This was a pretty piece of walnut ...

motleyh

Senior Member
I've done a bunch of steambent walnut drums like this, but not as many in stave construction with an inlay. This board caught my eye for a nice vertical-grain stave build. It's 6.5x14, with milled-in re-rings. Solid brass/stainless lugs, diecasts, Trick multi, Puresounds, Evans heads, etc. Lovely tone combined with good looks, IMHO. Went to its new home not long ago.

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Stroman

Platinum Member
That is as stunning piece of work!

Oh, and the wood's good, too!
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
Another stellar build Jeff!
 

jda

Gold Member
thickness of the shell? How you got that board down to (what looks like in the drum) thickness is a mystery achievement! (I don't want to know)
Could you have made - 2- drums from that board?
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I've done a bunch of steambent walnut drums like this, but not as many in stave construction with an inlay. This board caught my eye for a nice vertical-grain stave build. It's 6.5x14, with milled-in re-rings. Solid brass/stainless lugs, diecasts, Trick multi, Puresounds, Evans heads, etc. Lovely tone combined with good looks, IMHO. Went to its new home not long ago.

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That is a stunning drum - would have loved to hear it!
 

motleyh

Senior Member
That looks amazing. Just curious whats the build time (actual build time) on a drum like that, or for one of your more "regular" drums?
Typical build time is about 16 weeks, but it can vary a lot with solid woods, which have to be sourced and then usually prepped. Steambents can take longer because the bending itself is a longer process.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
thickness of the shell? How you got that board down to (what looks like in the drum) thickness is a mystery achievement! (I don't want to know)
Could you have made - 2- drums from that board?

Thickness of the shell is 1/2" at the edges, and 1/4" for the middle 5.5".

The board was about 7/8" thick to start with (after planing the surfaces smooth and level), so no, it couldn't have made two stave drums -- you have to start with a little extra thickness before milling the assembled staves into perfect roundness. Without going through all the math, you'd end up with shells that were about 3/16" thick with no reinforcement rings -- even slight pressure on the sides would bend it out of shape, and it would probably crack easily.

Once in a while I find a good board that has more than the required length, and then I can make two shells from it.
 
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Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Perfection!
Just out of curiosity: How do you keep the drum from shrinking over time & temp changes?
I've had my eye on a stave built from Georgia, but as I live in the southwest, I'm concerned about the lack of humidity & heat affecting it here.
There's a whole thread about this very thing & it's given me pause in buying one.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
Perfection!
Just out of curiosity: How do you keep the drum from shrinking over time & temp changes?
I've had my eye on a stave built from Georgia, but as I live in the southwest, I'm concerned about the lack of humidity & heat affecting it here.
There's a whole thread about this very thing & it's given me pause in buying one.
Good question, and a two-part answer.

First, it's important to understand that when solid wood moves with humidity changes, it doesn't move evenly. The most movement is normal at right angles to the grain. Movement in the direction of the grain is usually tiny. So in the case of stave construction, where the grain is vertical, the raw shell would tend to expand or contract in diameter because of changes to the width of the staves. It would not change significantly in shell depth, which would affect tuning more directly. So the seating of tge head is really the main issue -- if the shell expands too much, it's conceivable the head wouldn't fit on the drum.

Also, be aware that the amount of movement (as a percentage of dimension) is different from one species to another. Some are minimally affected while other species could run into problems. This is why white oak is used for flooring more than red oak is. With red oak, you may see buckling in summer humidity and gaps between boards in the winter when the air is drier.

That brings us to the second part of the answer: how well the wood is sealed. In the flooring example, only the top surface normally gets a finish. In the case of a well-made drum, not only the exterior gets sealed and finished, but also the inside and even the edges. With stave construction, the end-grain is on the edges, so it's vital that it get sealed well because end grain absorbs moisture more easily. Fully sealed, the drum should only be minimally affected by humidity issues.

Bottom line: If the shell is sealed well enough, you shouldn't encounter much of a problem with wood movement in normal indoor conditions. You might find yourself needing to tweak the tuning when changing locations, but nothing drastic. If there's a substantial change in conditions (e.g. taking the drum from air conditioning to play an outdoor summer gig), allow some time for the drum to acclimate a bit before you adjust tuning.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Good question, and a two-part answer.

First, it's important to understand that when solid wood moves with humidity changes, it doesn't move evenly. The most movement is normal at right angles to the grain. Movement in the direction of the grain is usually tiny. So in the case of stave construction, where the grain is vertical, the raw shell would tend to expand or contract in diameter because of changes to the width of the staves. It would not change significantly in shell depth, which would affect tuning more directly. So the seating of tge head is really the main issue -- if the shell expands too much, it's conceivable the head wouldn't fit on the drum.

Also, be aware that the amount of movement (as a percentage of dimension) is different from one species to another. Some are minimally affected while other species could run into problems. This is why white oak is used for flooring more than red oak is. With red oak, you may see buckling in summer humidity and gaps between boards in the winter when the air is drier.

That brings us to the second part of the answer: how well the wood is sealed. In the flooring example, only the top surface normally gets a finish. In the case of a well-made drum, not only the exterior gets sealed and finished, but also the inside and even the edges. With stave construction, the end-grain is on the edges, so it's vital that it get sealed well because end grain absorbs moisture more easily. Fully sealed, the drum should only be minimally affected by humidity issues.

Bottom line: If the shell is sealed well enough, you shouldn't encounter much of a problem with wood movement in normal indoor conditions. You might find yourself needing to tweak the tuning when changing locations, but nothing drastic. If there's a substantial change in conditions (e.g. taking the drum from air conditioning to play an outdoor summer gig), allow some time for the drum to acclimate a bit before you adjust tuning.
Outstanding answers. Thank you for this as it's given me some knowledge to use on my drum guy in GA. He comes from a background in cabinet & furniture making, so I'm sure (hope) he's well aware of this.
The wood he uses is usually really old, but going from thick & sticky Georgia to southern AZ is quite the difference in environment.
Using the methods you mentioned here, all should be well.

Thanks again!(y)
 

drumnut87

Silver Member
lush!!!
 
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