How to Make An Ashiko Drum




Things You'll Need



Writing utensil



Block or brick

Wood glue


Cabinet scrapper

Belt sander



Goat hide

Hole punch



Matte finish




Ashiko drums are played with bare hands and originate in Africa. Ashikos can produce bass, tone and slap tones. They are often associated with drum circles and spiritual worship. Although Ashiko drums are traditionally carved from a single log, you can make your own using regular plywood. For this project you will need to know how to weld or know a welder, special order some supplies and use a calculator or math skills.


Step 1

Decide how big you want the drum to be and how many staves there will be. Typically Ashiko drums are comprised of twelve staves but yours can have any number you want. For twelve-stave drums, the individual stave pieces should be cut at 15 degree 15-degree angles. Multiply the number of staves you want by two and then divide the product into 360. So six staves would be cut at a 30 degree 30-degree angle and so on.


Step 2

Calculate how wide the stave will be at the bottom and top using the formula for circumference. Measure the diameter of the circle and multiply it by 3.14159. Divide the product by the number of stave pieces, which will give you the length. The top should be wider than the bottom.


Step 3

Use a jig to cut the slave pieces from plywood according to your measurements by adjusting the angle. Double your angle for cutting the second side. Make sure the staves do not rise up when cutting, if necessary use a block or brick to hold them down.


Step 4

Place the stave pieces next to each other and quickly connect them using wood glue. Apply tape to the front part of each slave where the pieces are connected as a temporary bonding agent and let it dry for 24 hours.


Step 5

Remove uneven bumps of dried glue with a cabinet scraper. Sand down sharp edges with a belt sander. Use a file to form the bottom of the drum into the desired shape.


Step 6

Sand a ring around the top to create a smooth surface for the drum`s head. Turn the drum upside down and sand all along the surface until it is consistently smooth.


Step 7

Turn your drum base upside down onto a piece of plywood and trace the circumference. Use that measurement to weld one ring of that size and one slightly larger.

Step 8

Cut goat hide into a circle a few inches larger than the drum circumference. Use a hole punch to create a series of holes around the hide an string a cord through the holes. Tighten the cord to hold the hide to the metal rings.


Step 9

Take strips of rope and glue them alongside the vertical part of the drum. Apply several coats of matte finish and paint. Test out your new Ashiko drum!


Key Concepts

• make ashiko drum

• how make ashiko



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