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LOUNGE => Gear / Equipment / Instruments => DIY / Building & Repair => Topic started by: Bob Dias on November 02, 2007, 01:11 PM

Title: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on November 02, 2007, 01:11 PM
Previously I have built an oak stave snare with photos and details posted here in the DC somewhere.  It turned out very nice. But it was a first effort learning experience, so I took that hardware and assembled a snare from a new Keller shell a la  J.Walker (which I use as a go-to everyday snare now).  Now I figure it is time to jump in feet first and try my hand at an entire segmented-shell kit.

The wife would not let me get the big new $6K lathe currently on display at my local WoodCraft store. But I am allowed to significantly update my router table.  I have spent way too many hours planning, scribbling, and scheming and have come up with the following:

1)   The main shop tools used: table saw, router table (w/ various bits), palm sander.
2)   It will be a 5-piece.  12, 14, 16" toms, 20x16 bass, 13x6" snare.  The tom depths are as yet undecided. However, I was planning on shallower depth toms (6, 8, 12" respectively), but am not completely sold there…I have wanted something a bit more musical, and a little less ‘"boom" (eventhough I really like the "boom")
3)   I believe I have decided on a shell thickness of 3/8".  Not too thick, not too thin.  Based on my calculations, this is the average thickness of shells that can be made from common  ¾" wood stock.  It also gives me the most room for error during shaping.  If you have ever tried to build drums, it is nothing if not an exercise in error propogation (and how to minimize it).
4)   The wood will likely be walnut, cherry, ash or a figured maple.  No final decision made there yet either. This decision may be made on price and availability.
5)   The finish will most likely be several coats of tung oil (simple).
6)   The hardware is still to be decided.

I will be setting up my workshop, router table etc. this weekend and will begin by making a few jigs and a test shell from MDF or pine to test the method and the fit.  ANY input to the depth of toms and preferred wood type would be greatly appreciated.

Let the games begin.  Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on November 02, 2007, 06:01 PM
Outstanding.

When you get it down, will you make us some shells to buy?   :)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on November 02, 2007, 07:18 PM
NYF,
Be careful what you wish for....!  Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Todd Norris on November 02, 2007, 07:35 PM
Nice!  Turning a bass on a router would be challenging but not impossible. 

Out of the woods you mentioned, I'm most interested in Ash.  It reportedly has a wide frequency response and is a very versatile and pleasing sound.  Plus, I don't think it costs as much as Cherry or Walnut. 

Please be sure to post frequent updates WITH PHOTOS! 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on November 03, 2007, 10:06 PM
Yea,
Ash might be the choice...I love my swamp ash telecaster. I always wondered wy more drums were not made from it...too pedestian perhaps. 

Question:

Does anyone have wooden hoops? you big wide $50 variety that one buys to put on their snare? If so, could you please post or send me the cross-sectional dimensions? Width of hoop x height? I imagine that they are about 1"x 1", but am not sure.  I am contemplating making some wood hoops for as part of this project. 

picked up and ordered some router bits today...and some test-grade wood.  Sawdust should start flying by the end of this week.

Thanks, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Todd Norris on November 04, 2007, 12:14 AM

Does anyone have wooden hoops? you big wide $50 variety that one buys to put on their snare? If so, could you please post or send me the cross-sectional dimensions? Width of hoop x height? I imagine that they are about 1"x 1", but am not sure.  I am contemplating making some wood hoops for as part of this project. 


Yeah, matching hoops are a must.  The ones on the snare in my avatar are an inch across and about 1 1/4 inch deep. 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on November 04, 2007, 08:38 AM
I have never played a wood hoop.

What does a wood hoop bring?  Is it a look thing only, or does it change
the tone?  Does it change the tone only of rim shots, or of regular hits too?

Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Todd Norris on November 04, 2007, 08:40 PM
The rim shots and cross sticks are obviously different with the wood hoops.  Regular hits are debatable.  The theory is that the wood hoops resonate a little from the strike of the head, adding that much more color to the sound of the drum.  I haven't done A/B tests on my drum, but I did play the drum with metal hoops before the wood ones arrived.  I'd like to say the sound is different, but without A/B tests I can't be absolutely sure. 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: metalshredder on February 15, 2008, 12:53 PM
Interesting.  They seem quite bulky, do they get in the way of playing at all?  I think that I would find myself trying to avoid rimshots the whole time!
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Louis Russell on February 15, 2008, 01:13 PM
I would find myself trying to avoid rimshots the whole time!

Damaging the wood hoops would worry me but friends who use them don't seem to have a problem. 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on April 14, 2008, 06:40 PM
OK, here we go.
All the calculations have been made, the jigs tested, the lumber selected.

I am starting from 2 2"x10"x10' long rough sawn ash boards that were sawn to 5' lengths to fit into my truck...


(http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/1585/stavekit001wc3.jpg)

Those were turned into many (many) planks that measured from 4-5" wide, 1" thick, by 2-3' long (~4hrs of garage mill work)...

(http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/5274/stavekit004eo9.jpg)

3 more hours of mill work turned those into suitable-sized beveled planks for gluing...

(http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/4939/stavekit010nt7.jpg)







Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bart Elliott on April 14, 2008, 06:43 PM
Looking good Bob!
It's amazing how many hours you've spent thus far.

Keep the photos and details coming! Wish I could shoot some video; I'd air in on DCTV.  8)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on April 14, 2008, 06:45 PM
...the planks are now being glued up. Here is the 16" tom...


(http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/9352/stavekit007rc6.jpg)



and here are the 13" snare and 12" tom glued and ready for shaping (next weekend)...


(http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/5121/stavekit006ky0.jpg)

More images as I progress.

So, this stave set will contain the following:

13x6 snare, 12x6, 14x8 and 16x12 toms, 20x16" bass.

I will be making 1-2 extra snare shells out of this batch of lumber if anyone is interested.

Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on April 14, 2008, 10:25 PM
Wow.    Outstanding.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on April 17, 2008, 03:28 PM
and after ~15 min of exterior shaping...

(http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/5839/stavekit015nb7.jpg)

...a little water to raise the grain, and some final sanding will take the tooling ridges out. I really like this hunk of ash I chose...nice multicolor grain.  It will take me about a week to get around to shaping the other shells. More after that occurs.  I am taking rec's for lugs.  I am considering making them out of a harder wood and using cross-dowel type nuts, or maybe old-style slingerlands.

Making lots-o-sawdust, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 08, 2008, 05:30 PM
All the rough shaping is complete. it took a weeks worth of evenings to shape the outside, and only two evenings to shape the inside.


The thickness of the floor tom and bass (~1/2")...

(http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/368/stavekit029re9.jpg)

The whole family...

(http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/6294/stavekit027nm8.jpg)


Next up, sanding, finishing and hardware...that will take about 2-4 weeks depending on how many coats of oil/varnish/poly I can stand to apply/sand/apply/sand...etc.

Enjoy, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on May 08, 2008, 09:22 PM
Looks really great.

I'm shop challenged.  Exactly how do you shape it down to the right diameter inside the right tolerance?
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 08, 2008, 10:30 PM
NYFrank,
Very slowly.  I built a jig that sits on my router table do shape the outside, and built a jig that houses a hand router to shape the inside.  I take the outside down to a precalculated circumference that gives me a hair under the target O.D. (ie, 13 and 15/16 for a 14" drum). I have a digital micrometer to measure the thickness of the shell as I route the inside, bringing it down to 3/8 for the snare and rack toms, and 1/2 for the floor tom and bass.

Here are pics of the jigs. They work really well.

For the exterior...I hang the drum like a pig on a spit over my router table...

(http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3299/stavekit018ba0.jpg)
(http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/5871/stavekit019dt2.jpg)

for the interior...

(http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/8315/stavekit024ng3.jpg)
(http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/340/stavekit022vt9.jpg)

Shaping is not difficult, but it does take time, patience and a commitment to precision when building the jigs.  Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on May 09, 2008, 08:20 AM
Wow.  Thanks for those pics.

