Ashiko Drum

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Project by Druid posted 12-09-2014 06:41 PM 2552 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a somewhat “older” project that I simply have not taken the time to post. So, finally, here is my Ashiko drum that I made in 2002. It was created during a weekend-long drum workshop, with lots of fun and drumming thrown in.
The drum shell was built up from tapered slats which were edge glued, rolled into shape using tape, and then “clamped” by means of metal rings being snugged down towards the larger end while the shell was positioned upside down. The rings were used later as part of the drum head, and as the lower roping ring. Nice that no fancy clamping system was required.
Once the glue had dried, the outside was hand shaped (plane and sanding) to get a smooth, round, final shape. The second photo shows the interior where you can see the flat surfaces of the slats. Photo 3 shows my signature and date of 2002, and this was written BEFORE glue-up so that it could be done more easily.
The actual head is rawhide, and the rope is a low-stretch type so that the tension will not gradually change. If you make one of these, remember to round over the top rim where the rawhide contacts the wood. The drum has a rich deep tone that I really love.
Altogether a fun project, and the drum is still in top condition.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

11 comments so far

View lew's profile


13442 posts in 5036 days

#1 posted 12-09-2014 07:00 PM

Really Neat, John!

My first banjo had a “leather” head. The new plastic ones down have the same mellow tone.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4137 days

#2 posted 12-09-2014 07:23 PM

Nice John
sounds like it would be a fun course.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4875 days

#3 posted 12-09-2014 07:31 PM

Very kewl, I dig home made instruments, one of my favorite type of woodworking

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4615 days

#4 posted 12-09-2014 10:38 PM

Very nicely done project John. I am of course curious about how you got interested in such an item. I like the ring clamp idea, very logical and effective I imagine, much like the steel bands driven onto wooden barrels from each tapered end.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View leafherder's profile


1986 posts in 3233 days

#5 posted 12-09-2014 11:22 PM

Impressive! I understand that making any type of musical instrument requires skill and patience. May it bring you many more years of joy in the playing.

-- Leafherder

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3354 days

#6 posted 12-09-2014 11:26 PM

This is so cool John! How about a video of you drumming? :)

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 4076 days

#7 posted 12-10-2014 01:40 AM

Thanks everyone for the kind comments.

Mike - I became interested when I heard about a local workshop that taught how to build a Native North American Frame Drum, following the traditional methods, teachings, and ceremonies. That was quite an interesting learning experience. Then when the Ashiko workshop came up, there was no way I was going to miss it. Made some good friends, and found out that drumming circles are a lot of fun. RE the rings - Since there are 3 welded rings used for this style of drum, it really does make sense to use them as clamps (as you mentioned, quite similar to barrel hoops) but they do not end up being fastened to the wood with hardware.

Anna - Good try but perhaps not.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4200 days

#8 posted 12-10-2014 09:56 PM

I love it as well. It is really cool! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 4076 days

#9 posted 12-10-2014 10:42 PM

Thanks Sheila. I’ve been thinking of making 1 or 2 more . . . hmmm . . . perhaps a bit of scrollwork could be included?

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Lucsdogs's profile


32 posts in 2764 days

#10 posted 12-13-2014 09:45 PM

Hi John, that’s really nice. you know why not really go wild and add some relief to it as well. That nice one you did before you moved out west would look really cool. Or not. It looks great as it

-- Bernie, Oshawa, Ontario

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 4076 days

#11 posted 12-14-2014 05:53 AM

Hi Bernie, good to hear from you, and an interesting suggestion. Thanks.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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