Taiko drums are traditional Japanese instruments made from wood, cowhide and metal hardware. Traditionally these drum shells are hollowed out from a solid tree trunk and there is 5-7 years of drying time involved in the curing process. The interior of the drums is hand carved for the most precious instruments in order to enhance the resonance of the drum body.
In summer of 2014, I was asked to make a set of Taiko drums for a professional drumming group. These drums were a chance for me to try out an idea that another drum maker and I had spoke of, where the interior could be textured like the traditional drums, yet assembled from staves like a wine barrel.
Using a CAD file generated in rhino, a tool path and production strategy was made to create the staves using some hand work and some CNC carving. The drums were then glued together and mounted to a rotating jig that used a treadmill motor and other readily available woodworking tools.
Taiko heads are traditionally tensioned with rope, and more recently with the help of hydraulic jacks. I utilized this time tested method, which was taught to me by drum-making masters.
I created a set of 12 drums of various sizes over the course of the summer with help from Kayla Woo, RISD students Trevor Knebel and Laura Cabral, with CNC assistance from Nic Schumann and Greg Nemes.