Back in the shop after Thanksgiving. Working on some new prototypes along with some other projects related to drums. This is a new development getting the kinks worked out...
I shelved some of these drum shells several moons ago due to family obligations. Now as time becomes available, they are being pulled out and worked on. I've also had the question as to what to do with all the hickory drop from stick stock....all the wood with run out and whacky grain pattern.... Make drums.
Can you tell which pair is pecan?
I could say both but I'd be deceiving. The left is the pecan. But I've got some hickory in house that is the same shade and darker than the pecan. Actually I've got some hickory that has a red hue in it. So, you can't go by color. The two woods are nearly indistinguishable and are often even confused at the mill. In my homework on pecan, bitternut pecan is also called bitternut hickory. Go figure that one. Thanks
go out to everyone that has supported, helped, shared and contributed to this endeavor. It has been challenging. However the foundation is becoming solid. Old words I used to say are coming back around again ... Practice, Persistence and Patience. Thanks again everyone!
...workin' you booty off. Holy cannoli! Life has been extremely busy and a lot has gone on. For those of you that may have missed the post July 19 on LA Backbeat's facebook page, I'll repost it here....
For everyone keeping up, I'm getting back into it. A bad batch of raw material that only produced half usable stock set operations back a bit. Business is slow but good and I do have some stock available. A new small batch of material has been acquired and production is coming back. I'm told by my wood distributor that this will be the last for a bit and I'm looking for new suppliers of quality hickory. I do have some bois d'arc in limited supply coming into the shop and also have some folks helping me with supply of bitternut and hognut pecan along with a supply of sweet pecan. This will be all from central and southern Louisiana and May not be available until the fall. It's been a slow build and I'm fine with it. Thanks everyone for the support in this endeavor. I truly appreciate it. Have a great weekend!
That bad batch of wood that should have made about 1300+ drumsticks made a bunch of bananas! It stung pretty good and the supplier telling me that hickory was getting hard to find left me feeling uneasy. I got a tip to call a wood supplier in Illinois. I made the call, but it will cost as much in shipping than what the wood is worth. I'll keep looking for closer suppliers. However, I may buy a truck and go get a load of good hickory. The truck would pay for itself over time. Also I could buy some other machinery when I find a good deal on it and go pick it up. Hmmm...
Maybe I'll buy something like this....
...after all, something like this gets as good or better fuel mileage as a 3/4 ton truck and a 5th wheel trailer. AND, it costs less than the truck and trailer combined. I'll have to sleep on it... for a few days. It's definitely worth thinking about and I need a truck. The old work van can only haul so much wood.
I've been staying busy, believe me!! I've got a few irons in the fire at the moment. I'm definitely hustlin' to catch up on some stick stock to get me to the next batch of wood...wherever I may find it. Hopefully it doesn't cost a lot so I can continue to pass the savings along to you.
Early day tomorrow so I'm takin' my hat off.
Thanks Dan...you know who you are.
I've finally started to catch up on stock. There is now a healthy supply of FW390(3A) S595(5B) S595 1/2(5BX) both in Acorn, S540(7A)barrel, S555(747)acorn and testing level of B595 and B580 in Acorn. The B stands for bounce and those sticks have an acorn type tip. There are more S565(5A) barrel and acorn coming this weekend in both standard and long length.
I've had more requests for sticks that fall outside the standard sizes so I am going to start lathing some of those sizes that fall in the middle of the standards. I am also going to turn .515 dia equivalent to pro mark 7A and Elvin Jones models.
I am also revamping the labeling system used, along with a new label and all sticks will be paired by weight and pitch. I am going to start marking all sticks in their number diameter. As example 595 will be a 5B and 565 will be a 5A. This will allow for fewer stamps to be made. Also, there will be a lettered prefix for everything outside of standard taper. There will be an FW for 'forward weight,' short taper, a B for 'Bounce,' long taper regular neck/tip and a J for 'Jazz' long taper and skinny neck and smaller tip.
The latter part of last week, I finished up the long straight back knife. Man, talk about some slow tedious work. It was totally worth it! Now that knife cuts a shaft within .002" and super clean. I'm a happy man! I turned out some 3A style sticks and they are sweet! Have I mentioned the new mods on the lathe for sanding? Makes a very nice sanded finish and rounds over the taper to shaft transition. Yet again, VERY happy. I also turned some "bounce" .580 and .595 sticks.
Today was a very productive day. I sent sticker designs to my friend Tom Brown at Downtown T-shirts. I should have small stickers for general use and large vinyl stickers for bass drumheads. Also, went and got some new stamps for sticks. I'm going to start labeling stick in actual diameter and placing a single letters for Jazz, Bounce, and Forward Weight. Standard tapers will just have diameter marking. All sticks will also be labeled Hickory, Pecan and Maple.
The big project for the day was getting some paint on the bandsaw I bought nearly a year ago. I started working on it and then my Mom got sick with Alzheimer's and everything in the shop got shelved for about 5 months while my bro and I cared for her until she passed. With the weather nice and low humidity the past couple weeks, I knew I needed to do this before summer set in.
I got to the shop, pushed the saw outside, got the pressure washer and washed off the evapo-rust. Since it had sat for a while, I had to give it a quick once over with steel wool and evapo-rust and then wash it off again. Wipe it down, set it in the sun and go mix up some epoxy primer.
Got the primer mixed and ready to go, get the gun, fill with primer, and .... nothing comes out. Bummer. The paint gun has sat for nearly 15 years so I can't blame it for not wanting to spray. With primer still in the cup and the sun going down, I needed to get this done. After fiddling with it a bit, I got the needle unstuck, pulled it, gave it a quick lick with super fine sand paper and away we go. Started laying primer really nice and then halfway through it started acting up. Figured out a work around so I could finish. It's not my best primer job, but... it is sealed and primed. Very long day and I'm happy and tired. Posted below are before and after pics.
Stick stock is growing again. So far there are 2B, 5A, 5AX, 7A in barrel tip and .555 (747) acorn available. Working on 5B, 5BX, 5BXL in both barrel and acorn. Would also like to work on the oval tip as well. There has also been a request for a .571 in barrel. Will work on that too. The past couple weeks have seen a lot of development here in the shop. New stick designs are coming to fruition. It takes time, very fulfilling and worth it all. Worked on cleaning up the long straight knife more today. That edge was really out-o-whack. Once this knife is cleaned up and "straight," stick length up 17" will be available.
After setting up to turn some short taper, 3A Fatback style, sticks I realized that the long knife still had some issues. There were still imperfections in the knife. I worked on that knife the better part of the day today. I must've taken that thing off half a dozen times or more to clean it up. Just taking off little bits of material at a time so I don't overdo it. After a long day, it is better but not there quite yet. Wood is precious right now, but I did turn out a about a dozen 3A to work on the tip. The tip is coming along nicely.
Oh, the sanding modifications to the lathe have really developed over the past week. I actually had to remove and modify a couple components for the lathe. I did it all in house and very pleased with the results. The lathe can now sand part of the taper and the entire shaft of the stick before the removal arms take it out from between the centers. It makes a smooth finish that I am happy with. Only some light finish sanding now. It will probably go through another revision before I am completely satisfied but it is working for now.
I also worked on a "bounce" style stick with a longer taper. I turned out several pair of those in a couple different diameters. I've got a drummer interested in that style. They will be available in prototype acorn and barrel as well.
The .555≠ (747) was a hit. The drummer I made them for loved them. However, he would like them longer. I'll see what I can do to accommodate him. I now have a small supply of the 16.25" .555 (747) WITH acorn tip in stock.