Tongue or Slit Drum

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Project by MasterSergeant posted 03-29-2014 02:10 PM 2389 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks to Steve Ramsey of “Woodworking for Mere Mortals” for the inspiration to build this. A couple of firsts for me; one my first tongue drum, two turning a drumstick and three my first attempt at dovetail joinery. All three I consider a success ;-D!!
Turning the sphere, for the drumstick, on the lathe was a challenge but I did get really-really close. I think I need to turn another one, drums need two drumsticks my grandson informed me
The tongue drum itself was more challenging than I first thought. My first attempt at the slits was a complete diester! I used a beautiful 3/8” piece of walnut for my first attempt. I quickly learned to glue temporary bridges between the slits to minimize vibrations which will snap off the tongues! After a couple glueing tongues back on real disaster stuck, the walnut piece vibrated off the bench and onto the floor shattering beyond repair. The slit top is now made of maple and after correcting first attempt errors I was successful.
Dovetail joints went well. I used my new Porter Cable dovetail jig and after a few adjustments I cut very nice tails and pins. One note; if your board you are dovetailing is the least bit warped the joints will mirror the warpage. I have one pin/tail with a gap just for that reason.

The tongue drum was never intended to be a true musical instrument and it is a far cry from being that but it is a terrific noise maker and the Grandchildren will love it :-)

Here is a link to my practice playing of the drum. After the video I did perform a little tuning and applied 4 coats of rub on Polyurethane finish.

as always thanks for looking!!!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

7 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4702 days

#1 posted 03-29-2014 03:26 PM

View jroot's profile


295 posts in 2348 days

#2 posted 03-29-2014 11:10 PM

Interesting. I have one of these. Neat to play tunes with.

-- jroot

View doubleDD's profile


10442 posts in 3168 days

#3 posted 03-29-2014 11:16 PM

I had to look it up. Wasn’t sure what they were. Coo idea. Sounds like a lot of fun.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3929 days

#4 posted 03-30-2014 12:04 AM

This is a cool build.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4129 days

#5 posted 03-30-2014 09:38 PM

Wonderful instrument

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4158 days

#6 posted 03-30-2014 10:09 PM

Very Nice Indeed!

Couldn’t Play it right now though. Tongues To Sore. ;-}

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View crowie's profile


4675 posts in 3076 days

#7 posted 06-14-2014 10:31 AM

The grandchildren will love it but the mum & dad mightn’t, though I’m sure they’ll appreciate the craftsmanship and love in its making….well done sir..

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

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