Bodhran Drum Shell
Cut the end of the wooden plank at an angle to create a scarf joint. A miter saws ensure an accurate cut, as the two ends will be joined after bending.
Boil water in the hotplates and charge boiling water over the planet until it becomes bendable. You can also rent a wooden dustbin or make a garbage tank out of an old gutter.
Bend the plank in a circle until the ends meet or overlap. Apply high-quality wood glue to the joint and mount and tighten the belt tension. Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours.
Remove the belt tension when the glue is dry. Sand all surfaces to remove any rough edges. Cut the wooden shelf to size and mount it over the inside of the container, with wood glue and finishing nails. You can apply wood stain or paint when the cloth has dried.
Install the drum head
Cut a rough circle from the goat, 4 to 6 inches wider than the circumference of the drum shell. Immerse the goat hide in water until it is soft and supple. Squeeze out excess water and center it over the drum shell, smooth side up.
Staple the skin to the shell side, about 1 inch from the top. Start with several booklets in one area and stretch the skin on the opposite side. Repeat the opposite stretching and stapling operation around the circumference of the drum.
Mount the leather strip over the stacked area and attach it to the drum shell with the cover at approximately 1-inch intervals. You can draw a line about 1 inch down from the edge of the shell to help with placement.
Let the goatskin dry thoroughly, during which time it will move and tighten, giving a suitable tone for drums. You can set the head up by applying heated air from a hair dryer or lowering it by applying a light application of water over the head surface.
Tips and warnings
The Irish drum, called ‘bodhran’ (pronounced bow-ran) is loosely based on an old African design. Similar drums made their way to the Middle East and Central Asia, which finally landed in Ireland during the Middle Ages. Bodhrans resemble tambourines without a cymbal and are typically 16 to 18 inches in diameter. You play them with wooden beats, also called ‘tippers’. Bodhran consists of a wooden shell, with a drum head of goatskin that sticks to the outside of the shell. While building your own bodhran is not difficult, it requires carpentry and the ability to bend wood.