Bodhran Drum

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Project by Woodfix posted 04-25-2012 01:43 AM 2462 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From Friday to Monday of last weekend, I went to a course with Geoff Tonkin ( Geoff has a workshop on his property just outside Molong, New South Wales (Australia). Just working in his workshop is worth the trip (about 4 hours west of Sydney). He has restored and converted the old sheep shearing shed on the property into a very spacious and comfortable workshop.


Making a Bodhran was the course, pronounced ‘Bow Rawn’. A Bodhran is a traditional Irish drum that is played by striking the drum with a Tipper. During this course I made two drums, a 16” and a 18”. I also made a series of tippers in various styles. I did not make the orange brush like one in the photo above.

These drums are made by laminating timber inside a form with Cauls clamped to the inside to press the laminates together when gluing. The outside is Oak veneer, inside that is bendy ply and inside that is a 1ml ply. Once the glue dries, the gaps between the ends of the Oak on the outside and ply on the inside are filled. A slip of Purple Heart was used on the outside of both drums. Slips of ply on inside.

Then the tuning ring is installed.

The skins are goat bought from a drum skin supplier. To attach these they are soaked overnight in water. Then stretched and stapled around the outside edge. The row of staples was covered in a strip of vinyl that is tacked in place.

A cross bar is installed inside. Apparently there are different ways of doing this including not having one at all.

Lastly, the inside of the leather is sanded to give it a smooth finish because the left hand is pressed against it during playing. The leather is also treated with a suitable leather conditioner, in this case Dubbin.

All I need to do now is learn how to play it.

-- I would rather have the most memories, than the most money.

4 comments so far

View Brit's profile


8233 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 04-25-2012 06:56 AM

Nice Bodhrans. I used to play when I was younger. My main instrument was the giutar, but I also had a home recording studio and when I learnt to play Irish Jigs and Reels on the guitar, I bought a Bodhran to accompany my guitar playing on my recordings. Great instrument. If you still have the means to play a VHS video, I’d gladly send you the instructional video that I learnt from. PM me if you’re interested.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25737 posts in 4079 days

#2 posted 04-25-2012 12:27 PM

Neat insturments!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Falconwood's profile


33 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 04-26-2012 07:14 AM

Nice one !! Good looking Bodhran you made there !!
They’re similar in design to the Bodhrans made by my friend Brendan White, an Irishman who like myself (a Scotsman) lives here in The Netherlands.
I make Bodhran tippers out of some really nice hardwoods.
Great to see other people throughout the world keeping this wonderful instrument alive.

-- If you can't be good at it !!!!!

View Brit's profile


8233 posts in 3816 days

#4 posted 06-12-2012 10:30 AM

Here is the information on the Bodhran video.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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