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Thread: Drum Sticks on Lathe

  1. #1

    Drum Sticks on Lathe

    Has anyone here made drum sticks? Is turning drums sticks an entry level project on a lathe? Or is it a bit more difficult generally? Anyone have any cool sticks they've turned that they're willing to show off?

  2. #2
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    I've made Koa chop sticks and hair pins .... never tried drum sticks.

    I can't imagine them being to difficult.

    Tim

  3. #3
    Cant imagine it would be too hard. Just make sure you are using a Hard Straight grain wood. Maybe Hickory or something like that, if it can handle an Ax it can handle a drum.

  4. #4
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    Hi Barry, I would think an entry level turner could do those. Its just a long spindle which is usualy the first thing people learn to turn. As Chris said Hickory would be the best bet, but I have also heard of Osage Orange being used, have fun with it.

    I used to play, and even teach drums when I was younger...it paid for all of my diving & surfing equipment when I was a kid, now I would just scare the cats out of the immediate area!!
    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  5. #5
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    Bamboo flooring scraps are apparently good for sticks too. I made a pair for a friend's kid. He loves them. Anything long and skinny (like drumsticks, hairsticks, etc.) gets a bit whippy. A steady-rest would have helped. Or at least a string rest.
    Ridiculum Ergo Sum

  6. #6
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    My son wanted to make some for wood tech at school,so we gave it a try.
    What we found out is you can make a drum stick....but you can't make a second one exactly the same and they will sound different.
    He made several sets from hickery and hard maple but did need a steady rest because of wobble and sniping.
    He finished them by wetting them till the grain stood up then heated with a torch and burnished with an antler for a hard surface.Then used shellack while on the lathe.
    We decided that using a steady and a duplicator attachment would still produce a flawed stick.
    But if you're looking for an experience,go ahead and have fun.
    Half way between the north pole and the equator!
    Half way between Steve Schlumpf and John Keeton!

  7. #7
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    Interestingly enough, I was listening to NPR about 2 weeks ago (listen to nothing but NPR most of Saturday while in shop...otherwise, new country or old rock!) and an interview was held with Vic Firth, an accomplished percussionist who makes his own sticks and talked a little about what drove him to do it. He also makes peppermills I think he said. Not a long audio track, about 6 mins. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org...dtime=00:51:33
    Laugh at least once daily, even if at yourself!

  8. #8
    Awesome, thanks for the info everyone! I'll give it a shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Rinehart View Post
    Interestingly enough, I was listening to NPR about 2 weeks ago (listen to nothing but NPR most of Saturday while in shop...otherwise, new country or old rock!) and an interview was held with Vic Firth, an accomplished percussionist who makes his own sticks and talked a little about what drove him to do it. He also makes peppermills I think he said. Not a long audio track, about 6 mins. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org...dtime=00:51:33
    I actually just got one of Vic Firth's peppermills a couple weeks ago. It was Vic Firth, I had to

  9. #9
    Very doable but as others have pointed out there will certainly be challenges ahead. There are many woods out there that make nice sticks but hickory would be a good starting place. Getting two sticks to be the same will require some custom cutters and a fixture or two - all of this shop made stuff of course! I made a series of sticks for a drummer that wanted to try out some of his ideas. Testing them out was fun.

  10. #10
    I turned several sets of drum sticks for my son a while back. They were easy to turn just using one of his store bought sticks as a model. Wood is the key, hard maple or hickory.

  11. #11
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    Saw a neat episode on "How's It Made" where they showed how drumsticks were made. The actual turning wasn't near as involved as the process of selecting sticks to create a matched pair. IIRC there was some sophisticated weighing and they ended up with an actual tested doing the final matching. If one could find that episode it would give some additional insight into creating their own set.

    Good Luck, Clint

  12. #12
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    I've made sticks from purpleheart and redheart and maple. Make sure you choose (or cut) pieces so the grain runs straight down the stick--if it runs off the side you're looking at an early split! I just used a store bought set for measurments. The 'wow' factor is real high, there's a lot of envy on the drum line!

    You'll have fun with this!

  13. #13
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    It seems like a prime time to use split stock to make sure the grain goes straight from end to end.

    I used to start with a bucket of sticks and just kept playing and trading one at a time until I found two that weighed, sounded, and felt the same. I assume you would want to start with 4 or more sticks to find a matching pair. The more you make, the higher percentage will find a mate.

    I have been very impressed in recent years how much better matched a packaged pair of sticks tends to be. I don't know if it is better quality control of the wood or matching at least by weight before they are packaged.

    Do it. Learn and teach and use and sell!
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  14. #14
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    eHow - How to make (Really horrible) drumsticks

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4865588_make...rumsticks.html

    I especially like how you get a piece of wood at least 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, place the wood on a lathe, and chip and sculpt it with standard lathe tools until the drumstick is round and 1/4" thick. Then paint or stain it.

    Sounds like a fool-proof recipe to me.
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  15. #15
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    I made a couple sets for my grandson. Really hard to match. What really convinced me that it was impractical was acquiring a stick for a reference. I talked to a drummer at a show I was doing, he gave me one of his broken sticks that were readily handy from a tube of them. Sticks are also different dimensions for their specific use.

    Steve

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