Way, way, way, way  cool.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 09, 2008, 09:24 AM
Also...

I ordered lugs and rims yesterday. I have always loved the look of the vintage slingerland kits, so I decided to go with sticksaver hoops (I have these hoops on everything I own), and beavertail lugs. Singles on the bass and 16", doubles on the snare, 12 and 14" tom. Picked up some of the Dunnett bass "spikes". Have not decided on a tom mounting system yet. I have never really liked the RIMS/DSS systems (yes I have used them). I am looking at either the Optimounts (pearl) or just using bolt-to-the-shell mounts. I am open to ideas. Any suggestions?

still making sawdust...Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bart Elliott on May 09, 2008, 09:48 AM
I am looking at either the Optimounts (pearl) or just using bolt-to-the-shell mounts. I am open to ideas. Any suggestions?

Sorry you don't like RIMS ... but man, I sure wouldn't put the Opti-Mounts on there. I think those are the WORST ever. I have had nothing but bad luck with the Pearl Opti-Mounts. In the studio, the Tom sustain was killed in a major way. Maybe they've improved this over the years, but I've had bad experience after bad experience when using drums with these mounts.

You're going to have such a beautiful kit ... I cringe at the thought of you putting Opti-Mounts on there. But you know what, that's only my opinion and experience. Obviously there are plenty of people who love those mounts and continue to use them.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 09, 2008, 10:25 AM
Hmmmmm....

I will listen to wisdom of the sage...I'll revisit the RIMS/DSS systems!
Bart, any one brand you are partial to?

I will say, that the mouting system will be the last item decided on. That way I can take the toms into a few local shops and try them out on different mounting systems

thanks for the heads up, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Riddim on May 10, 2008, 11:19 PM
Are your staves splined?
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 11, 2008, 01:51 AM
Nope...just clean butt-joints with polyurethane glue.  The joint is not the weak point in these drums...it is imperfections in the actual woodgrain. Spline work adds a level of complexity that I am not set up for in my shop.

Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 11, 2008, 07:00 PM
Alright Bart,
After 2 hours of poking around at my local music shop and consultation with their really good drumguys, I have relented and decided on a set of Gauger RIMS for my 12 and 14" toms...I'll still be putting legs on my 16". Final sanding and tung oil finishing will commence this week (and likely contiune for the next two weeks).
Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on May 23, 2008, 09:42 PM
OK...
We have moved on to finishing! The smell of tung oil permeates my garage and family room right now.  Two pics of the 12 x 6 tom...

before interior shaping and sanding...

(http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/5839/stavekit015nb7.jpg)


and after 2 coats of sealer + two coats of tung oil


(http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/9452/stavekit001ly7.jpg)

The rest of my hardware won't arrive for about another two weeks. So, two coats per day (one in the morning, one in the evening), sanding everyother day...you do the math.  Followed by wetsanding and waxing, we might have a drum kit!

more when the drilling and assembly begin...Bob




Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on May 24, 2008, 02:05 AM
Beautiful.
Title: hardware time...
Post by: Bob Dias on June 17, 2008, 08:47 PM
Here are some pics as I get the hardware in place.

First, marking and drilling...

(http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/2088/stavekithardware001fz9.jpg)

next, the 14 x 8 tom with double beavertails...

(http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/1530/stavekithardware003lc6.jpg)

next the 12 x 6 mounted on the RIMS mount...

(http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/2939/stavekithardware005ij7.jpg)
(http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/6416/stavekithardware006gv7.jpg)

I still need to order some proper sized tension rods. Should be playing it by next week.  More pics when completed.

Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Ryan on June 17, 2008, 11:04 PM
Very nice looking.  Can't wait to see the whole kit.
Title: Done.
Post by: Bob Dias on June 23, 2008, 04:23 PM
Here you go.  Yes, it sounds great, and it looks better than the picture.  I'll be spending the next week tweaking the positioning and tuning. The beavertails and fiberskyns look and sound great. The bass spurs are Dunnett spikes...very cool. More pics when I gig it out. Shown here with my acrolite (still waiting on one part for the matching snare).
Yea, it was all worth it.

