Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tongue Drums!

I've been wanting to build a tongue drum for a while now, but I kept putting it off because I knew I would get totally immersed in the music theory details of these little wooden boxes with slits cut in the top.  I saw Steve Ramsey build one and I followed Marc Bublitz's keeks about his experiences with building them, and watching them just fueled my desire to build one.  So I took some time to research, design, and build a few myself and I was right...I did get totally obsessed with these things.

While gathering information about these drums, I noticed a lot of comments in woodworking forum threads like "I would build one but I don't know how to tune it." or "Where is a plan for the tongues?"  So, I set out to produce a video that explains everything you need to know about building tongue drums.

My goals were to make these drums less mysterious and to answer all the questions that were preventing people from getting into the shop and making that first cut.  I hope this video encourages you to get into the shop and make one of these drums.  They are quick and easy to build, fun to play, and they are only as complicated as you want to make them.  No matter what type of wood you use, or whether you tune it or not, you will end up with a nice fun-to-play drum.  If you build one, please contact me and let me know...I'd love to hear about it!

Helpful Tongue Drum Links:
(Search for Bar Length Calculators and Scales using a search engine.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Random Acts of Woodworking!

One thing I've always enjoyed about woodworking is being able to make unique gifts for people.  I try to keep an eye out for opportunities to use my woodworking skills to do something nice for others.  I like to call these projects "Random Acts of Woodworking".  It's kind of like paying for the person's order behind you at the drive-thru, but woodworking style.

Step 1 is to identify someone whose day could be brightened a little by a random act of woodworking.  Facebook makes this really easy (lol).  Whether someone is celebrating or struggling, giving them a personalized handmade gift can be a very powerful thing.

Step 2 is to do a little research (aka snooping) and come up with an idea for something the person may like.  Look for something in their photos, likes, comments, hobbies, hometown, etc. that will trigger an idea.

Step 3 is to make something thoughtful out of wood and give it to them.  For someone who achieved something great, it could be a plaque, a picture frame, or something else to honor the achievement.  For someone who is going through a struggle, it could be as simple as cutting an inspirational word out of wood, like Hope, Strength, Courage, etc.  Using wood from a special location or object can personalize the project.

Try doing a random act of woodworking for someone.  I think you will find that no matter what you make for them, it will turn out to be one of your most enjoyable and memorable projects.  Here is one of mine, so please comment and let me know one of yours.