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Homemade Drumhead stuff??

Kaleea 27 Mar 04 - 01:55 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Mar 04 - 05:57 AM
Cattail 27 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM
Barbara 27 Mar 04 - 01:59 PM
Eve Goldberg 27 Mar 04 - 05:38 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 27 Mar 04 - 05:39 PM
LadyJean 27 Mar 04 - 10:45 PM
Barbara 28 Mar 04 - 01:22 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Mar 04 - 12:30 PM
bet 30 Mar 04 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Les B. 31 Mar 04 - 04:01 PM
GUEST 31 Mar 04 - 04:15 PM
TheBigPinkLad 31 Mar 04 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,fred miller 23 Apr 04 - 11:41 PM
Nigel Parsons 24 Apr 04 - 12:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Apr 04 - 01:54 AM
JohnInKansas 25 Apr 04 - 04:01 AM
Geoff the Duck 25 Apr 04 - 01:04 PM
katlaughing 12 Dec 08 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Dec 08 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Jazzybt 06 Mar 12 - 03:52 PM
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Subject: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Kaleea
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 01:55 AM

I was looking at the mudcat kid's instructions & other sites for making drums, etc., & I am wondering what other stuff might be used by kids (or geezers) for making drum heads. The gluing of 8 sheets of parchment paper & goatskin & such aside, what might an average gal in an average midwestern town find cheap (or free!) & easily accesible, as well as easy to work with to use for making a drum head for, say, metal cans? I already have several large metal cans! Exactly how is the drumhead attached? What is the best not-too-smelly-or-toxic kind of glue to attach the drumheadstuff to the can or whatever? I know that rawhide is not easily or cheaply available, & the drumheads & fiberskins at various Music shops are not cheap. I have no idea where I might obtain old innertube stuff, but seems like rubbery stuff is what I recall being on an "Indian" drum I had as a child. Suggestions, please? Also, are there any other free online good instructions for making instruments which some 'catters might refer me to? I am also very interested in making a "Canjo" and am wondering about the exact placement of frets, as well as vaarious methods used. Thanks! Kaleea


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 05:57 AM

If your can is strong enough (good stainless steel bowls work well) then soak a large rawhide dog chew in water for a few days. You'll need rawhide shoelaces to lace it to the bowl or other sturdy object (maybe in keeping with the theme, a large doggy dish!).
When it dries and tightens you'll have a good sound!

Allison


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Cattail
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 10:16 AM

Would pond liner or maybe trampoline rubber be any good? You might
be able to pick up offcuts of these from landscape gardeners or
company's that make it.

I'm just thinking out loud here, but it may help.

Cheers for now.

Cattail !


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Barbara
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 01:59 PM

I think that house covering paper -- Tyvek -- might work, too, though I haven't tried it. It's what they use instead of tarpaper these days, and the bad news is that it's pink. I think you can also get it in white. We used to use inner tubes, which give you a muted thud. And you'd do both ends, and lace the one to the other to get enough tension. Punch the holes with a paper punch so they don't tear. Farm stores, and, I think auto parts stores still sell inner tubes. Places that make things from leather often sell scraps in bulk.
I have used embroidery hoops to lace drumheads to. (wrap head material around large wood hexagon, or octagon or whatever, and lace edge to hoop behind.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 05:38 PM

One of the most amazing drums I have ever seen is one that my mom came across somewhere -- she still has it-- it's a square wooden frame with clear packing tape stretched very tightly all across it. It's got a great sound for such a small drum, very boomy and resonant.

I have a feeling this might not work on a metal can, however, because pulling the packing tape so tight might cause the metal to collapse. Not to mention that the packing tape probably needs a bigger resonating chamber.

But I thought it was an incredibly clever material to use.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 05:39 PM

You can certainly get Tyvek in white- that's what we make kites out of! Great idea, Barbara- I'm going to try it, too!
Allison


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: LadyJean
Date: 27 Mar 04 - 10:45 PM

My ex boyfriend used a deerskin to make his bodhran. It didn't handle moisture well. But that may have been the way it was tanned. It's easy to get a deerskin in the fall, at least it is here in Pennsylvania.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Barbara
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 01:22 AM

Actually, I have made drums from goatskin, starting with the whole goat, removing the skin, getting (most) of the fur off the hide with ashes, and so on, and I think I'd try just about anything before I'd do that that stinky slimy bugridden grungy tedious exercise again. Now, packing tape. I like the sound of that!
Blessings
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 12:30 PM

Since drums for kids and/or geezers were mentioned, it might be worth noting that the trad "kid stuff" was once remnants from the last old innertube that blew on the family car – although dad might "cut a new skin" off 'ya when he found out you'd chopped up the one he was saving for the new carbureter gaskets he was planning to need. A distinct advantage in using something like innertube rubber for a drum that a kid (or geezer) was going to be fascinated with for a while was that it does produce a more "muffled" sound than you get from something a little less "stretchy." Getting a "drum sound" without getting a whole lot of drum sound can, in some usage, be a real advantage.

