Stave Drum Process


Active Member
Mar 20, 2020
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Denton, TX
First attempt at building drums was an incredible journey. After lots of planning and research, here is my process and result. @chas.4man on Instagram for wood and drum related content.

The Process
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  • The most challenging part was building the jigs to shape the inside and outside of the shells.
  • The jig with the rod through the middle of the shell is placed on a router table. One person spun the shell while another gradually pushed the jig across the router bit. The bit was gradually raised for multiple passes until shell was smooth.
  • The inner smoothing jig was made with a sled that holds a router and is slowly advanced by one person while another spins the shell. There are rollers under the shell and adjustable guides for various shell depths.
  • Once the shell was smoothed, it was time for lots of sanding. I first cut the edges flush with a table saw. Then, I created an edge sanding table by gluing sheets of sandpaper to mdf.
  • To sand the inner shell (which I didn't spend too much time) I used a flap wheel mounted to a drill. For the outer shell, I used a lathe if the shell would fit and if not, a lot of elbow grease and a palm sander.
  • I made two floor tom shells and cut one down to make a couple of snares. This method saves lots of time vs building individual snares.
  • Next I cut the bearing edges on a router table. I used rounded edges with a narrow, flat surface for head contact.
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  • When it was time for finishing, I decided to go for a natural look and set up a stain test. I ended up using some whiskey and walnut oil mixed with orange oil to cut. I used hand-rubbed wax as a sealer.
  • I found tension rods and hardware on ebay and used a salt and vinegar distressing process to make them look gritty.

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Old Dog

Very well Known Member
Jan 22, 2019
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:headbang: REALLY REALLY IMPRESSIVE! Nice. I've built a couple snares in the last year, with shells made by someone else. But what you've done is really awesome.