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Bowl drum!

Bowl drum!

Postby Zack Cassil » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:01 pm

Hello, I'm not a drum enthusiast, nor am I remotely an expert on woodworking, but I am attempting to create a bowl drum, in the style of the Northern Sami shamans, the Noaidi. The drum is made out of a hollowed out burl from a tree, and I cannot find any other drum like it to guide me in making one. This wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sami_drum explains the basics of it, but what I cannot figure out is how to keep tension on the face of the drum. The face is made from rawhide and stretched over the open bowl, then holes are drilled through the rawhide and into the bowl, and sinew or string is threaded through the holes. I know that with rawhide drums you're supposed to soak them in cold water overnight before attaching them to the drum- does this stretch the hide out, so that it will tighten around the drum when dry? Otherwise, it seems that the drum face will be lax if it's only sewn on through the wood.

Any answers or insights or even basics in drum making that I might have missed would be greatly appreciated :)
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:15 pm

The hide tightens as it dries. You might want to get a feel for how this works by doing some test pieces.
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Jim McConkey » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:32 pm

Yes, soaking the hide makes it loose and flexible. As Barry said, it tightens as it dries. In conventional Irish Bodhran construction, a round frame is created then the wet hide is tacked in place while the head is stretched, and becomes taught once dry. The lacing on your drum serves the same purpose as the tacks. The tension is "adjusted" by spraying with water to loose or heating to tighten. Your Wikipedia article says the head was tightened before use by holding close to a fire. http://www.drumfactorydirect.com/ is a good source of head material, if you are not insisting on the traditional reindeer hide.
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Zack Cassil » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:33 pm

Thank you both, I'll let you know how it goes once the reindeer hide arrives :)
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Jim McConkey » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm

Please take pictures of the construction process and share them here!
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Zack Cassil » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:33 am

Here's the drum and the construction process, sorry it's so late, I finished about a week ago but have been working on other parts of this Sami Noaidi outfit.
Apologies in advance if the pictures are too big, I tried to size them down but couldn't get the code right.

The burl bowl, snagged it off of ebay with 7 minutes left on the auction for 10$ w/ 10$ shipping- and if you know anything about wood burls, it was a ridiculous stroke of luck. It's sitting in reindeer rawhide.
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Handle cut out with a jigsaw (the first blade snapped because I didn't realise how thick the bottom was)
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Holes drilled for the sewing
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Reindeer rawhide soaked overnight, then I haphazardly cut a circle out with ample space
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Weight kept on the rawhide to keep it still while I poked holes for the sewing in the rawhide. I have no awl, so I just hammered a nail into the rawhide a little bit >_>
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Rawhide with holes. I poked each hole a few millimeters closer to the drum than was needed, so it'd sew on extra tight.
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Artificial sinew with a large needle, fit better than expected
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Sewing started, went as easy as you'd expect
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All done, now to dry!
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Messy...
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Neat!
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Dried!
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It turned out much better than expected. Once dried it was much tighter than I expected, especially with how I positioned the rawhide's sewing holes. Here's a crap quality sample of how it sounds (it's much louder than what the video sounds like)
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I've been working for a while now trying to figure out what exact figures to paint on it and what they would mean and all that good stuff, may post a picture of the painted drum once I get it all figured out. I'm also working on an antler hammer for the drum, which is harder to craft than I anticipated (half of it broke off but that just adds character, or something). And the rest of the rawhide I used to wrap around a bow.
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Jim McConkey » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:15 am

Excellent job! Please let us see it again once it is decorated.

Nice score on the bowl! But where did you ever find reindeer hide?
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Re: Bowl drum!

Postby Zack Cassil » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:15 pm

http://www.chichesterinc.com/ReindeerRawhide.htm the small fit my needs and then some
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