There are a variety of opinions on proper construction of a shaman drum. Usually, they correspond to ideas and needs of a player. If the goal is to become a real shaman there is one approach. If just to have fun or for „clownery“ — another. Accordingly, technologies of making a drum are changing.
Making a beater is a separate issue. There are so many shapes, designs and sizes, significantly more than drum structures.
Typically, a shaman chooses a beater for himself, in accordance with his ideas. But that’s for an experienced shaman. For starters complexity is harmful. It is important that the beater was comfortable and easy to use. A simple, straight and round stick is taken as a basis.
A used or with a broken tip drumstick will do too. Diameter: 12-15 mm (0.50″-0.60″), length: 30-40 cm (10″-15″). But it should fit inside the drum. Scrape paint and varnish off, using the same scraper. Grind it with emery paper and rub with a cloth soaked in burdock oil. This surface will not be too slippery and will not rub the fingers.
Making a soft beater head is also simple: It requires a soft, desirably, a natural material, such as drape, thick cloth or thin felt. Cut a ribbon 5-7 cm (2″-3„) wide, and about half a meter (2 ft) long.
One end is glued to the shaft and is wrapped around it in the shape of a flat cylinder. The second end of the ribbon is glued in the same way. Changing the length, the width and the tightness you can make a beater with specified parameters of softness and weight. In conclusion the soft beater head is covered with leather or suede using glue and a needle and thread. If you don’t cover it, it will unwind during use. It is worth to make a beater with a more complex design only when you are comfortable with a simple one and understand what kind of beater you will need in the future.
All the above stated is true but not completely. You can find more details in my article: Shamanic Paradoxes.
Good luck to all those who dared to make a homemade drum.