Although the "tubeless" tire has made them rather scarce, you should be able to buy auto/truck tubes at some places that sell tires; and might even be able to find a "salvaged" used one with a little searching. Think "Farm Trade" for places to look, since implement trailers and tractors are among the few places that tires aren't generally tubeless. (Bicycle tubes are much to small to be useful.) "Modern" tubes, though, are generally rather thick "synthetic" material and are "cured in the round" so it can be a hassle getting a piece cut out and "flattened" enough to be easily useful, and even a new one tends to be "dirty" to work with. There are many much more "friendly" materials – especially if you want to involve kids in the making.

For very small "tin can" drums, you can use a penny balloon or cut a piece from a surgical glove. Drape it over the top, put a couple of "rubber bands" around, and then pull it tight by drawing the "skin" under the bands. Even "kitchen film" (Saran?) will work well enough to keep a couple of kids busy for a while, although none of the "truly cheap" quickies will last too long (sometimes a good thing).

Especially for projects for kids, you should be able to find "oilcloth" at any fabric store – the stuff you might use for table covers. The "hard side" is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and the "fuzzy side" won't show. You might, rarely, find the "unbonded" kind, without the fuzzy backing; but it's not common in my area. This stuff is fairly cheap and easy to work with, but won't take a lot of tension (hence makes a relatively quiet drum) and can look pretty good if you can find suitable (unpatterned?) colors. You might find suitable stuff at a local "yard sale," but of course you don't get to pick the pattern.

The same fabric/yard-goods shop may also have reasonably heavy canvas that can be stretched a little more to make a very functional (but not too "authentic looking") drumhead. With canvas, you may want a "sizing" (think laundry starch) of some kind painted on after the "skin" is stretched in place. Art shop "gesso" makes a fairly good stiffener and makes the surface nicely paintable.

For a "native drum" that looks good and doesn't make a lot of noise, you should be able to find "shammy" (chamois) wiping rags at most auto parts/accessory stores. You need to watch out for the "synthetic" stuff, but should be able to find the real thing. Expect to pay $10 to $20 perhaps for a larger one. Much of the stuff on the shelf is "oiled" to make it feel soft, so you need to run it through with the laundry, maybe a couple of times, to get the "softeners" out before using it for your drum. Once it's "hardenable" (i.e. clean), if you "drape it" wet, at moderate tension, it should dry fairly stiff, so you don't need a lot of tension. The real chamois skins you find for sale are often rather irregular shapes, so you're unlikely to find one suitable for a drum more than about a foot in diameter, although you might get lucky with a little shopping.

In the US, the big "national chain" supplier for "real leather" is Tandy Leather. I don't know how "international" they are, but there should be similar suppliers almost anywhere. You find them advertising as "leather craft" places, and it may be hard to get past the kits and "hobby crowd" gizmos, but they do have large pieces available – at a price. The $6 (US) per square foot isn't too bad, but they like to sell "whole hides" (at 50 sq ft average.) If there's a local store, though, you're likely to find plentiful "partials" that could be suitable for a "major drum" project, and you might find something in the "bargain bin" at the Tandy (or similar) site. With some care, you can cut "lacings" from the same skin you use for the top, and there's a tool for it at most leather shops if you like "easy."

If you want sturdy materials for "real drums," as opposed to kid projects, but aren't concerned about "authentic," you might also browse the shops for upholstery materials of almost any kind. Most of these are meant to stand up to significant tension, and to be durable, although many of them are naturally (or treated to be) pretty waterproof, so you can't "shrink them on." Think scraps and remnants here.

John


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: bet
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 04:50 PM

Wow! I finally found the right link. Kat has been telling me about the drum ideas but I kept forgetting to look. Great ideas!! bet


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 04:01 PM

You might try being nice to a banjo player. They often have their old heads (usually plastic)laying around - and the word is getting around in the banjo world now, that once you've tightened and then loosened the head it loses its tone. I have about four under my bed that will probably never go back on a banjo.   

That, however, shouldn't stop it from making a fairly good small drum head - 10 to 12 inches in diameter. How you would attach it is up to your ingenuity - they generally have a ring to which you can apply hooks.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 04:15 PM

Naugahyde - or other "fake leathers" - they can't be shrunk onto the drums - but they CAN be laced tightly.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 04:51 PM

The easiest (and loudest!) drums I have made are also the cheapest. Hie thee to the nearest friendly restaurant and ask for pickle pails. They're white 5 gal (20L) plastic buckets that bulk pickles, mayo, oil etc. comes in. Wash them out, paint them if you like, turn them upside down and belt them with sticks.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: GUEST,fred miller
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 11:41 PM

I'm just back from a camp and made some drums. I've tried the white tyvek, which is expensive unless you have a source of free scrap. It does well for bongo finger stuff. Steel wire and tape, you can tune it with tie strings. But tyvek paper really makes the most elegant window shades you've ever seen, with alpine striations and light coming through.

