Step 1: Obtain Materials
You then need a spring. The type of spring is crucial to obtaining the proper sound. I recommend this one from McMaster-Carr:
9665K54. The spring specs are 0.187" OD, 0.020 wire diameter, 20" length and type 302 stainless. Cheaper springs may work, but have not been tried in this diameter.
|You will need a vice, needle nose pliers, and a 15 foot tape measure. Lastly, you will need a pen with a decent point.|
Step 2: Preparation and Assembly
Carefully peel the Quaker label from the oatmeal container. This should be fairly easy. All of the containers I've encountered feature the label wrapped around the cylinder with a single, vertical strip of glue holding the label around the form. Therefore, all of the label should easily remove except maybe a little more effort using careful peeling around the area of the glue strip.
This next procedure is optional. This is the time to paint (or polyurethane coat) the oatmeal container if you wish. I recommend brush painting because none of the bottom part of the container should be painted, either inside or out (painting the bottom might negatively affect resonance). It's ok to paint the rest of the cylinder, however. Allow to dry before proceeding further.
Using the pen tip, carefully poke a small hole in the center of the bottom of the oatmeal container. Carefully insert one end of the now cut spring (approx. 16.5" length) and begin to wind carefully as the spring takes hold onto the oatmeal container bottom. If you have difficulty, temporarily lift the end of the spring using a toothpick or similar until you are able to thread it into the hold and start winding. Although initial experiments involved using needle nose pliers to permanently bend one end of the spring to allow better threading into the container bottom, I no longer recommend this. The spring should be kept in as original shape as possible, other than the stretching modification. Turn clockwise until 3-4 turns of the spring are present on the bottom's other side.
Optional: I didn't do this with mine, but if this unit is going to see heavy use you might want to glue the spring to the cardboard bottom. Use some drops of superglue and let dry.
Step 3: Ready for Use!
Enjoy your thunder drum!
Step 4: Final Notes
Step 5: One Other Option....
No stretching of this spring is necessary. However, be prepared to experiment further in order to get the sound just right plus I highly recommend gluing this spring in place once the tonal qualities are determined properly.