Mali Weave Atabaque




About: I love instruments. I want to make my living making them. I am working towards that goal tweaking and revamping my drums. I have to inform you though, i wont be posting more instrument building methods, it h...

Percussion is my thing, especially Drums. I made this Atabaque, experimenting with a few different methods in its construction, and it turns out to be the stand out, with the best sound and volume, ease of tuning and even a shorter creation time with no complications. The extra rope from the tightening process (diamond pulling) can even be chained crochet style to create a shoulder and waist strap for playing off a stand.
I am quite proud. I haven't used it in a show yet like the large atabaque I made, but it is coming up soon.
These photos are In construction order.



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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I am curious... I have tried this method before and had one heck of a time getting the angles right. I nailed the taper perfectly but the angle on the inside gave me a hard time. Would you mind elaborating on the calculations required for the angle/taper?

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    its quite simple my friend, 180 degrees / the number of staves = bevel angle



    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I will be starting on mine this fall...
    Get's hot in VA and frankly, I don't like standing over a spinning table saw with sweat pooling in my eyes and making me not be able to see... XP

    I like that you used direct ring on wood instead of the tension wedges I have seen on other drums. While they do protect the shell, they allow for the bottom ring to slip requiring more frequent tightening (a not-fun task indeed!)

    I will be hopefully putting together stave based drum instructables for an aishiko, a pair of bongos, possibly a conga, and maybe a djun djun...
    the djun will be one heck of a challenge with two heads to tune... can't wait

    Nylon cord (core and sheath), i used some Titebond 1 AFTER steaming this time. actually made quite a large difference (didn't have to worry about melting glue, and this glue dries quicker and harder helping to avoid absorption of sound, plus no extra waiting between initial gluing and bending. i could just go straight for it as the rings, when hammered down enough, naturally help the drum keep round on its beveled angles. to glue, i had to wait a few days for the wood to dry in place, bump up the rings a bit, fill the spaces with glue, then hammer the rings back down to re-close the drum) the wood is still maple, absolute pleasure to work.

    and i really do love that Mali weave, but a word of warning (im becoming quite long winded), if you tackle a djembe style tuning system like this, use a low-no stretch rope, so that when you tension it up (pulling diamonds in the weave), you can de-tune it as well by pulling that diamond out. i Made the mistake of using non pre-stretched poly rope before, and i couldn't de-tune evenly.

    im going to make a lathe ((nothing fancy, its gonna probably be human powered, and look like junk, but dang it its gonna work) for my drums, so i can get better finishing quality, and ima post an instructable for that when ever i finish.

    Thanks for the tips with the rope, I may try it one day.
    My word, that will be some lathe. Are you thinking one big enough to put drums like your big atabaque on? How are you thinking of mounting the drums to be turned? Will you use it just to sand or with cutting tools as well? Have you checked out the FE scrap lathe here

    That lathe wont be as impressive as you may think, quite primitive if you ask me. I intended it to be able to fit 32" drums up to 15" wide (only needs to be half that deep), but i don't see why i cant make it longer,,, we'll see. and i intend to use cutting tools as well (thank you basic physics). i would like to make it with an electric motor at sometime, but i may have to live with little brother power at the moment. im going to have iron bars bent to the profiles of the standard drum sizes and shapes i plan on making to rest my tools on, it should work the same way as peters lathe here

    there is even a clue to mounting the drum in the picture. it was great speaking with this guy, he gave me a few pointers