Again, sizes are 12x6, 14x8, 16x12, 20x16 and a 13x6 snare.

Enjoy, Bob

(http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/648/stavekitdone001bc0.jpg)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on June 23, 2008, 06:26 PM
Ahhh.  A thread update from one of my favorite DC threads, from our brother Bob.

Outstanding!  You must be Very Proud.  The kit is Gorgeous.

Soundclips - we need some soundclips.   :)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on June 23, 2008, 06:27 PM
Are those Fiberskyns across the board?  Haven't tried them yet.
Good stuff?
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Larry Lawless on June 23, 2008, 06:42 PM
Stunningly beautiful!! :o
Title: thanks!
Post by: Bob Dias on June 23, 2008, 08:11 PM
Frank and Larry,

Thanks!

Yea, All I am doing tonight is kind of just sitting here staring at them. Kind of goofy grin on my face right now.  I want to play them out soooo bad...but I know I need to shakle them down with some rehursal time first.  I have been playing mostly blues lately, so these will be a welcome change from my roto kit.  These will get mated up with my mehmet/agops.  Should be a perfect fit for the blues.  I'll pull out my big condenser mics and try to get some sound files posted.  It has been a great adventure and learning experience.  This kit does not begin to compete with those from UNIX, etc., but I think anyone who sat behind it would be pleased...and I still have enough wood left over for 1 or 2 snare shells!

sinfully proud papa...Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Todd Norris on June 23, 2008, 08:36 PM
SWEET!  Those turned out fantastic Bob!  Congratulations!  When you've had a chance to live with them for a while, I'd love to hear any comparisons/contrasts of the Ash to other woods you've played.

Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Louis Russell on June 23, 2008, 08:44 PM
Beautimus!  Congratulations on an excellent job.  I bet then sound great too. 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on June 23, 2008, 08:48 PM
Frank,

yep, fiberskyns all around, top and bottom (except on the snare side...went with a Renessaince snare-side head there). They sound big, fat and warm. B.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on June 23, 2008, 10:06 PM
Is

DiasDrums

now taking orders?     ;)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on June 24, 2008, 08:49 AM
Hmmmmmmm.

I had that idea, until I made my own.  I will likely make some snare shells and maybe send them out on a DC tour.  I might consider making shell packs (no hardware). that can be done for reasonable cost.  Since I don't have to make a living at it, I might be happy do make shells at cost+, provided people truely understand what they are getting. 

Once you add hardware, it gets expensive very quickly.  I know I spent 4-5x on hardware and heads as I spent on lumber and jigs.  I'll tally up the expenses so you all can see what "cost" is (was) for the whole kit.

still giddy...Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Chip Donaho on June 24, 2008, 02:25 PM
Very nice job Bob. You have good taste, I'd be more than happy to break them in for you.  ;)
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on June 24, 2008, 03:02 PM
Very nice job Bob. You have good taste, I'd be more than happy to break them in for you.  ;)

Me2
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Dead Trooper on June 24, 2008, 11:30 PM
Bob, my hat's off to you: those are amazing, classy looking drums which I'm sure sound way better than they look.

You are a genious and I'm insanely jealous right now of your woodshop skills!

Cheers
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: ayotteTL on June 30, 2008, 05:45 AM
Contemplating building a stave kit of my own but w/pre-made shells(edges pre-cut) thru 
 Joshua(forgot name?). Anyone know first-hand what to expect as far as add'l weight of drums due to the shell thickness(3/8" for toms) as compared to 6-ply Keller shells(I have glass glitter on my Keller Kit which adds a lot of weight too).

I play standard bop sizes or smaller. I use a handtruck anyways but those shells look really heavy. Sometimes I have to unload/reload my handtruck  due to some annoying obstacle(helps me realize the challenges of people that navigate in wheelchairs).

