African Joy Drum

By Jacob W.

For my instrument, I decided to make a drum. Since my Grandpa Walters was good with woodworking, I asked him to help me with my music project. It was going to be an African Joy Drum.

On the first day, I showed my Grandpa my ideas. I decided the style and my Grandpa and I cut and connected the boards. We cut the boards so they were exactly 15 inches tall. To cut the edges, we had to do some multiplication. Since an octagon, a circle-like shape is 360 degrees and it would have six sides, I divided six into it. I got 60 degrees and half of that is 30 degrees. I angled the table saw to 30 degrees and Grandpa cut the boards. Our second and last job for the day was to connect the boards. I used carpenter glue on the edges. Once I was done, Grandpa used the nail gun to secure it.

On the second day, we sanded and stained the drum shell. After Grandpa sanded one board to show me how, I sanded the rest of the shell. Now it was staining time. The stain we used was extra from two step stools Grandpa had made for Paige and Mitchell (my brother and sister), so they could reach the sink. I liked its color but Grandpa said it went on different than deck stain which is what I had used before. With deck stain you just roll and brush. When staining furniture or something special like my drum, first you had to soak a paper towel in the stain. Next, you wipe it up and down. Finally you get a new, dry paper towel and wipe off the extra stain. Grandpa showed me what it would look like and I stained the rest.

On the third day, we did the first and second coats of varnish. I had never varnished before so Grandpa showed me. Amazing, it was a lot like staining a deck. We waited thirty minutes, to let the varnish dry, before doing the second coat. Grandpa said he would do the third coat over the weekend.

On the fourth day, we put the drumhead, beads, and trim pieces on. Grandpa wetted a goat-skin chamois before we placed it on top of the drum. This way it would tighten down when it dried. I helped tighten it even more while Grandpa tacked it on. We glued the beads on and finally tacked the trim pieces in place. My African Joy Drum was complete!

Timbre means what it sounds like. My drum's timbre is deep, like thunder. The dynamics of an instrument can be loud or soft. The African Joy Drum makes a loud sound when hit harder on the drum head. If you hit the drum head lightly, it is a much softer sound. The pitch of an instrument can be high or low. When the outer part of the drum head is hit, its pitch is higher than in the middle. These are the ways that my drum makes sounds.