Slit Drums

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Project by Deaser posted 04-02-2012 04:10 PM 3328 views 11 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last Fall, I was approached about a woodworking project for the kids at my church for their bi-weekly Kids Club program. We built birdhouses a couple years ago, but this time I wanted something a little more interactive. The idea of a musical instrument fit the bill and then I stumbled across Steve’s video on making a slit drum over on Woodworking for Mere Mortals. My first step in this project was to create a 3D model using Pro/Engineer. I tweaked the design a bit from Steve’s and am pretty pleased with how they turned out.

In total, I built 30 of these drums. I used 3/4” cabinet grade ply for the sides, 1/4” ply for the bottom, and 3/4” Beech for the top. The Beech was donated by my local hardwood supplier. I built a couple of prototypes, and used Red Oak for the top on one of them, but it didn’t sound nearly as good as the Beech. I finished the Beech with a coat of Danish Oil to add a bit of protection.

I assembled the sides and bottoms using Titebond II and brad nails. I had some friends help prime the them, and then turned the kids loose on the painting. They did a great job and they turned out very colorful! Then I assembled the tops using glue and brads and moved on to building the mallets. Are they perfect pitch? No, but they sound pretty good to me!

The kids are learning a song on them and will be performing during the worship service at the end of this month. This build kept me occupied for much of the Winter, and it’s been very rewarding watching the kids have fun playing them!

-- Steve, Pennsylvania

5 comments so far

View w8n4simplertimes's profile


37 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 04-02-2012 04:22 PM

That’s a great project and a great way to involve the kids.

Can you share a pattern for cutting the slits on top for the best sound?
Very nice Work !!

View Deaser's profile


54 posts in 2805 days

#2 posted 04-02-2012 04:29 PM

Thanks! Here is the sketch I used as a guideline.

-- Steve, Pennsylvania

#3 posted 04-02-2012 05:30 PM

This is very interesting project,Steve!!! Thanks for sharing.


View w8n4simplertimes's profile


37 posts in 3778 days

#4 posted 04-02-2012 06:55 PM

Thanks !!

View lizardhead's profile


653 posts in 3229 days

#5 posted 04-03-2012 12:59 AM

I’m sure the kids are having a blast with these

-- Good, Better, Best--Never let it rest---Always make your Good be Better & your Better Best

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