Monday, June 12, 2017

Make a drumstick for a frame drum

When I make a drumstick for a frame drum, I start with an unique piece of wood.   This stick is a piece of "beaver chew."  You can see the chipped end where the beaver cut the branch, and also the teeth marks where the beaver chewed off the bark.

Next I gather a section of old tee shirt, a pair of scissors and a hole punch.

I wind a length of tee shirt around the stick to make the padding.  Tee shirt fabric has a bias that helps each wrap curl in and lay flat against the edge of the next one.

A gusset of leather is glued over the fabric.  Make sure that the two openings on either side of the gusset are the same size.

The sleeves are made by tracing around the gusset with a pen pointing straight down along the sides, rather than tilting in.  This additional width on the sleeve makes it overlap slightly on the gusset.
Next, punch a series of holes along the sleeve.  Make the holes at the top slightly closer together.

 Reach through the holes of the first sleeve to mark the second sleeve.  This way they will match each other when you are lacing them together.

Cut a thin thong from a circle of leather.

 Keep going around and around  until you make two leather thongs each twice as long as the wrapped end of the stick.

Begin lacing the sleeves together by making an X between the two pieces at the round end.

Make the next set of X's on each side, and then fit the sleeve over the gusset so that the sleeves cover the visible fabric.

I like to alternate lacing one X inside and the next X on the outside of the sleeve.

Pull the lacing snug as you go, keeping the amount of visible gusset the same on each side.

Balance is important in shamanic drumming, in the work of inner transformation, and even in creation of a frame drum beater from a beaver chewed stick.