Slit Drum made from Recycled Wood

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 05-08-2014 05:47 PM 2820 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Slit Drum made from Recycled Wood
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[Legebla ankaĆ­ en Esperanto]

This slit drum was made as a sort of experiment. I made it from wood that I found along the road as discarded dresser drawers. Not having a planer, it’s nice to find wood that is 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch and I don’t think it’s pine.

I didn’t want to simply use butt joints or a miter joint, so I used my router table to put a rabbet at the end of each piece and I joined them at 90 degrees. I’m not sure what to call that, a rabbet corner joint? The joints are not perfect, but close enough. The whole thing is held together with glue. It’s finished with 3 coats of polyurethane and 4 stick on feet.

The drum measures about 5 1/2×11 inches and is about 3 inches high. I let the wood determine the dimensions, thus the experimental aspect. It’s actually a little small for a slit drum, but it works. I showed it to my wife who teaches music and she said it was better than her store bought one! This also explains why these musical builds don’t sit around the house. They get sent off to my wife’s school where they actually get used and enjoyed.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

6 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile (online now)


3052 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 05-08-2014 07:13 PM

Nice build Dave, and it has a good home, doesn’t get any better than that. Really convenient that the drawer material was dimensioned to your needs, real pain taking three quarter boards down to half inch. I dislike wasting all the wood, and that’s the pain, seeing all the excess wood fly out of a planer as scrap shavings. What a waste.
Did you make drum sticks?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1982 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 10:51 PM


I used to make mallets, but they don’t hold up so well under constant use. See my Bongo Cajon build.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View CFrye's profile


11081 posts in 2720 days

#3 posted 05-09-2014 12:43 AM

Nicely crafted, Dave! One of the things that keeps me from building more is the thought that the project will just gather dust. Glad it is being used and appreciated! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 05-09-2014 03:39 AM

Great drum, they sound so nice also

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BigMig's profile


506 posts in 3494 days

#5 posted 05-09-2014 02:27 PM

Did you begin with any plans for how to cut the drumming-surface (top) of your box?

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1982 posts in 3069 days

#6 posted 05-09-2014 03:47 PM

BigMig, No, I pretty much did it on the fly. I cut a slot on each edge, then one in the middle. To make the tongues, I drew a line dividing the tongues in half and drew freehand a line that A) would not split the tongue exactly in half (= same tone on each) and B) made each toungue a unique length. I either got lucky, or it’s not as important as one thinks. The slit drums with many tongues do need a lot of thought or many of the tones will be the same.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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