Log/Tounge Drum

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Project by sapwood posted 01-19-2022 08:20 PM 553 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made this tongue drum for my Grandson. Referenced this link:
for design idea. Used Bloodwood and Purpleheart for top. Baltic birch plywood for sides and bottom.
Created holders for the drum mallets one one end by drilling holes and glueing a piece of 3/8 copper tubing which I flared on the end.
Mallets themselves where 1/4” dowel rod and 1” rubber balls.
2 coats of vinyl sealer under 6 coats of Behlen Stringed instrument laquer (still awaiting rub out in a few weeks). Graphics on bottom where burnt into the wood with heat gun after creating vinyl stencils with a Cricut design printer and application of ammonium chloride solution. 1st time I tried this technique and its pretty cool how it works.
I “tuned” the 10 tongues to an ‘F pentonic” scale by removing small areas of wood from the bottom of each tongue (tip raises pitch, base lowers pitch) and checked with a musical frequency app on my phone “Spectroid”. This was the most time consuming part and I think if I were to make another, I would do more research as to length, thickness, and density of wood for each tongue to achieve the desired note, but overall pleased with the sound and resulting project.
This should drive my daughter nuts once the grandson gets old enough to beat on this thing non stop! It does sound a heck of a lot better than one of those cheap metal xylophone noise makers my kids had when they were young.

2 comments so far

View swirt's profile


7660 posts in 4425 days

#1 posted 01-20-2022 01:26 AM

Looks cool. I’m not familiar with the method you used for graphic transfer, but it looks like it worked great.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Mike's profile


88 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 01-29-2022 08:28 PM

Very nice, I have made several of these and have also had a hard time “tuning” them. One of the main problems I ran into was I tuned the top before gluing up all the pieces so I’d have access to the bottom of the tounges, after tuning I did final glue up and finish and that affected the pitch. Even untuned these things are a blast, especially when given as a gift to kids and they go home.

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