Traditional authentic technology

Craftsman goes into the forest, finds the right tree, and cuts it down for a billet. Then, soaks it in the creek for a week, so that the wood may become more flexible, and bends it around a thick tree, occasionally warming the workpiece over the fire, or burning the inner side of it with a hot iron. After the workpiece bends into a ring, the craftsman connects overlapping the edges, and burns several holes with a hot nail through which the rim edges are sewn with a leather cord or a wire.

This method is very time consuming and long, and not everyone can handle it. And indeed, in today’s technological environment, it represents an exercise of authentic ethnocultural technology. It is a fun for fans of historical reconstruction.

Modern methods

Next, I offer a few modern methods, lined up in descending order of quality, cost and seriousness of approach.

  1. The most proper drum should be made of thick sawn veneer, 4—5 mm (0.15″—0.20″) thick. Such veneer is steamed in hot water in a bathtub, is bent around a round object, and dried.

    After that, 2—3 layers are glued together using, as a mandrel, the same round object. For instance, a metal barrel. Or, specially glued disc made out of plywood. The mandrel diameter corresponds to the diameter of the rim. When the glue is dry, it is necessary to align the membrane of the drum, rubbing it on a sheet of coarse sandpaper, spread on a flat table. After alignment, you need to round out the edges of the rim, And then polish, paint and varnish it.

  2. A simpler option — a thick veneer is replaced by a thin. Then you can do without steaming and immediately get to glueing it. However, you will have to make more layers, to achieve a thickness of about 1 cm (0.39″). This option is slightly worse than the first one, but also gives the opportunity to create a strong and resilient rim.
  3. The next stage: a two layered rim of three-layered plywood. Saw the plywood against the grain into two ribbons, bend them into rings and glue, placing joints at opposite sides of the circumference. After the glue has dried, the joints can be strengthened with plates of the same plywood.

    Subsequent processing — as indicated above. The result, at best, is not very satisfactory. This method is for those who don’t like to bother. And for manufacturers of low cost souvenirs.

  4. And the last, the most obscene option for those who want to do it very quickly and don’t care about the method. Just for fun… Instead of plywood we can use hardboard.

    Here you can use: adhesive or tacks, or furniture stapler. Or even just wrap two layers of hardboard with adhesive tape. And do not save tape, make several layers. We can do without adhesive. However, such a construction will last not long but, in this case, it is not important.

    After all, it is an imitation, even not an ethno souvenir. If you go this route, then you can do without the skin at all. Mylar films for copiers, banner cloth or a tight plastic bag of large size will replace the natural membrane. Of course, only in this case.

    And you can attached the membrane using stapler or nails. The result, of course, is „beyond any criticism“. Although perhaps for someone this option seems acceptable, such a mess is unacceptable for me. So we are not going to talk about it anymore.

Read more: Artisan method of mounting the skin on the shamanic drum from Dima Ravitch