I had been having trouble deciding what to make with a chunk of big leaf maple burl a neighbor had given me. It was approximately 10" x 5" x 2.25", with a live edge at one end. Something had been cut out of it, leaving me with an odd shape to deal with.
Enter the Christmas season. My son is a drummer and I had also been having trouble deciding what to make him for Christmas, when I was told about a company that was producing these drumstick holders--at a very high cost to consumer (expensive)--and it got me to thinking.
Note: I didn't originally plan on submitting this project... heck, due to the problems I expected (and experienced), I wasn't even certain it was going to work! So, I apologize up front for the lack of photos. Because of the clamping difficulties of working with a live edge, this could be made with much greater ease using a glued-up block of wood. It all depends on what tools you have to work with and how much you're willing to cuss to make it happen! Also, this version holds three pairs of sticks, but it could easily be made to hold six pairs, or just one. (Oh, and everyone say Hi to Sophie!)
Step 1: Find Your Chunk
First, I took this gorgeous chunk o' hardwood to the band saw and removed the sharp angle, which I used to make live-edge earrings (that's an Instructable for another time).
At the spindle sander, I rounded the corners at each end of where the offending hole had been previously cut.
I then removed 2" worth of stock from the end opposite the live edge. This gave me the approximate size I wanted (8"), and left me a nice chunk to use in a later, as yet undetermined, project.
Step 2: Rounding and Shaping
I had some 4/4 bubinga lying around just waiting to be used and thought it would add some nice contrast. So, I cut a piece slightly oversized and glued it to the "top" of the burl. After the glue set, I used a pattern-cutting bit in my trim router to trim the bubinga to size, to match the rest of the piece.
Next, I used a 1/4" round-over bit to round all of the edges.
Step 3: Drilling the Holes
The hardest part of the project was drilling the holes...mostly because of trying to figure out the best way to do it and the best bits to use. I'll spare you all the gory details and issues I had in this step. Instead, I'll just tell how I'll be doing the next one.
I had the advantage of a horizontal boring machine (a.k.a., Shopsmith), which is nothing more than a drill press lying on its back. Since every piece of wood will be different in shape and size, it'll be best if you work up some kind of jig with which to clamp your work for drilling. I used many clamps.
(This photo shows the results of the goriness--which came from using the wrong kind of bit. Needless to say, that was the FIRST piece of bubinga I used for this project...fortunately, there were only two.)
After laying out your hole locations, start the drilling process with a 3/4" Forstner bit and drill approximately 1" deep (more if you can). Extract the bit and without moving the wood left, right, front, or back, install a 12" long, 3/4" auger bit. Reinsert this bit into the previously-drilled hole and continue drilling to the desired depth. I staggered mine (4.5", 5.5", and 6.5"). Reset and drill the next one. (The auger bit MIGHT work by itself... I didn't have the option of finding out.)
After drilling the holes for the sticks, I drilled a single hole (mine was 27/64"), centered over the area of my previous "mistake" to accommodate a drum key.
Step 4: Hardware and Finish
Finally, I drilled a hole to accommodate the hardware. The clamp I'm using is a Pearl PPS-37 Tilting Cowbell Holder. This will allow for almost any setup my son wants to use. The proper diameter hole for this specific clamp set was 25/64". I tested 3/8", which was too small; and 13/32", which was too big...but 25/64" was juuuust right! I considered permanently mounting the hardware in this hole with epoxy, but I don't think it will be necessary; and this way, it gives him more mounting location options.
Once I had finished all those steps, I used a 1/8" round-over bit in my trim router to round over the inside edges of the stick holes. For the drum key hole, I used a countersink.
Sand it all with 120, 220, and 320 grits.
I used MixWax Spray Satin Polyethylene Finish... several light coats, let it dry overnight, more light sanding with 320 grit, and another light coat.
I hope all of this has made sense. It was difficult, but I'd gladly do it again, and using what I've learned will make it much easier next time. I know he's going to love it!
If you make one of these, please post a photo of it in the comments...I'd love to see it!! Cheers!