Topic: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"  (Read 28749 times)

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Offline James Walker

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"Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« on: December 24, 2006, 06:04 PM »
Over the past few years, I've gotten a number of different inquiries from other Cafe members, about various aspects of "Do It Yourself" drum building.  Because of that, and because of the questions posted about some of my recent projects in the "Show us your..." thread, I thought I'd start a blog demonstrating some of what goes on in my projects.  Specifically, I thought I'd document the building of a bop kit, a project which I've recently undertaken. 

Please keep in mind, however, that there is no set timetable for this project.  Its progress is dependent entirely on my available time, and (perhaps most importantly) my budget, as I continue to amass the necessary parts for the kit.  I'll update this thread as needed, but don't be surprised if several weeks (or more) goes by between updates.  I'm going to include image files where appropriate, but they'll be posted as links, rather than embedded images, just to save download time and bandwidth.  As the kit nears completion, I'll also include audio files as warranted.

EDIT:  I probably should state that the goal of this blog is NOT to say "This is how you do it."  Rather, it's simply to illustrate some of the issues that can arise, and some of the creative choices that have to be made when designing and building a drum or drum set.  Most of the steps that I'm going to discuss have numerous "correct" solutions, depending on the builder's experience, and the desired final result.  Not for one moment do I mean to imply that anything I'm presenting here should be taken as the gospel truth - quite the contrary.

I'm not a professional drum builder, but please feel free to post any questions about this project.  I'll answer them as best I can.  Disclaimer:  while I hope that my experience can be of benefit to others who may want to try this sort of thing, please understand that I'm offering no guarantees of success for anyone else who undertakes their own DIY drum building projects.  Remember that this sort of thing takes practice, and I can't guarantee that something won't go wrong at some point - proceed at your own risk.  Plus, always keep in mind:  safety first!

The Starting Point

Most Cafe members know that I've built a number of "do it yourself" snare drums over the years.  I've been contemplating the building of a kit for some time now, but what kick started the project was this snare drum:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/5x16/5x16_070.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/5x16/5x16_070.jpg

I was so pleased with the results, that I decided to start saving up the coin for a small kit.  To compliment the kit I currently own, I decided to make something more appropriate for straight-ahead jazz, in what are basically the traditional "bop" sizes:

7x10 and 8x12 mounted toms
14x14 floor tom
14x18 bass drum

(Is a 10" tom traditional for bop?  Not really, I guess, but that doesn't matter - I want one on the kit regardless.)  ;)

I debated my choice of shells (stave? segment? synthetic?), but I've opted to use Keller maple shells.  Part of the concern was budgetary, but I've heard enough great Keller shell kits to convince me that I'd be happy with the sound of my drums if I used Kellers.  The toms are six-ply, and the bass drum is eight-ply.  Here are the floor tom and bass drum shells in their "raw" form:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_001.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_001.jpg
 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_002.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_002.jpg

I've already completed the "matching snare" for this kit:  a 5.5x14 10-ply Keller maple:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/matchingsnare_021.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/matchingsnare_021.jpg

I'm not sure exactly what hardware I'm going to use for the toms and bass, but it will be chrome to match the snare drum.

Color Schemes, Part I:  The Interiors

Even though I'll probably have coated heads on the toms and bass drum, given the "bop kit" designation, I decided to stain the interior of each shell, using a color called "fruitwood" (Cabot Stains, for those of you keeping score at home).  It goes well with the purple dye I'm going to use on the drums.  I haven't decided yet if I want to dye the bass drum hoops purple to match the shells, or if I want them to contrast, but if I do go with the contrasting look, I'll go with the fruitwood stain.  You can see the fruitwood stain on the interior of the tom shells, here:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_003.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_003.jpg

It's only a slight difference from the raw maple, but I like the look of it better.

Following the application of the stain, I sealed the interiors with a few coats of danish oil.

