Fire From The Sky

December 24, 2009

The Drums of Christmas Eve

Filed under: Drums,Me,Wottever — Tags: , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 8:52 pm

The promised bad weather held off. I went to work with lots of summer sausage, cheese, and crackers and a jar of my favorite wine-substitute: cinnamon hibiscus tea mixed with orange juice. It was my co-worker’s birthday, an extra excuse to party. We had one visitor to help eat the munchies. I know, doesn’t sound like a day’s work, but there are much more…interesting days.

Back at home, I’ve watched the second half of The return of the King while soaking a few yards of rawhide lacing. Now the drumhead is soaking. It’s thin, doesn’t need to soak as long. The drum I promised myself over a month ago will be finished tonight.

Here’s the one said I’d show, a while back. Little Grandmother, she’s called.

Grandmother Drum

Grandmother Drum

Sitting proudly next to the dishes I had just washed 😀



Here’s the fabric-covered coffee can ready to have holes punched for the cord loops. The loops are pulled together wih a tighening cord after the rawhide binding is done — a hybrid technique derived from my study of djembe construction. I used hemp cord loops on my first coffeecan drum, but it didn’t need the extra tightening.

My antique icepick lies near it, and the sleek, black frame that I built out of laminated paper and cardboard and two steel hoops. That one will receive its head when I’m done here.

After watching The Lord of the Rings twice in the past week, I’m feeling a bit epicked out. I think I’m ready to get back to writing.

December 10, 2009

Practice makes…another darn drum

Filed under: Drums,Me — Tags: , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 11:58 pm

I made one mistake in buying a ready-made drum. It was so shoddy there was no way to tighten it up enough to get a decent sound out of it. So I took it apart. The fourth-rate rawhide heads can be recycled into rattles. The frame, after a little work, was fit to use again. Not high quality, for sure, but solid enough if not abused.

Now the frame is reincarnated with a decent head. Part of this adventure was cutting a length of 1/4-inch rawhide lacing in half. I invested in an obscene quantity of 1/4-inch lacing because it was the best deal I could get. Way too chunky for most of my smaller projects, but when soaked it can be split with a sharp scissors. Slowly. Inching along. But worth doing.

The decorating was done in great haste with acrylic paint while the head was still damp. I did some research on this, to find the best and safest media. My coffee can drum, “First Raven”, has a couple of ambiguous symbols dabbed on in soot and spit with a finger. Any fine particle pigment can be embedded in the damp surface.

So here’s the newest in my growing collection, 12″ in diameter, hanging from a nail in a doorway to dry:


“Raven Dances” … the world into existence.

I still haven’t dug up that adapter for the microphone. Too much snow to shovel.

Morning-after note:
w00t, this baby has a voice! *reminds self to look for adapter*

December 4, 2009

The Urban Shaman – Drums before Breakfast

Filed under: Drums,Me — Tags: , , — t3hm4d0n3 @ 9:23 am

The wonderful one-hour drum

I got up a little too early, and a little obsessed. This was the result:


The head is ultrasuede. I have a lot of odd pieces from when sewing machine art was my current obsession. While looking for things to get rid of, I ran across my stash of purple, and its stretchiness made me think… Heh-heh.

So, for my before breakfast chore this morning, I sat down to prove it would work. Within an hour I had a decent sounding drum — for its 6 5/8 inch size — and sore fingers. The stainless steel hoop frame was originally intended to make pancakes perfectly round. It’s still close enough to round after stretching the ultrasuede as tight as was practical. The binding is hemp cord.

It wants a light-weight striker, and likes a quick, light beat. Kind of a happy-dance drum. :)

I’ll upload a short sound sample as soon as I dig up an adapter for my good microphone.

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