I’ve been making drums in anticipation of releasing a few lines of instruments through Hexagon Craftworks. I’m doing a little R&D, making different kinds and proving different techniques. I’ve built 5 so far and modified a few more that I had built in the past, and I have several upcoming.
I used to work in a drum shop and I’ve been a drummer since school, so making them to play them is a good combination – a great way to spend my time and fulfilling as well. My academic background is in both audio and computer engineering, so that also helps me tune the sound because afterwards, I can record them to the machine and analyze what sound properties each building technique has produced, and where to go from there.
The goal for me now is to have 10 or so varying kinds that I can take out with me and have musicians play them, collectors look at them and hold them and to see what people like or don’t like about them, in general. Of course, my vote counts as well. I’ll be seeing what features I consistently like in them. Then, once I have the feedback, I can go on to produce more of the drums and features that make the most sense to do.
Hopefully, I’ll be releasing this line of drums to my web store ( https://www.hexagoncraftworks.com ) sometime during the Spring of 2017. I also have other things I’m making to sell in the store so I will have to determine priorities at the time, such as the Snub Dodecahedron model and the wood tools.
This one (above) is a big one – an 18″ hexadecagonal stave drum made out of oak. It’s got a thick cow rawhide head. The properties, of course, change with moisture and temperature, but at about 75 degrees F and 50% humidity (comfortable indoors), it’s fundamental tone is somewhere around 38Hertz, with a loud overtone around 100Hz. Perfect little boom and punch combo.
This next one is about 10″ in diameter and it started out as an octagon. It’s also made out of oak. The thin rawhide is very transparent and was a pleasure to work with. I really like the sound of it, too. It’s got lots of overtones and resonance.
And, this one is another oak drum (I love working with oak, but have some made out of cedar and pine, as well). It’s smaller – about 8 inches OD and is rounded octagonal as well. It’s got a very high, tight, pingy tone – perfect for a slap or backbeat with ghost notes. Also, it has a carved logo right in the front, and I took some creative liberties with the lacing and forming.
I have a few more not shown on this post, but these 3 are my finest examples. All in all, they were all made from hardwood lumber that I cut and processed, and I’m still refining my methodologies, but I have a solid hold on the techniques I’ve used to make these. After a few more, I’ll have decided on a good base set of techniques to call my “style”.
There were a few challenges along the way – cutting and forming wet wood, getting the router to stay in place and not damage the sides when it binds, the notches becoming to small to twist the leather lace around, sanding across the grain, ripping various angles along a long piece, and of course, heads tearing and popping from excessive tension. I got those worked out and look forward to doing this again!