What I'm really trying to avoid is getting tired and sweaty before the gig even starts.

To simplify,will it amount to doubling my drum shell weight from the 6-ply shells I use ya think?
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on July 01, 2008, 05:32 PM
AyotteTL:

In a word, No.  They are a bit heavier, but not double.  My hanging toms are about the same weight as comparable ply toms.  My floor tom and bass might be a pound or 3 heavier, but nothing to work a sweat up over.  The hardware is still the 800 pound gorilla.  Get the staves and go with quality single-braced stands to conserve weight.  But, no, the drums are not significantly heavier.
Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: eardrum on July 05, 2008, 02:12 PM
Just stopped by to take a look at the progress - I've been busy and haven't checked in on this for quite a while.  After picking my jaw off the floor I just want to say WOW!!  That's one gorgeous kit.   Seems like it should be on display somewhere.  If it sounds nearly as good as it looks, I'll take two. :)  And thanks for documenting the whole process.  It's an education seeing how it's done. 
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: metalshredder on July 07, 2008, 08:18 AM
Ditto the hardware being the cost here.  I've been wanting to throw together a stave snare, and yes, i've found out what things cost.  Probably  $200+ on hardware for just a snare alone.  And yeah, likely more than that.  That was just the cheapest prices i've seen, not including tax, shipping, etc.

And to agree with everyone else, very nice.   Definitely waiting on sound bytes!
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: ayotteTL on November 12, 2008, 10:07 AM
Thank you Bob for the info and your kit turned out really beautiful! I've always used Guager rims mounts and can't imagine life w/o em. Hopefully, you like em now too. I think the satin aluminum looks fantastic on your kit. Beavertails are a real highlight too! Classy all-round.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: dizz on December 12, 2008, 02:43 PM
Hi Bob

Wow

This thread was an exciting read -- even inspiring.  I love to work with wood myself.  So very impressed.

How fragile are the segmented shells?  Were your raw materials kiln dried or anything?

Had you given any thought to the idea of fabricating your own hardware -- with hardwoods?  I can tell by your jigs that you have the ability and creativity to accomplish something like that.  Perhaps you could embed a locknut inside a hardwood lug?

Did you calculate lug locations so that you would not drill through joints.

Again I am really impressed and you should be very proud!

Edit:  You should make some congas and bongos :D

Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on January 07, 2009, 12:05 PM
Dizz,

Thanks much!

My shells are actually staves. They seem very robust.  During fabrication, I actually dropped one (ouch) and it just bounced back up into my hands.  I have been gigging since early summer with them and they are doing quite nicely.  They are weathering the Norfolk summer/fall/winter temp and humidity changes in stride.
I now need to sit down and retune them however...likely more to do with the heads settleing in than anything.

I thought about fabricating hardware for about a week. I thought better and decided  on one learning experience at a time, Though I di have some ideas for some "lugs" etc.

I began calculating lug locations so they would not be located on joints, but that was an impossible task for all mounts (bass spurs and FT legs.  Also, modern gorrilla glue is stronger than the wood I used, so I quit trying.  However, again, no problems so far.

I don't know about other drums...these were relative easy since they don't have complex curves (like congas).  I still have a very large plank of Jatoba sitting im my shop that needs to be turned into a snare (or two).

I am still trying to get a sound file posted (still...)

Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: DR on April 15, 2009, 06:46 AM
What a good read!  Thanks for this info, Bob. 

I had to resurrect this thread - for Easter - to ask about the chances of hearing a sound file.

I am still trying to get a sound file posted (still...)

Cheers, Bob
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: NY Frank on April 15, 2009, 04:47 PM
This is my favorite DC thread of all time.

It literally puts a smile on my face every time I hit the DC and see
an update to this thread.
Title: Re: New Kit Build: Segmented Shells
Post by: Bob Dias on April 16, 2009, 02:53 PM
DR...
Sound file to come!  I'll be participating in the upcomming community solo. While I am at it, I'll record all the individual pieces so you can hear the whole kit.
Bob