Color Schemes, Part II:  The Exterior

I'm going to use the same dye that was used on the snare drum shown earlier in this thread:  an aniline dye sold by  http://www.drumfoundry.com]Drum Foundry , called "Deep Violet."  I opted to use dye not only for the choice of color, but also because dyes tend to produce deeper, more vibrant colors than wood stains do.  In terms of the application process, however, it's the same as with stains:  a couple of applications rubbed in with a rag yielded this sort of look:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_003a.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_003a.jpg

Personally, while the solid color is nice, I want the grain to show more on this kit, so a little light sanding was called for, using 220 grit, resulting in this:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_007.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_007.jpg

After each round of sanding, I applied a light wash of the purple dye - a much thinner mix than the original dye - just to restore a bit more of the color, while still leaving the grain figuring visible.

At this stage, the color is still fairly light.  I've just started applying the gloss topcoat, and while I haven't built up enough to yield any glossiness to the finish, you can see what the resulting color of the drums will be:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_010.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_010.jpg

The topcoat I'm using is a gloss wipe-on polyurethane, applied with a foam brush.  Many builders will use sanding sealer prior to applying the topcoat, to fill in the grain and smooth the surface of the shell, making it easier to get a mirror-gloss finish.  I'm going straight to the poly, using the first couple of coats of poly to serve the same function as the sanding sealer, since maple is a closed-pore wood and it doesn't take that much to fill in the grain.  (If I were working with a more open-pore wood like mahogany, I'd definitely use the sanding sealer first.)  After a few coats, I'll start the regimen of alternately applying coats of poly, then sanding inbetween coats to remove imperfections (sags, drips, etc.).

So, that's where things stand at this point.  I'll post new pictures once I've started to build up a nice gloss topcoat on each shell.  In the meantime, I need to finalize my hardware choices - and start saving up some money to buy said hardware. ;)
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline chillman4130

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2006, 06:45 PM »
Thanks James for this info. I hope no one thinks this project shouldn't have its own thread. I love hearing about it because I've been wanting to build a bop kit myself for some time now.

So far I've been all talk and no action but I am a student with no money and nowhere to store another kit. But that shouldn't stop me, right?  ;D

I like the fruitwood stain a lot. I think that was a good choice, although I was skeptical as to its necessity before viewing the picture.

The purple will sure stand out among the traditionalists of the bop circuit. I played my first true bop kit last week (a Gretsch Catalina) and I loved the bass drum.

My vote goes to matching purple bass drum hoops, FWIW.

I'm excted to see your progress and, dangit, I'm gonna make my own soon if it breaks me!

Good luck!!
WARNING: Check my posts for sarcasm before believing anything I say.

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Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2006, 07:04 PM »
Thanks James for this info. I hope no one thinks this project shouldn't have its own thread.

Thanks for the kind words.  I seriously doubt this thread will create anywhere near as much traffic as Chris Whitten's World Party tour diary, or Felix's threads about recording, but that's to be expected - those guys know more about those topics than I do about mine, and their topics are more relevant to most drummers here than my topic will be.  I just didn't want to co-opt an existing thread to share this information.

Quote
I like the fruitwood stain a lot. I think that was a good choice, although I was skeptical as to its necessity before viewing the picture.

I'm just trying to be prepared in case I use clear heads in the future.  I'm probably going to build a matching 16x20 or 14x22 (or comparable) bass drum to go along with the 18, so I can get more mileage out of the kit than just using it on straightahead jazz gigs.  Given that, it's quite conceivable that the interiors might be visible sometime down the road, if I want to go with more of a pop/rock tuning and head choice.

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The purple will sure stand out among the traditionalists of the bop circuit.

I just applied another coat of poly, and the "gloss" look is starting to show:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_014.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_014.jpg

Purple definitely is an unusual choice, but I think I'm benefitting from the darkness of this particular dye.  It's unusual, but not crass the way a really loud, bright purple could be.

Quote
My vote goes to matching purple bass drum counterhoops, FWIW.

I'm entertaining three options regarding the hoops:

1)  Matching purple on both sides of each hoop
2)  "Fruitwood" stain on both sides
3)  Matching purple on the exterior face of each hoop, and the fruitwood stain on the interior face of each hoop.

I'm leaning towards either #1 or #3.  I still need to buy the hoops, so I've got time to figure that out.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline DrumDude

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2006, 08:59 PM »
James, I couldn't tell, but the bearing edges seem "flat". Are they already cut or will that be done once this is completed? If they will be cut later, will you do that and what angles are you planning to use?

Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2006, 09:20 PM »
James, I couldn't tell, but the bearing edges seem "flat". Are they already cut or will that be done once this is completed? If they will be cut later, will you do that and what angles are you planning to use?

Good eye!  The edges haven't been cut yet - they're still "flat."  The edges will be shaped after everything else is done.  That way, I don't have to worry about keeping the edges protected during finishing and drilling - not as much, at least.

The shells arrived already cut to my chosen depths, and only required a bit of sanding before I applied the stain (some shells needed more sanding than others).  With those steps out of the way, my basic schedule is as follows:

1)  Stain/finish the interiors
2)  Dye/finish the exteriors
3)  Do the layout and drilling for the hardware
4)  Shape the edges

I'm going to do my own edges, and I'm still undecided as to what shape(s) to use.  On the two snare drums pictured earlier in this thread, I actually shaped the edges by hand with a rasp/file (kids, don't try this at home!); if I opt for a rounded outer edge, I'll probably do that again.  However, my father recently gave me a bunch of his power tools, including a router and router table, and I plan to spend some time practicing my edgework on some scrap shells I've got.  Assuming that I can develop my "chops" with the router, I may use that to cut the edges, especially if I want a sharper angle to the cut. 

The edge shapes I'm considering:

1)  Bass drum:  will probably be a roundover cut, either a full roundover, or with a 45 degree (?) countercut from the inside edge

2)  Toms:  either a full roundover, a roundover with a countercut, or a 45-degree cut from the outer edge, so that the peak will be in line with the inner ply of the shell.  The idea behind that last option is to give a bit of a "timpani" effect to how the head seats, like Premier's undersized shells.  Or, maybe I'll mix it up - rounded edges on top for a "warm" sound, and a sharp cut on the reso side to maximize sustain (minimal contact between the head and shell).

I'm leaning towards the full roundover on all of the drums, but like everything else, I'll probably decide that at the last possible minute.  ;)
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline chillman4130

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2006, 11:49 PM »
I'm entertaining three options regarding the hoops:

1)  Matching purple on both sides of each hoop
2)  "Fruitwood" stain on both sides
3)  Matching purple on the exterior face of each hoop, and the fruitwood stain on the interior face of each hoop.

I'm leaning towards either #1 or #3.  I still need to buy the hoops, so I've got time to figure that out.

Then let me alter my vote to choice #3. That would look very nice.

Or, maybe I'll mix it up - rounded edges on top for a "warm" sound, and a sharp cut on the reso side to maximize sustain (minimal contact between the head and shell).

I started a thread about this idea a few months ago, intrigued by the potential versatility of this idea. If you go that route, I'd be particularly interested in hearing what you think of the edges done differently between the batter and reso.
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2006, 11:55 PM »
I started a thread about this idea a few months ago, intrigued by the potential versatility of this idea. If you go that route, I'd be particularly interested in hearing what you think of the edges done differently between the batter and reso.

I remember that thread.

The convenient thing is, I'm planning on using Pearl ISS mounts on the kit (perhaps changing to something else down the road, but I'll be using the ISSs to start), so once everything is asssembled it would be very easy to flip the rack toms around and see what difference (if any) there is with differently-shaped edges serving as the batter side edge in each case.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

felix

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2006, 12:54 PM »
Great thread man.

I'd prolly go with #3.

That kit is gonna sound and look GREAT.  I think you are going to be very happy with it.  Have you thought of some cool badging for it??? ;D

Awesome job bro.   8)

Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2006, 12:14 PM »
That kit is gonna sound and look GREAT.  I think you are going to be very happy with it.  Have you thought of some cool badging for it???

LOL

Naw...I'm not creative to come up with a cool badge, and I wouldn't want to put a badge on the drum unless it's cool.   ;)  If anything, I might put a small piece of parchment on the inside of each shell, a la Gretsch and Rogers, but since I'm building these drums for myself, I probably won't bother.  Unless I go into business selling drums (which I really REALLY doubt will ever happen), I'm not really going to worry about badging my instruments.

