For most people, playing drums is all about perfecting the skill of actually playing. In Tom Featherstone’s case, however, he decided to learn how to actually build them as well.
Featherstone got his start with the “technical side” of drums by first taking apart his 10-year-old electronic drum kit to replace sensors. Once he started recording and searching for new sounds, he realized that he “could have access to a wide range of options by building [his] own drums.” Although building a drum like this might seem like a daunting project, as he puts it,
Someone had to go through this before you, no matter how complicated something looks, at one point it started off as an idea.
The build itself starts off with cutting a circle out of several layers of MDF (medium density fiberboard) to form a mold. Thin cherry veneer is then shaped into the drum’s main cylinder section, which is lacquered and then drilled for the hardware that holds everything together. The top and bottom metal sections are then secured, giving a custom instrument a well-finished look that would be difficult to distinguish from something professionally produced.
If you’re going to attempt this yourself, Featherstone has produced this (pdf) guide for more complete instructions. Just a warning for those with slow connections, it weighs in at 15 megabytes.