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[DESIGN] Drum Shell (by vanHouten)
April 16, 2007
11:14 am CET
Forum Posts: 132
Member Since:
February 5, 2004
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Drum Shell
by vanHouten

1) Materials:

- Wooden veneers: i was lucky to find a huge plate of two ply wood on a pile of scrap which fitted my needs perfectly, but be careful when steaming/bending glued veneers because the plies might fall apart and you will have to reattach them when gluing the shell. another material that works fine is the back-plate of an ordinary closet. on most closets i have seen so far there is the same type of wooden fiber plate which is also used to carry announcements of election candidates beside the streets.

This stuff can be obtained at your local building centre as well if you can't find any free plates lying around somewhere. For my first shell i used the two-ply wood as the inside layer and the wodd-fiber plate as outside layer and the shell turned out to have a great stability. the second shell i made for testing had two fiber-plate layers because this stuff is far more easy to bend but the outcome was a little more wobbly than i hoped. so
the best thing is to have at least one solid wooden plate layered within the shell. Stability should be worth the effort!

- Rims and lugs: i decided to buy these things although i am sure that at least the lugs can be made in a diy-manner.

- Screws and mounting band: you will know where
to get these...

- Fly-net: i found some decent net at my local building centre which is some sort of woven polyester or nylon and seems to be pretty resistant. i will check the manufacturer if required. It costed around 7 euro and will give up to ten 10-12"
mesh heads.

- Cable: some thick standard cable which is used to establish power lines in your house. it is about 8-10mm in diameter. tv-cable works as well..

- Wood glue: the stuff i used is called "ponal" and should be available everywhere.

- Old pan: this is for steaming and bending the panels. it should have a diameter of about 30cm.

- Jigsaw

- Flat iron: to bend the veneers and extract the moisture out of them

- Some clamps for pressing the veneers together while gluing

2) Getting started:

Using the jigsaw i cut the veneer into stripes of 10-12cm width. on the picture is shown how i attached the saw to a table frame i found on a scrap pile. the width is then adjusted using another plank which is screwed to the frame.

Then i needed a form in order to bend the stripes into the shape of the shell. therefor i took the rim and drew a line on the inside onto a wooden plate, then cutted it out. with the jigsaw already fixed to the frame i drilled a hole into the plate and then screwed it to the frame so that i could turn the plate around the screw and thus maintained a constant diameter while cutting the circle.

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3) Steaming/bending:

Because the veneers will break when trying to bend them around the form they have to be steamed first. (the wooden fiber plate is much easier to bend than solid veneers) so i put them in the bath tub first for a little while and let them soak. then using the flat iron they are bended just enough to fit into the pan.
you will notice that when ironing the soaked veneers, they will keep

the form in which the moisture is extracted.

The final bending is done on the cooker (see picture) and the order is cooking->ironing around the form ->cooking again etc...until the veneer fits smoothly around the circle-form. When putting the veneer into the boiling water, you will notice small bubbles leaving the wood until the whole panel is soaked. so when
no more bubbles are surfacing, this part of the plate is done and you can shove it one part further.

Make a circle out of the mounting band using the form-plate and let the wood dry out over night in it. (bending wood-fiber plates takes only a few minutes while for solid plates, preferably single-plied wood, you should calculate about half-an-hour minimum)

Tip: when the veneer is still hot and moist, you can still cut it with a carpet-cutter and thus do small

corrections to the length.

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4) Gluing:

Two veneers are now glued together. but first the outer ply has to be given it's final shape by screwing the mounting band onto the outside of the veneer. the diameter of the shell must be slightly reduced in order to provide a small gap between the shell and the rim, where later we want to insert the mesh head.

The holes are drilled with an electric drill or screwdriver and then fixed with screws. then again pull out all the screws (just to the point that they don't peek at the inside) except for one which holds the mounting band in the right position. the glue is now applied to the inside surface of the outer ply and the second ply is attached. now things have to go fast! once the inner ply is positioned correctly, drill through the holes of the outer ply into the inner ply and insert the screws again. by tightening the screws a little the plies won't slip off again. do that with each hole and then tighten the screws one after another to build up enough pressure for the glue to dry out over night.

Now attach the lugs in the right positions, this will give
another small amount of stability to the shell.

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5) Mesh head:

Put the shell on the fly-net and cut a circle with a sparing edge of about 9cm. then make equidistant cuts of 6cm into the net and fold the edge twice inward to the end of the cuts and then a last time to the edge of the shell. fix these nooses with some needles and do it all the way around. with a sewing machine the inside edges of the nooses are now sewed to the net, then put the cable through the noose around the net and the mesh head is done.

6) Finishing:

Sand the bearing edges of the shell so that there are no sharp edges left. then take an old sport-sock and cut narrow stripes out of it which are then put around the edges of the shell.
Attach and center the mesh-head, set up the rim and trim a decent tension.

If you did at least at well/bad as i did, your drum could look like this:

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Making the first shell took a lot of time, especially the bending. but every drum you make will increase your experience and therefor accelerate the crafting process.

Please let me know if any part of the desciption above is unclear to you...

Best regards!

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It's nice to see what's possible with the steaming technique, Milhouse.
Thanx for your contribution!

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