FWIW, I think I've decided what hardware I'm going to use on the project.  While I'm not aiming for any sort of "vintage look" with this kit, I do like the classic look of these bass drum claws:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bc07_400.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bc07_400.jpg

...and I'm going to go with these single-point lugs on the toms and bass, which have about a 1/2" footprint on the shell:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/item2.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/item2.jpg

I'm going with the single-point lugs for a few reasons, including: 

1)  I like the way they look
2)  I've used them on one or two other projects, and they work great
3)  unlike most other lugs, I only need to drill one hole for each of these lugs.  If I went with lugs with two mounting screws, that would be 56 more holes to drill (12 per rack tom, 16 each on both the floor and bass), and less drilling means less work.  I'm lazy - what can I say?  ;)
4)  they're small, so I'll be able to show off as much of the finish as possible.  Yes, I'll have to be careful moving the drums around, and the finish will probably get dinged up a bit here and there (it's unavoidable), but I can live with that.  I'm careful with my gear, and I don't foresee this kit going on any world tours.  ;)
5)  If money wasn't an issue, I'd probably outfit the drums with a set of  http://www.egodrumsupply.com]Ego  "well-rounded" or "flat top" lugs (similar to the double-ended lugs on the 14" snare drum pictured above).  Unfortunately, they're kind of pricey (great lugs, but expensive), and that would add another $150 or so to the project, which I can't quite swing at this time.  However, since the Egos are also single-point lugs, I'll have the option to replace these less expensive lugs with them at a later date, without having to drill any additional holes, and without having any extra holes left over.

For the rack tom mounting system, I'm going to use a Pearl-style double tom mount, and Pearl ISS mounts.    With the Pearl tom/BD mount, if I opt for a four-piece kit, I can always put a cymbal arm attachment in the second mounting hole for my ride, which will be convenient if I need to minimize the kit's onstage "footprint" or if I want to cut down on setup time (or schlep one less stand) for a given gig.

I've heard some of the horror stories about the ISS mounts allegedly damaging counterhoops or adversely affecting tuning, but I'm basing my decision in part on the experiences of the drummer in my vibes trio.  He has been using them on his bop kit for about a decade, with no ill effects.  However, just to hedge my bets, I plan on leaving plenty of space between the lugs and hoops when I drill, so I can always pop a couple of RIMS mounts on the rack toms at a later date.

The tom hoops will be 2.3mm chrome counterhoops, primarily because I was able to pick up a bunch at a really good price a few years ago, and I've already got 'em in hand.  At some point, I'll probably try die-cast hoops on the toms, but I need to rein things in for the sake of my budget, for the time being at least.

The floor tom is going to have legs, not a RIMS cradle, and the spurs are going to be fairly hefty Pearl-style, just in case Mister_Acrolite ever needs to borrow the kit.  ;D  Actually, once the drums are completed, I'm probably going to pick up some "pop/fusion"-appropriate bass drum heads, not just "jazz-friendly" heads, just to see what kind of thump I can get out of this bass drum.  I heard a recording recently of Ari Hoenig on a 12/14/18 kit, and he got a phenomenal "fusion" sort of sound out of the kit.  Granted, it was a studio recording, but still, if I can get a useable sound of that sort out of this drum, I'm going to want to be able to lay into the bass drum and not have it slip-sliding all over the place.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline chillman4130

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2006, 04:48 PM »
Good choice on those lugs; those are classy and I've always wondered why more drum companies (except, I think, Spaun) don't use them. Simple and unobtrusive.

If it were me I'd do all the hardware in brass because the purple/brass combo would be stunning, but I know that's another added expense.

I once added an aftermarket ISS mount to an old rack tom, and had absolutely no trouble with it. It did in fact drastically improve the sound of the drum and did not damage the hoop.

About the badges: I bet someone here at the cafe could help you out desiging some badges, if you were so inclined. I always thought the best place to get them physically made would be at a trophy shop. Has anyone here done that?

I love coming back to this thread. Please keep us placated with photos. Perhaps the demand here will cause you to work harder on your project...
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Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2006, 05:40 PM »
If it were me I'd do all the hardware in brass because the purple/brass combo would be stunning, but I know that's another added expense.

