Introduction: Bass Drum Cradle
If you play with an 18" bass drum, you know that the beater mallet impacts the drum head near the edge of the drum, instead of (arguably) a slightly off-center sweet spot. The solution to this problem is to purchase or to build a "cradle" to lift the drum up about four inches. After reviewing the commercially available products, which adjust to allow use of any size drum, I decided that I would build a bass drum cradle for my specific drum.
Step 1: Design
I sketched out my bass drum cradle design, front-view, on a half sheet of printer paper. I then made a full size pattern on poster sheet by first tracing around my bass drum with a blue magic marker and then using a printer to enlarge my original drawing to fit that circle. I cut the pattern out with scissors and made minor adjustments to it using the test and fit method. I also used the "walk away and come back later with fresh eyes" technique a few dozen times.
A cradle front
B cradle back
C trestle front
D trestle back
E1 trestle interior front left
E2 trestle interior front right
E3 trestle interior back left
E4 trestle interior back right
F bottom left
G bottom right
Z pedal attachment
Y pedal attachment
H interior upright (need two)
Hc interior upright companion (need two)
J center upright
Jc center upright companion (need two)
K interior center lift
Step 2: Pattern
I traced around the pattern onto 5/8" plywood and used a jigsaw to cut out two pretty much identical "cradle" pieces (a "cradle front" and a "cradle back") and sanded them. I realized that my pattern wasn't perfectly symmetrical when flipped, so I had to keep each piece oriented correctly while building. I marked them inconspicuously on the bottom so I could keep track.
I cut one long "bottom" piece and temporarily clamped everything together for a test fit of the 18" bass drum.
Step 3: Pedal Attachment Point
Next I brought my drum pedal over to the workbench and designed the "pedal attachment" piece. The attachment piece will be replaceable, in case it gets chewed up by the harsh clamp of the drum pedal, or if I happen to switch brands someday, and need to modify the design. It's two pieces of plywood glued together. (pedal attachment part Z and pedal attachment part Y)
Step 4: All the CUTTING and Stuff
I now needed to cut a section out of the "bottom" (so end up with a "right bottom" and a "left bottom") and also had to slot the bottom edge of the "cradle-back" to let in the "pedal attachment".
I cut two H "interior uprights" and two shorter companions.
I cut one J "center upright" and two shorter companions.
and glued them together. please see photos - very important to see photos - words just pile up and confuse us. By us I mean me. Maybe you, too.
I cut one K "interior center lift". (this is the piece I cut out of the "bottom" earlier.)
Next I cut a C "front trestle" and a D "back trestle"
and then a E1 "front left interior trestle" and a E2 "front right interior trestle"
and then a E3 "back left interior trestle" and a E4 "back right interior trestle"
I decided to cut the G "right bottom" and F "left bottom" to let down each "interior trestle" and I trimmed the exposed front edge of the right and left bottoms to get about a quarter inch setback.
Step 5: Stain and Poly
I sanded everything down again and stained the parts individually with various colors of stains prior to glue up.
I put two light coats of polyurethane over the stained portions of the parts. Sanded lightly with 180 between coats. Then sanded with 220 and another coat of poly. Shiny.
Step 6: Glue Up
Next I glued E "back left interior trestle" and E "back right interior trestle" to the inside of the B "back cradle".
Then I glued E "front left interior trestle" and E "front right interior trestle" to the inside of the A "front cradle".
I glued J+K assembly to B "back". The pedal attachment was inserted temporarily in place to make this easier.
I next glued F&G "bottoms" to B "back cradle", then glued the H "interior uprights" to B "back cradle".
This is almost getting ridiculous. Blah blah. Let's just say I glued the thing together. Oh, and I used about ten 1 5/8" screws for overkill, along with careful clamping. If you are serious aboot building one, and have questions, just ask.
The pedal attachment is fastened with four screws from the bottom, so it can be replaced easily enough if required.
Lastly I glued some felt on right where the drum rides, to protect the finish of the drum.
Here's a tip about gluing over stain and poly - you can't, so don't. Ya gotta scrape the poly off and sand with 36 grit and get some wood fibers exposed, then you can glue it. It won't stick well unless you do. See photos.
Another thing I do is only glue one joint at a time. One a day. It really is the best way, if you have the time. It's easier than smearing glue on several joints and then fighting to keep everything lined up while you torque down on the clamps.
I think this turned out pretty kewl. I've never seen one like it.
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