that's what happens whenyou cut things by hand. Anyway, the end result is that the bodylooks like the U.S. Embassy building in Dublin (Ugly or what?)and has to be shaped down into something a little more organiclooking.
I used a hand shaping tool to make the rough cuts andthen I finished off the surface with sand paper. It is not worthsanding the particle board too much because with all those mixed-upgrains and glue, you can't really get the surface too smooth. I just get as much of the larger gaps left from theshaping tool as I can. The photo below shows a composite view of thesanded drum bowl on the left half and with a first coat of whitesealer on the right half.
I am using some gesso that was left over from another project as sealermaterial. I have been sanding between each coat-- It may get as many as 8 coats of gesso before it's done.
DESIGN IDEAS HEREIf you haven't figured it out by now, I am designing this drum whileI am building it. (Damn it Jim, I'm a scientist, not an engineer!) Ihave been giving thought to the drum head-- just how am I goingto make it work? My experiences with drum heads in the past (andsome physics courses I may have taken) have led me to believe thatthe secret of making a good, sound drum is this:
"It's all in the rim."
A lot of this concept was evident when I built banjos. It didn'tseem to matter what material was used for the shell as long as therim was made of a hard material that was rounded off where thedrum head made contact. A steel rod is shaped to fit the outside edge of the banjo shell. The drum head is stretched over the rod-- it doesn't touch the shell. This rod isknown as a 'tone ring'.
So, when I was in the hardware store the other day, I saw some coilsof copper tubing. Copper is a wonderful metal. I love copper. Ithink this drum will have a tone ring made of copper! See thedrawing:
The drawing shows a cross-section of the drum. The thickness ofthe wood is finally revealed. Note that it is thinner near the head.I have also shown a detail of the tone ring. I may make the tone ring next week. Stay tuned!
Click here to go on to the next chapter (May 29th - Body Finishing!) in this experiment or here to go back to the main DRUM page.