How it's done...

 

At Davies Drums Co., we take a lot of pride in our build process. Your snare drum is individually built by hand and given the utmost attention to detail. Every shell is made from high quality lumber that is hand selected, then cut to perfection. We glue our shells and give them the maximum time to dry/cure before rounding them on the lathe. Once round, we hand sand the inside and out until it is smooth and ready for edges. After the edges are cut, we apply clear coat and finish to the buyers specifications. Once the finish has cured, we mark the shell and drill for hardware. After drilling and one final polish, we affix the hardware to the shell. When the shell is complete, we do a final quality inspection and sound check. Every drum is played before it leaves the shop to ensure it sounds good when it arrives. 

Please read the information below for more details and information on our process. 


Wood

The first step in building your snare drum is selecting the perfect species of wood. We work with several suppliers to ensure that your drums are made out of only the best quality lumber. All of the lumber we use is kiln dried and stored at appropriate temperatures/humidity. 

Sound Characteristics: 

Each type of wood brings a different tonal characteristic to the drum. Below are some of the more common species that are used in our drum construction. 

MAPLE
Maple is one of  the most popular woods used for high quality snare shells. Maple is known for its warm tone and enhanced lower frequencies. It has even distribution of middle and high frequencies. The sound is clear and supports a wide tuning range making for a good general-purpose snare.

Cherry
Cherry is a beautiful species. Compared to maple it has a more aggressive and brighter tone with very good projection. They have great articulation and warmth. Cherry is one of our favorite snare shells. 

BEECH
Beech is just as hard a birch, but its rougher grain gives the wood more low-end frequencies than birch. Beech gives snare drums a fat tone, similar to maple. If you want the strength of birch but a sound similar to maple, beech is a good alternative.

OAK
Oak is a very strong wood and offers incredible durability and projection. It makes for a good alternative for more common shell materials offering a very present sound that has enough low-end to keep the tone round.

MAHOGANY
For over fifty years, mahogany was the standard material chosen for drum shells. Nowadays this expensive wood is less common, which is a shame. Its strong low end makes for a very rich, warm tone that gave many vintage drums their treasured tone and its enhanced mid range gives extra punch.

POPLAR
Poplar is a fast growing wood and offers medium strength for drum shells. This softer wood has been used in drum construction for decades and is often chosen as a filler wood between inner and outer plies of more expensive or aesthetically appealing woods. It has a sound similar to more expensive woods such as birch or mahogany.

*Many other options are available. Please send us an email if you have questions about your desired species.

*Special thanks to the multiple drummers who have helped put the above information together. 

 


Shell Construction

After the wood has been selected, it is time to determine what type of construction you desire. At Davies Drums Co., we offer three types of construction methods; Stave, Segmented, and Ply. 

Stave:

Stave drums are created by joining beveled pieces of wood together (staves) into a circle. This creates a drum that is more "solid" resulting in incredible sound qualities. We can make you a Stave shell out of any wood species you want! Here are some benefits to stave shells:

Many exotic wood varieties are available.
Grain is vertical which some (Better Tone Qualities)
Uses less glue than ply  (Enhanced Tone)
Easy to make into thick shells.
Not likely to go out of round because the wood is not being stressed into shape.
Ideal for making mixed wood shells. 

 

Segmented:

Small horizontal pieces are cut with beveled edges to form a circle. Several of these circles are made and then stacked to eventually make up the shell. Benefits of Segment Shells: 

Many exotic wood varieties are available.
Grain is horizontal
Uses less glue than ply but more than staves.
It's easy to make thick shells.
Not likely to go out of round because the wood is not being stressed into shape. 

 

Ply: 

This is the method most commonly used by the big drum companies. These shells are made by gluing several thin layers together to create a shell. At Davies Drums Co., we do not create our own ply shells. However, we can order Keller Maple shells, and make you a drum if you wish. Benefits of Ply Shells include: 

Economical
Easy to make a thin shell.
Flexible which aids durability.
**Since we outsource Ply shells, the lead time for finishing your order could increase by 2-4 weeks.**


Bearing Edges

All D.D.C. snare drums come with 45 degree inner edges with a very shallow 45 degree relief cut. We hand sand the apex to a slight round over. We feel that this gives the perfect amount of contact between the edge and the drum head to allow our drums to sing.  Other edges are available upon request. 


Finishes

At D.D.C. we offer a variety of finishes for your drums. When you select one of our "series" snare drums, you have the choice between an oiled satin finish, semi gloss, or high gloss. If you want a little color in your life, we do offer staining/dye options for any custom snare drum order. We do NOT offer drums with wraps at this time. 


Hardware

Each snare drum series has a specific set of hardware chosen for that particular style. Please refer to our page that discusses our snare series for specifics.  We offer a wide selection of hardware on our Custom Series drums. If there is a certain look you are going for, just send us a message and we will do our best to accommodate your wishes.