How to Make a Drum Shell From Veneer Sheets

Written by christina hall
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How to Make a Drum Shell From Veneer Sheets
A drum shell can be constructed using veneer sheets. (IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Making a drum shell from veneer sheets requires some effort and usually a lot of trial and error. Veneer sheets are thin pieces of wood that are glued together into three layers to make plywood. Plywood is a strong building material and is used frequently to build drum shells. The trick when using this material to build is to recognise that the veneer sheets bend in only one direction without breaking; this is where the trial and error comes into play. Once you ascertain which direction the sheets bend, you are ready to begin making a drum shell after gathering the additional needed supplies.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Veneer wood sheets, preferably birch
  • Wood glue
  • Circle mould
  • Clamps
  • Table saw
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Determine the size of the drum shell you wish to make based on the measurements of the type of drum you wish to build, such as a tom or snare. For instance, a standard snare is usually 14 inches in diameter and 5.5 inches deep, therefore, cut the sheets to a width of 5.5 inches. To find the circumference of a 14-inch drum, use the equation, 2 times pi times the radius, 7 in this case. In this example, the result is 44 inches; the length the veneer strips need to be. Cut three strips this size to form the 3-ply veneer shell.

  2. 2

    Find the natural bend of the strips by gently bending them in both directions. The strip with the best outward facing side should be used on the outside. Place this strip into an open circle mould and set aside. The next strip requires some calculations, as each strip should be marginally smaller or the shell will not close correctly. Measure and cut the next two strips by two times the thickness of the veneer sheets, which is 2mm. In terms of millimetres, the outside strip is 1117.6mm. Therefore, the next strip is 1117.6mm minus 12.56mm equals 1105.04mm and the third strip is 1105.04mm minus 12.56mm, which is 1092.48mm. Cut these strips to these measurements and prepare for gluing.

  3. 3

    Apply the glue to the inside curve and place the second strip into the mould against the first strip. Apply glue to the inside curve of the second strip and insert the third strip. Then close the circle mould and clamp it tight. The glue will be spread thin and any glue that squeezes out should be cleaned up as soon as possible. The resulting tightness of the bond will provide a more natural tone.

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