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Build - Attaching Hardware

Attaching hardware

Drilling for lugs.

Once the shell is finished, the final operation will be drilling the finished shell for hardware. You need to drill a hole for the drum vent (I recommend the threaded kind rather than the metal grommets you have to stake in place.) You also may need to drill the shell for a snare strainer and butt or mounting hardware if the drum is a tom.

The biggest trick, though is drilling for the drum lugs if you didn't get a pre-drilled shell. My method was to get some white paper "artists tape" which is rather like high quality masking tape. Apply rings of the tape to the outside of the shell approximately where the lug holes are going to be. You now need to carefully mark where the lug mounting holes will be drilled. To do this you need to decide where the shell seam will be with respect to the lugs (usually either under one lug or centered between two lugs). The seam thus gives you the starting point for your measurements. Using a T-square on the bearing edge, mark the tape at the location of the first lugs.

Now knowing how many lugs your drum will have, you need to subdivide the drum circumference into that many parts. What I did was to take a metric sewing tape (like a tailor wears) and measure the circumference of the shell. Now using a calculator divide that number by the number of lugs the drum rim uses (6 , 8 etc.) This gives the distance from one lug to the next. Using the calculator figure out what 2x, 3x 4x, etc. times that number is and you can make a table of the distance from the reference point to each lug hole. Using the sewing tape mark the holes positions on the tape on the outside of the shell. This will be a series of vertical lines.

You also need to know how far the holes are from the shell edge. What I do is figure out what the distance is that locates the lug in the right spot and use a vernier calliper set to the right distance to mark the tape. You just put one jaw on the bearing edge and use the corner of the other jaw to scratch the tape at the various locations. Fill in the scratch with a pen to make it more visible. Note what the caliper is set to and then add the lug mounting hole spacing to that number and it will give you the location of the second hole using the same marking method. Finally, before you drill AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, double check all measurements. Check that lug to lug distances are all the same and hold a lug up to you marks to make double sure that the holes look like they will fit the lugs.

Now drill the lug holes. "bullet" drills are excellent for this or using a small pilot hole first works very well too. The plywood shell may tend to splinter as the drill goes through, so you have to be very careful. If you use a pilot hole drilling a little bit from both sides before you drill all the way through the shell helps stop splintering a lot. There are special wood drills you can buy that to not splinter the plywood.

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