09 October 2010

Incoming drum!

A while back, a few of us in my taiko group in Edmonton decided to build our own taiko drums under the expert guidance of another group member. He'd already built his own and what's more had a well-equipped workshop in his garage so it was a great opportunity.

We built our drum shells by shaping barrel slats out of spruce 2x4s. With three drums of 18" diameter at each head, that's a lot of slats, but we also had a lot of hands to apply to the task. I found working with power tools fun but scary. It was hard not to constantly imagine what damage I could do to myself if I didn't pay attention - which is, in itself, not paying attention!

So that was over 3 years ago, perhaps 4. When I left Edmonton I also left my drum shell and hides behind, as I believe the plan was to skin them at some point soon.

Somewhere along the way, the plan changed, and as one of my friends was driving to Vancouver for her holiday, she very kindly agreed to bring my drum and hides - a very generous offer, as they didn't have a huge car and they took up a lot of space. My shell sat in a corner since I moved to Vancouver, and the hides were securely hidden from my dog since she sniffed hungrily at the two large circles of cow hide whenever they were in reach. Recently I decided it had to be finished, so I started asking around for people to help me, as I had neither equipment not expertise for the task. Contacts are a great thing, as a member of my taiko group knew someone with both of these and I shot an email off to him. A few emails later, I met with him this week, and he inspected my shell in great detail. It's lighter wood than he's used to, and the slats are much more narrow than one would find on a refurbished wine or whiskey barrel; he's very meticulous and is a little concerned with some of the joints that you can see down into. He took the shell and hides with him, and he's added some glue to the joints, and levelled off the heads (they were also a little bit uneven, which would have created uneven pressure around the end of the head). My drum is on the way!

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