Hawaiian Pahu Drum

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Project by StevenRsawdust posted 01-18-2011 06:22 PM 5186 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Hawaiian Pahu drum was hand carved from the first part of a Palm tree
just above the ground. I turned it upside down to get that nice taper for
the Drum. The log was entrusted to me by Kumu (teacher) Hula Kai Brandon.
Cow hide was used for the top and lashed in a traditional method passed down
to me my wife’s Kumu Kai Brandon. My wife is really into Hula and uses this

-- Stwoodshop, Fleming Island Florida

14 comments so far

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3353 days

#1 posted 01-18-2011 06:37 PM

Very Nice. Did you stain it as well? If so, what did you use?

-- Matt -

View StevenRsawdust's profile


17 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 01-18-2011 06:38 PM

Yes, I did stain it. I cant remember the color. It was a standard MinWax color.

-- Stwoodshop, Fleming Island Florida

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3504 days

#3 posted 01-18-2011 06:39 PM

I think this is the first time I have ever seen any sort of palm tree used for a woodworking project… Very nice results.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 3184 days

#4 posted 01-18-2011 09:49 PM

Supa cool man. Great job

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View B13's profile


463 posts in 2965 days

#5 posted 01-18-2011 10:16 PM

That Is cool! what’s It like to work with palm?

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4210 days

#6 posted 01-18-2011 11:39 PM

I heard someone say that Palm is a bunch of needles held together by mush. Looks like you got a great piece of palm for the project. I’m inspired to finish my drum project now!

Did you cut the innards out with a chainsaw first before handtools?

-- Steven

View StevenRsawdust's profile


17 posts in 2961 days

#7 posted 01-19-2011 12:01 AM

There are several diffenrt Palms that work well to make Drums. I think this was a Macintosh Palm. The Kumu that gave this to me knows what would make a good drum. I used a hand saw to level it and chisels for the rest. To show honor to the craft of drum making I used hand tools. No chainsaws. The drum is hollowed from the top and bottom, leaving about 4” in the middle. I roughed the openings and let it set for about 60 days or so. I then carved the design and once that was done I finished hollowing the top and bottom to thin the side walls.

-- Stwoodshop, Fleming Island Florida

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3342 days

#8 posted 01-19-2011 12:54 AM

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 01-19-2011 01:47 AM

What’s a kane doing in Florida? Your surf board get on a big wave? (grin)

Beautiful drum, and I appreciate your holding true to the traditions by using hand tools only.

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

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4210 days

#10 posted 01-19-2011 03:41 AM

Great to honor tradition. There is a youtube video of these guys in the jungle somewhere making drums on a lathe. The log is mounted on the lathe, and they finish a whole djembe in about 5 minutes. If I remember correctly, the lathe is a set of pillow blocks and a VW engine/transmission. The cutter that hollows the drum is a giant spoon bit.

As for me, I would have probably skipped ahead a few hours with my Stihl :-)

-- Steven

View swirt's profile


3677 posts in 3244 days

#11 posted 01-19-2011 05:20 AM

Great looking drum. Nice use of hand tools.

-- Galootish log blog,

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2896 days

#12 posted 07-01-2011 11:44 PM

I love your drum. Very nice work. I am especially impressed with your workshop, particularly your work bench and stool (the leather one). Thanks for the share.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View kanaek's profile


1 post in 1869 days

#13 posted 01-10-2014 11:31 PM

aloha from Hawaii! a Hawaiian pahu maker, impressed with your skills from afar. Wanted to pass on my comments. Let’s be in touch!

-- pahumakerKanae

View StevenRsawdust's profile


17 posts in 2961 days

#14 posted 01-11-2014 01:26 AM

Good to hear from you. My wife loves all things hawaiian. She have been working to become KUMU HULA and I support her all I can. I make then once and a while. I have been taught using hand tools and with respect to my teachers I love making them that way. Hard to find good palms in florida.

-- Stwoodshop, Fleming Island Florida

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