Going tribal: My slit drum

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Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 09-18-2010 12:08 AM 14434 reads 5 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Homemade musical instruments really intrigue me. Here’s my version of the slit drum. It actually produces really nice tones that my toy camera can’t adequately reproduce. Make something like this in a coupla hours.

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

26 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3739 days

#1 posted 09-18-2010 12:13 AM

You are having too much fun…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3758 days

#2 posted 09-18-2010 12:22 AM

Cool drum, dude. Nice work, Wyatt – I like the Dollar Store antics!

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View WoodsmanWoodworker's profile


146 posts in 3207 days

#3 posted 09-18-2010 01:18 AM

Very sweet. You come up with the coolest things. Do have to say it, beciuase it’s basically a given, but great work.

-- We must protect the forests for those who can't speak, for the trees and animals. ~THE WOODSMAN~

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3580 days

#4 posted 09-18-2010 01:43 AM

Another very enjoyable and funny video of yours. Your son did a great job and I see he has your sense of humor too.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3273 days

#5 posted 09-18-2010 01:59 AM

Hi Steve.

That wood mag that had “free pattern thirsdays” this summer had one of these.

From what I’ve seen of them, the slats all seemed narrower than yours, about an 8 to 1 ratio of width to length.

If you ever want to make one that is “tuned”, simply make one with a single slat close to the full width of your box. Tap it to see if it is close to what you want. Trimming the end a little will result in a slightly higher pitch. Keep trimming and tapping, noting the lengths that give you your desired notes, then draw a plab using those lengths and the number of slats for the desired number of notes.

A couple of round sound holes will give a louder, clearer sound.

I’ve seen African natives playing these made of ebony/African blackwood. One of the old naturakist TV shows used to use one to play their theme.

Dislexic garage woodworkers, UNTIE!

If we have band clamps, why are there no orchestra clamps?

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 3460 days

#6 posted 09-18-2010 02:04 AM

Thanks Eric, this was a case of me realizing that this video was going nowhere (I mean really…I’m making a box!) and needed something to give it at least a hint of fun. So I sent Wyatt and his mom to the store and told him to shoot anything…and I mean anything…to liven this up. When he got back, I thought the bits he shot were hysterical.

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 3460 days

#7 posted 09-18-2010 02:13 AM

@Big Tiny: Thanks for your insight. Maybe I’ll bore a couple of holes in the box. It really does have a pretty good sound to it…I was totally surprised by that. Also, to add to what you said, I think the bars on the top should be thicker. Probably 3/4 inch lumber would work better.

The history behind slit drums is actually very interesting. The tones are all determined by the type of wood. Crazy.

Orchestra clamps? Yeah man…I’m thinking swing clamps!

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3395 days

#8 posted 09-18-2010 02:30 AM

Well Steve, you have just solved the what to make my oldest son for Christmas conunDRUM. Thanks !!!!!

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View souichiro's profile


369 posts in 3730 days

#9 posted 09-18-2010 02:35 AM

Great video Steve, but I got sidetracked onto your man vs wood one and about lost it. Although I’m not completely prepared, I now know that I must venture into the wild…..I need a 2×6.

And avoid eggs.

You crack me up. :)

-- Dale, Oregon

View clieb91's profile


3620 posts in 4320 days

#10 posted 09-18-2010 02:46 AM

Steve, another excellant video. Great dollar store antics Wyatt, I have often wondered about the shredded paper in a bag.

May have to add one of these to my daughters growing collection of music making things.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Dan M's profile

Dan M

121 posts in 4329 days

#11 posted 09-18-2010 03:05 AM

Very cool.. something I hadn’t considering making before but have added to the list now!

Oh.. and it is great to see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree—we could be looking at the next Kirk / Michael Douglas here folks!

-- Dan M, SW Suburbs, Chicago IL

View Handi75's profile


377 posts in 3859 days

#12 posted 09-18-2010 03:17 AM


Them Wholes drilled in there, they are like Relief holes. They keep the wood or tongs whatever you want to call them from Splitting all the way to the end.

This will help to keep the tongs or slits from splitting and breaking off.


-- Jimmy "Handi" Warner,,, Twitter: @Handisworkshop, @HandisCreations

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 3460 days

#13 posted 09-18-2010 03:26 AM

@Dan M: Oh thank god…for a second there I thought you were going with Kirk/Spock. Nevertheless, I want to be the evil Spock with the beard.

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View cwdance1's profile


1159 posts in 3644 days

#14 posted 09-18-2010 03:31 AM

Great job, and for all your hard work we will take up a collection for more Therapy.

View Skylark53's profile


2698 posts in 3445 days

#15 posted 09-18-2010 03:51 AM

Good project, very good instructions via the video, but Wyatt very nearly stole your thunder. LOL. Thanks Steve for sharing so generously.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

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