Long story short: some of the parts I've already bought for the kit (including many parts for the 14" snare drum linked above) were only available to me in chrome, so I'm going with chrome throughout.  I thought briefly about doing the tom and bass lugs in brass, to serve visually as highlights against the chrome and purple, but even though some brands have done that to good effect (Yamaha, Canopus, a.o.), I like the consistent look more - either all brass, or all chrome.

I do agree, however, that brass-on-purple is a very slick color combination, as evidenced by these "drum jewelry boxes" I made for my nieces a few Christmases back:

 http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/jewelboxes/jewelbox8.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/jewelboxes/jewelbox8.jpg

However, it's not like chrome-on-purple doesn't look good.  ;)

Quote
I once added an aftermarket ISS mount to an old rack tom, and had absolutely no trouble with it. It did in fact drastically improve the sound of the drum and did not damage the hoop.

Cool - it's always good to get corroborative evidence!  :)

Quote
About the badges: I bet someone here at the cafe could help you out desiging some badges, if you were so inclined. I always thought the best place to get them physically made would be at a trophy shop. Has anyone here done that?

Trophy shops certainly are one of many sources for that sort of thing.  However, I'm not going to pursue the badge idea unless I decide to turn pro.  If I'm going to design a badge, then I need to have a company name for it, and in turn I'd need to research the name and make sure that no other company is already using it, etc., etc., etc.  It's simply beyond the scope of what I'm doing.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

felix

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2006, 06:56 PM »
Are you going to vent your shells?  And just pop a grommet in them with like an iron cross, phallic symbol, ankh, cookie monster stickers or something equally unique, maybe a chrome over plastic "Jamez" or "JW" something would be cool too. 8)

I wouldn't skimp on the quality of your lugs and inserts.  I'd just hold off until you can swing the 350 bucks for the ego lugs.  But ultimately it's your kit  :-\ ;D  I like those lugs on your snare btw.  Pretty unique.

You are basically making your own DW kit.  Pretty cool.  Are you able to divulge what kind of cost you are going to have in this project or is that taboo to discuss???  I understand if you don't want to.  But it sure will be cool.

Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2006, 08:28 PM »
Actually, I was going to ask if I could use the picture of you and the groupie chick in your VIP photo.  :P

No vents - not to start, at least.  If I find that I need 'em, I'll add 'em later.  When it comes to snare drums, I usually go ventless, especially on deeper drums.  (Round badge Gretsches didn't have vents, did they?  IMO that makes it worth trying, at least.)

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I wouldn't skimp on the quality of your lugs and inserts.  I'd just hold off until you can swing the 350 bucks for the ego lugs.  But ultimately it's your kit  :-\ ;D  I like those lugs on your snare btw.  Pretty unique.

Maybe sometime down the road I'll swap these lugs out for a set of Egos, but that additional $150 that they'd cost is a "make or break" number for the whole project, and would add at least two months to my schedule.

Even though the lugs I'm using are less expensive, I have no concerns or worries about their functionality.  They're the same lugs I used on my acrylic "tamborim," and if they can hold up to the tension I crank that up to, then they'll hold up fine for toms and bass.

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You are basically making your own DW kit.
 

Oh, that's a straight line if ever there was one...hopefully, everyone here recognizes that I'm not a "DW basher," but even so, I'm going to leave it alone, even though the comments I'm thinking of are more of a general editorial on the whole "DW Pro/Con" debate that goes on at various drum forums, and isn't a comment on the drums or the company.  My humor doesn't always come across in these posts, and discretion is the better part of valor.  ;)

Still, if I can end up with anything even within shouting distance of DW quality, or any other "brand name" kit, especially in terms of the sound (and that's a big if - we'll see how things shake out), I'll be very very satisfied with this project.  I know up front that my finishes won't ever be confused with DW's gorgeous lacquer finishes.  My finishes are OK - theirs are consistently stunning.

Quote
Are you able to divulge what kind of cost you are going to have in this project or is that taboo to discuss???  I understand if you don't want to.  But it sure will be cool.

That's a fair question, and given the whole idea of this thread demonstrating what's involved in terms of building ("assembling," whatever) one's own kit, it's fair game.