I had a book project with surgical gloves to make an african talking drum, but like most things written for kids, it doesn't work, in at least 5 ways. You can't really tie the fingers across two clay pots etc. at least not tight enough without firing a clay pot into your face.

So. Rubber dishwashing gloves and little firm plasic seeding pots are very cheap at a dollar store. Surgical gloves tear much too easy, and don't sound as good. Drill and bolt the pots bottom to bottom. Don't try to tie the stupid fingers, or, no, go ahead, try. Narrow strip of duct tape tight all the way around will hold, and you can still pull the hand to tune it. Steel wire and tape (sticky to sticky or forget it) to make a squeezable talking drum--more trouble, but the easy way doesn't really work.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 12:35 PM

A few years back at the British 'Filk' convention there was a workshop on drum-making. The materials utilised there were off-cuts from cardboard tubes for the sides, and rip-stop nylon for the skins.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 01:54 AM

When using rubber tyre tube, you might consider eyelets, they are available with the clamping gadget to reinforce the holes.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 04:01 AM

Although the request was for head material, I might suggest that a pretty good, and fairly cheap body material, if you have a way to cut it to length, is the "cardboard" concrete form prefabs. Find them at a local lumber/construction yard. These are available in 8 to 12 inch diameter commonly, and can be ordered in other diameters, usually supplied in 6, 8, 10, or 12 foot lengths. The cardboard wall is usually a "fat" 1/4 inch, and they are treated ("waxy" inside, at least) to resist moisture at least long enough to pour them full of concrete and hold together until it sets up.

In theory I suppose you could cut them to length with a good sturdy knife; but a table or radial arm saw probably works best, and is safer than a knife if done carefully. The walls are harder than you might expect for a "paperboard" construction. If you happen to want a 3 or 4 foot or longer drum, they'd be a lot cheaper and quicker than burning the center out of a tree.

Foolestroupe - I've never had much luck getting eyelets to stay in tube material except at very low tension. Maybe I'm not familiar with the clamping gadget you suggest. Maybe it's just that most of my experience with tire tubes has usually been with salvaged/used ones, and I just don't care for the "dirt." Small eyelets - with quite a few of them to spread the tension - should work nicely in most upholstery materials or canvas (ripstop or otherwise).

The eyelets sold through camping and hardware outlets for use on canvas/tarp material usually start at about 3/8 inch (through the hole), with 1/2 and 5/8 sizes not too hard to find. Even the 3/8 size might be a little larger than you'd want for a drum, since you'd want the lacings fairly closely spaced. Most fabric shops in my area carry 1/4 inch or 5/16 inch eyelets in the same style that might work well. The smaller "shoelace" sizes don't usually have the washer plate(s) to keep them from pulling out, so they'd only be suitable in something that doesn't stretch much (like real leather heads (maybe)).

John


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 01:04 PM

The most interesting design I ever saw for a drum was by a bloke, name of Ted, who lived in North East England. I used to run into him at Whitby Folk Week, although it's a few years since I last saw him about.
On year he turned up with a home made "African Talking Drum". The body of the drum was two plastic buckets placed base to base. The skins (one at each end) were cut from an old white shirt he no longer needed. To strengthen and reinforce the cotton of the shirt, he had coated the fabric with a white latex glue (Local tradename "Copydex" - don't know if the same brand name is used elsewhere). When he had finished the coating process, it was a creamy colour, slightly streaked in both colour and texture, and looked very much like a natural vellum. The "skins" had holes punched in them (probably using a hole punch for putting paper into a ring binder) and they were threaded together (Washing line or thick string - I can't recall exactly which).
The overall effect was an Hour-Glass shaped drum which he could put under his arm and change the note it played by pressure from his elbow.
All in all a VERY EFFECTIVE piece of equipment which cost no more than a couple of pounds to build.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 09:50 PM

refresh - some neat stuff!


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 05:03 AM

Recycle a dog?

Canvas is a traditional material for bodhrans. It acts differently from rawhide - wetting it brings it up to tension.


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Subject: RE: Homemade Drumhead stuff??
From: GUEST,Jazzybt
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 03:52 PM

wow!

Going to use some of these with my students.Especially buckets,shirts,washing line and latex.

Another suggestion to add to that brilliant one.You get this stuff called pavapol (it's like a really strong starch) that I've used on material in the passed for hardening it (you get it from art stores).And instead of buckets and if you want higher tones from your talking drums , use flower pots or large hard yoghurt pots and stretchy plastic washing line.

I think that also makes the drums suitable for veggies!


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