A good friend of mine on Youtube, Keith Decent, ran a contest to make something 100% from upcycled materials.
I took the challenge and decided to make a stave snare drum from an old pallet and spool! I had a bunch of hardware laying around and ended up finding some nice stainless captive nuts as well as some large washers and bolts.
As you can see at the end of the video, this snare is not 100% finished but it is 100% reclaimed/upcycled.
Check out the video and tutorial here to see what problems I ran into and how I tried to resolve them!
Step 1: Cutting Out the Stave Slats
A stave snare is a design that utilizes segmented sections of wood to build up to a round diameter. The the segments are usually square and then are rounded off on a wood lathe or sanded.
For this build I found a shortcut since I do not have a lather and decided to cut down a giant spool which had the approximate diameter I was looking for of 14".
I cut the pieces out with a sawzall and then jointed and cut the ends until they fit on a 14" drum head. Then I just glued them together at the seams and used a ratchet strap to hold them during the glue up.
Step 2: Rounding Off the Snare Shell
I had to use a few clamps and finish nails to get the shell to be as concentric as possible, its not perfect but close enough.
After the glue dried, I carefully ran the shell through the table saw to give it a consistent height of approximately 5". Please do not do this step if you are not comfortable with the table saw. Work at your level and at your own risk. If you need an alternative, a handsaw would work just the same.
Then I used 24 grit sandpaper to rough out the exterior of the shell and start to get it round. After this I moved onto the belt sander with 80 grit and really got the shell down to its final outer dimension.
Step 3: Routing the Bearing Edge
To get the bearing edge that the drum head will rest on when tensioned, I used a 45 degree chamfer bit in my trim router and an edge guide to route out the edge on both sides. Then I just used the orbital sander to knock down any rough edges and round off the corner.
Step 4: Red Oak Lug Supports
To hold the lugs which are used the tension the snare head concentrically around the bearing edge with the rim, I cut down a beautiful piece of red oak from a pallet leg.
I ran them through the table saw and sander to get them all the same length, and then used a forstner bit to drill out a press fit hole for the stainless steel captive nut. Then I drilled the full length of the lug to allow clearance for the bolt hardware from each side.
Step 5: Attaching the Lugs
I used 5 minute epoxy to glue the stainless captive nut insert into each lug and then rounded out the back of each lug so that it would have a slight radius on it to fit to the outer diameter of the shell.
With this slight radius the glue can bond properly with the maximum surface area.
Lastly I made a jig to drill the holes around the shell all at the same height and attached the lug with screws from the inside.
Step 6: Making the Rims/Hoops
My first thought was to make wooden hoops for this shell, but when I cut the rim out from a few large 2x10's that I connected together, the hoops bowed.
Instead I tried to make some metal rims from an old flagpole tube. This sort of worked, but I still couldn't get them straight enough to sit well on the drum head and provide enough tension. I hammered out the old thin walled tube and then welded and riveted a few together to give me a circular rim.
This issue still hasn't been sorted out fully and is the reason why I haven't been able to play the drum yet. I hope to make laminated wooden hoops in the near future.
Step 7: Mounting Hardware
To attach the mounting hardware, I got some large washers and flattened one edge of them in the bench vice, making a 90 degree bend. This worked ok, but for the future I will make laminate wooden hoops with through bolts sunk into them instead.
Step 8: Making the Rasps
The snare rasps are a vital part to giving a snare drum its crisp snappy sound. To make them I took some old wire and wound it around a coat hanger rod. This worked really well, but after slicing through the rim to attach them I run into another issue with securing the rasps.
The red oak rasp clamps I made broke and I didn't have a good way yet to make the rasps not slip within them.
Not sure what I will do in the future, but i will possibly use wire or string to tie the rasps off at the proper tension.
Step 9: End Result
So yes, this is a failure of sorts, but not really!
I have made 90% of functioning stave snare drum completely from upcycled or reclaimed materials! And the end result is spectacular! I rubbed on some boiled linseed oil and it made the red oak pop! I love the way it contrasts with the rest of the wood on the snare.
There will be a part 2 for this video just stay tuned! Hopefully sometime this summer!
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