I'll put out some ballpark figures.  I hesitated for quite a while before starting this project, because whenever I'd crunch the numbers, I'd think about how many good second-hand sets are available for that same amount of money.  If I didn't enjoy building, I wouldn't have undertaken the project - there definitely are less-expensive ways to end up with a really good drum set.

I'll just talk about the drums I'm working on now, and leave the two snare drums out of the mix.  I'll also leave out the 20" or 22" bass drum I may decide to add to the kit later on, as well as an 8" tom I've been considering as well.  I'll focus on three toms and a bass drum.

Part of what makes this project "do-able" for me, is the fact that I already had many of the parts I'll need - that has cut down significantly on the present-day cost of this.  I've got a few items that I can borrow/pirate from a 14x20 bass drum (which I'll eventually reassemble, when I can afford to replace the parts), including:

Spurs (normally a $25-40 investment at least)
16 4" chrome tension rods  ($15, about)
felt strips (which may or may not be needed on this current kit, depending on my head choices)

Additionally, through other transactions in the past few years, I ended up with some other parts that will make their way onto this kit, including:

- 10" Pearl ISS mount and tom bracket (would have cost $15+/-)
- the hoops for the 10", 12", and 14" toms (would have cost $65-75 +/-)
- three floor tom legs borrowed from my Ludwig kit (would have cost $21)

I'm also going to recycle heads for use on the toms, at least to start - that's going to save me about $60-70 at least.

That left me needing to purchase the following, which I'm doing on an "as-needed, as-can-be-afforded" basis.  I still haven't bought all the parts I need, and I probably won't until January at the earliest, and brand new heads will have to wait even longer.

The rough numbers are:

- Keller Tom and bass shells, cut to length but unfinished and without bearing edges cut:  $250
- Generic version of a Pearl BD/Tom double mount system:  $65
- 12" ISS mount and generic version of a Pearl tom bracket:  $25+/-
- Three floor tom brackets:  $20
- Lugs:  $145
- Tension rods for the toms:  $15-20
- 18" bass drum heads:  $55-65 for the pair
- 18" bass drum hoops:  $55 for the pair
- 16 bass drum claws:  just over $20

So, for the new components, I'm looking at about $650, give or take some shipping costs, plus the cost of materials for finishing the shells (dye, sandpaper, polyurethane, tack cloth, brushes, etc.).  Adding in what it would have cost me to buy the other parts I'm "grandfathering" in to the project, that would be another $150 or so.

I've already got the other necessary hardware for the kit (cymbal stands, snare stand, throne, pedals, cymbals, etc.), so those don't figure into my costs.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something in terms of parts, but I think that's about it.  We're talking about an $800 project, and even that's with me cutting some corners here and there.  Foregoing vents is going to save me about $10-15 as well.  Add even more to the budget if I went with Ego lugs, or fancier BD claws, or die cast hoops, etc.  Doing my own bearing edges is going to save me at least $20 per shell, and the cost would have increased significantly had I gone with stave, segment, Eames or Tempus shells.

There are some great kits out there that cost $800 or less, so you can see why I waited a while before deciding to undertake this project.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Offline Dave Heim

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2006, 08:37 PM »
. . .

Actually, I was going to ask if I could use the picture of you and the groupie chick in your VIP photo.  :P

. . .

Wait.  Felix is the one on the right?   ;D


JW - on the Keller shells, do you have them drilled or do you do your own drilling?
Working with: Second Time Around, James Curley, Scraps of Brass, The American Wind Band, and other notable Chicago musicians.

Teaching through Quinlan & Fabish Music Stores.

Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2006, 11:22 PM »
JW - on the Keller shells, do you have them drilled or do you do your own drilling?

