Drum building is all about the Jigs

So not really news per-say, but I had a pretty successful run in the shop today. I struggle a lot with making the decision that makes more sense rather than the one that has potential to be quicker. For example… The other day I needed a flat head screwdriver to clamp the bands I use for gluing up a drum. Well I know I have more than one, and knew there was one in my jeep that I normally use. So instead of going all the way to the jeep to get it, I start looking in every possible place I might have the other one. 10 minutes later I realize how silly that was, but now I’m on a mission to find the other screwdriver. Well perhaps a total of 15 minutes has gone by and still no screwdriver. What a time suck. I may have even tried to use a dull chisel… I eventually go to the jeep and get what I knew was there all along. I know I do this and am aware of it. Hopefully that’s the first step to realizing the best action next time.

Well today I made that right decision from the start and boy did it save me time. I’m doing a few custom built djembes that have accent woods around the bowl. Some of the accents are pretty small and I cut these small segments on the miter saw. It can be scary and I’ve had pieces kick back. I’ve known that I needed to build a zero clearance table for these, but hell, that just sounds complicate…
I took about 10 minutes and some scrap plywood to put down a temporary table and fence. I then chopped down with the saw and wa-lah! A zero clearance fence.


I threw up a stop block, and you can see how small these pieces are.? Just over .25 for the small accent ring.? This saved me so much time and headache and stress. I cut 3 rings for each of the two drums. Each ring or accent has 24 pieces… I think that’s a total of 144 segments. Not one piece got kicked back or gouged by the blade. Tear out was minimal and it went so much quicker because I wasn’t worried about flying chunks of bubinga and curly maple.

I like this zero clearance bed so much I’m going to make a more permanent version that will lock on and off of the miter saw.? And.. to give respect where it’s due, I LOVE this saw.? It’s the Kapex from Festool and I have a fine tooth blade on it.? Clean, powerful cuts and this thing is the most accurate miter saw on the market.? I have it hooked up to my main dust collection system, so there is a minimum of airborne dust.? You can see in the photo some more dust than normal, I believe the modified fence gets in the way of the air flow, but still.. for 144 pieces just being cut, it’s not bad at all!

The fruit of my labor… Soon to be glued up as accent rings to the upper bowl of some very special custom djembes.


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