Convert A Tom
The latest project from The Cavan Project workshop has been around getting a kick drum to use in a three-piece blues band. But this isn’t your standard three-piece – we’ve got cigar box guitar, cigar box bass and violin! With that line up I’m going to have to use the kick drum while playing bass, with the only problem being that I don’t have one!! I always thought it would come down to either finding a kick or having to convert a tom.
First step was to find a crappy old set of drums second hand – and I luckily I hit the jackpot and picked up a kick and three toms online for $40. They were in pretty bad condition with the covering coming off, hardware all rusted, and indeed some hardware bits missing. Because I wanted to keep things minimal, and because the kick looked a bit dodgy, I decided to convert the 16” tom into a kick. And because I can’t help myself, I decided to strip it too.
I stripped the old red covering off and then spend what seemed like an age scraping the glue that had held in place off. A bit of sanding and finishing with some tung oil and furniture wax and it came up nicely. Finding the right way to finish it was a challenge as I initially tried some maple stain and it came up way too orange. I also toyed with a walnut stain as I do actually have a snare in that colour, but in the end the straight tung oil was nicest. I then cleaned and shined up the hardware and was good to go.
Next step was building a cradle. Now there are lots of examples online but I kept things simple. I traced the circumference of the drum onto two end pieces and made an extra cutaway to accommodate the tension bolts. Because this will only be used for this one 16” tom I was able to measure it exactly so that the spreader struts are the perfect length to have the ends fit snuggly against the rim. Add a bracket for the pedal and all in all it has worked very well and I’m really happy with how it looks and how it sounds. Total cost was less that $20 and quite a bit of timber left over.