I'm going to do my own layout and drilling.  I've found it easier to do the finishing first, and then drill, rather than having the shell drilled first.  It's not unheard of, however, to drill prior to finishing, or to have the shells drilled for hardware by the supplier.  One just has to be careful, in that case, not to let the stain or dye used on the exterior leak through the drill holes onto the interior ply.  That's the nice thing about the DIY drum building industry - one can have as much, or as little, of the work done as they wish.  Do you feel confident about doing a nice danish oil finish, but you don't feel comfortable drilling holes or cutting edges?  Have 'em done for you!  :)

However, I have to break in my newly acquired drill press!  Boys and their toys...   :D

Actually, this thread will start to get interesting around the time I start the layout and drilling.  There will be much more to discuss, and IMO much more interesting photographs to be shown.  Right now, it's poly...sand...poly...sand...poly...sand........which in terms of posting updates is precisely as interesting as watching paint dry, and slightly more interesting than watching grass grow.  ("Hey, everyone, look at this!  Jim has posted yet ANOTHER picture of four partly-finished shells with no hardware!")  However, the gloss is starting to build, slowly but surely, even tho it's not all that smooth yet:

10" tom and floor tom:   http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_016.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_016.jpg
bass and 12" tom:   http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_017.jpg]http://www.malletjazz.com/drums/bopkit/bopkit_017.jpg

That floor tom shell really is going to be the "looker" of the bunch.  The wood grain figuring on that shell is amazing - the photo doesn't do it justice.

Let's hope I don't screw it up. ::)
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

felix

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2006, 02:13 AM »
That is a pretty good price point for a custom drumset.

The DW line was a compliment- whenever I see a glossy "trans" finish they always come to mind since I think they are the best at doing it.

Yeah, Holly was a sweetheart.  Last I heard she was dancing.  Definitely one of my favorite fans over the years.

Ok looking good.  Best of luck to you.

Offline James Walker

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2006, 02:26 AM »
The DW line was a compliment- whenever I see a glossy "trans" finish they always come to mind since I think they are the best at doing it.

Agreed on that last point, and thanks - I actually did take the comment as it was intended.  I just chuckled when you mentioned that particular brand, since those two little letters seem to be so incendiary on so many drum forums (including this one, from time to time).  Their finishes certainly are a benchmark for that sort of deep gloss finish, and any such comparison is taken as a compliment, in my book at least.
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

byronand

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2006, 11:18 AM »
Great thread James! Thanks for taking the time to share this project with us. I'll look forward to reading your ongoing updates.

Re Felix's question on cost, fwiw, I recently did a price-check when I was considering having a snare drum built to my specs -- no costly wood-finishing work involved, staining, etc... I was just considering a black abalone wrap.

Here's the breakdown, and the total cost, $465.70.

(Gives a feel for how all of the small bits begin to add-up, even without the high cost of interior and exterior wood finishing.)

Snare Shell   
Keller 6x14 8-ply w/bearing edges cut   $55.00
Drilling layout   $20.00
Drilling lugs   $15.00
Drilling air-vent   $1.00
Drilling strainer/butt   $12.00
Snare bed   $20.00
Install drum covering   $22.00
Covering: prl24 Black Astral Abalone   $76.50
subtotal   $221.50


Snare Hardware   
Lugs   $20.00
Lug screws   $3.00
Vent grommet   $3.00
Snare wires   $25.00
Snare strap   $2.00
Tension rods   $9.20
Die cast hoops   $90.00
Trick Strainer/Butt plate GS007BK   $70.00
Batter head   $12.00
Snare side head   $10.00
subtotal   $244.20


Grand Total   $465.70

Offline Chris -

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2006, 11:43 AM »
JW,

GREAT THREAD!!!!  I've built a couple of drums and a cajon myself. 

This process has really helped me with regards to buying quality drums at great prices.

My next endeavor is - customizing cymblas - YUMO!!

What should I choose - Moller/Free Stroke; Heel up/down: Zildjian/Sabian; DW/Ludwig; Peart/Gadd? Oh @*$^#&, I should have played guitar!

Offline Todd Norris

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Re: "Jim Walker's DIY Bop Kit Builder's Blog"
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2006, 12:02 PM »
Cool James!  Thanks for taking the time to document this project. 





My next endeavor is - customizing cymblas - YUMO!!



Whoa there Chris, I don't know you at all and I don't want to insult your intelligence, but make sure you research the heck out of that before you mess with your pies.  It's far more complicated than I ever imagined.  Check out our brothers over at cymbalholic.com for more information about cymbals than you can possibly imagine. 

 

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