Maker Faire: Wine Barrel Taiko Drums

Maker Faire: Wine Barrel Taiko Drums

Creative reuse is a big theme every year at Maker Faire, and this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place this weekend at the San Mateo Fairgrounds, is no exception. A group of taiko drummers from Wadaiko Newark are going to be on-site demonstrating how they make gorgeous taiko drums from reclaimed wine barrels. One of the group’s founding members, Terry Eustice, shared some insight with us.

1. Tell us about the project(s) you’re bringing to Maker Faire.

We’re bring 2 projects to Maker Faire. The first is part of the Educational Program on Friday. We’ll be teaching the children attending how to play taiko drums. In a 15-minute session they will learn the basic beats and a simple, fun song.

The second project is the main display during the full two days of Maker Faire. We’ll be demonstrating how to remake old wine barrels into taiko drums: disassembling, clean up, strengthening, gluing and reassembling, finishing, and stretching the drum head.

We plan on completing at least one drum over the weekend and will have other completed drums on hand to perform with.


2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?

One of our members has attended every Maker Faire. Last year he spent time talking to the ReCoop, who restore used wine barrels. ReCoop encouraged us to present our reuse and remaking of wine barrels.


3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?

I have very varied background. Growing up near a Native American reservation, I learned many basic craft and tool-making skills from the elders. I’ve been a photographer, marrying Sam, minister, handy man, painter, plumber, and have had many other jobs.

I started playing taiko in 1997 after seeing taiko played at a local Buddhist Church’s Summer Festival. Just “one night a week” turned into a nearly full-time job teaching, writing, and building taiko drums.

The creator of modern taiko, Grand Master Daihachi Oguchi, and Master Seiichi Tanaka, who brought taiko to the U.S., encouraged me to be very traditional, but I cannot resist mixing in the Native American rhythms I learned in my youth.

4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?

I often tell the story of “Tuesday is for Taiko” where playing Taiko started as a one-day-a-week activity, but soon became a six-day-a-week way of life. I wish it could pay the bills, but while more then a hobby, it is not a business.

My day job as a handyman and a painter give me the solitude, and usually quiet, to create music as I work.

5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?

My goals are to build the world’s largest stave-built taiko drum and write my own taiko opera.

7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?

Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t do that” or “it will never work.” Try it — it just may work. If it doesn’t work, you can see why it didn’t and change it to make it work.

Thanks, Terry! Looking forward to hearing you all drumming at the Faire. For all the information you need about Maker Faire, including buying tickets online, check out the Maker Faire website. See you there!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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