My friend Fred creates his first drum. In his own words.
Earlier this year I purchased a deer rawhide from Two Wolves (Kfir Mendal) to make a drum. I remember in Philosophy 2 (Tracker School) being taught the drums could be between 12 and 18 in. in diameter. I chose to make mine 14″. They could be 1.5 to 2.5 in. deep. I chose 2.25″. and the thickness of the frame material could be 5/8 to 7/8 in. I chose 5/8″.
This past winter, the snows here in Maryland were more than in Buffalo N.Y. !! Well there is a tree at the boatyard where I work, that I used to often pray under before work ( the place has changed hands and it is harder to get privacy and time to do this now ). It is a wonderful Juniper (red cedar). The winter snows brought down a large branch.
I collected the branch, cut and dried the parts for the frame of the drum. That way the tree and I can still spend time together.
A Mock Up
I made a “mock-up” from pine and vinyl to get a pattern for the drum head with the holes in the correct places, and also to practice lacing ( with jute ). The hide that I had was small and instead of being able to cut the drumhead from between the shoulders like you are supposed to, I was forced to cut from the center of the back. This meant I had to cut the more than 40 ft. of lacing from around the perimeter of the drumhead cut. This concerned me because the hide gets thinner in those outer areas and weaker.
So, with all the preparation in place, the “avoidance mechanism” kicked in, and I decided I’d wait to the following weekend to attempt the assembly. I’ve never worked with rawhide before except for a few scrapes on a hide at class. WELL, I IMMEDIATELY SENCED A VOICE, “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” O.K. I thought, so into a large can with water went the roughed out drumhead and the lacing. I’m committed now! So, I stopped, and in turn faced each of the four directions and asked for help.
The drum was assembled. Hey it’s tough pulling 40 some ft of wet rawhide thru a hole in a drumhead ! I brought it in the kitchen to dry overnight.
In the morning, I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning. Out to the kitchen I went. Will it be twisted? warped? will the lacing have pulled thru the holes?? No, the drum was fine. It may have been my hands that assembled the drum, but I HAD ALOT OF HELP !!!!! So, on Sat the 14 of Aug. a drum was born.