Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Made a drumstick holder

This blog entry is part of a series where I document to myself "Yes -- I really did accomplish things this vacation!"

Some people like to go on trips during their vacations, to get away from their real life.  I prefer the opposite:  I like to putter around the house and yard, getting things done (from my "To Do" list).

The story behind this project is that I hate to see perfectly good raw materials get thrown away.  A house down the block from the kids' school was having its wooden porch refurbished, and there were a few useful-looking pieces of wood in the dumpster.

I pondered it for a few days, then grabbed two brick-sized pieces after dropping off my kids -- figuring that I'd pick up some more when I got the kids after school.  Unfortunately, when I returned that afternoon -- the dumpster was gone!!!

So, I mostly missed out.  But, at least I got these two pieces of hardwood (the pen is a size reference):
As you can see, they were "mostly painted" white.  I wrote the date of acquisition, and the location, on the pieces of wood -- as I typically do -- but I didn't know specifically what I would do with them.

And then, sometime between then and my week's vacation, I decided:  drumstick holders!

You see, I have a few different pairs of drumsticks, of different weights,  thicknesses and tips.
But they're not stored in an organized way -- so I'm often trying to find the other half of a pair:  the drumstick holder would keep them organized and accessible.

I examined the ends of the wooden blocks, and decided that I'd keep the ends as there were -- just for character.  However, because the ends weren't symmetrical, I wanted the ends on the completed project to be in a certain orientation.  So, decided which end was "up", and indicated this with a piece of masking tape.  (No photo.)

I then cleaned up the sides and the bottom with a handplane (a scrub plane for rapid stock removal, followed by a smoothing plane) -- but I left the top painted.  (No photo.)

I then used a marking gauge to define the rows, and a trysquare and dividers to define the columns.  I then used a bradawl (shown) to start the holes.

I tested the holes based on one of the drumsticks -- more on this later -- and used one of my hand augers to make the holes.  The drumstick holder shown above is for the "regular-sized" drumsticks:  I made another one (shown later) for the unusually-sized drumsticks.

Between the two sets of drumstick holders, I got to use all three of my augers (see below).  (Correction:  I have a fourth one that's remarkably wide -- but it's not yet mounted to a handle.)  I've only owned the one in the middle for about a month, and hadn't yet used it:  I picked it up at an antique shop for a very good price, and I knew that it was a size I didn't yet have.  The other two I've had for about ten years, and (I'm pretty sure) haven't used on any "real" project -- until now.

You can't quite tell in this photo, but the middle auger -- the one I recently picked up -- has a smoothed-out branch as its handle.  I liked its rustic-ness:  the two ends are of slightly different length, and the handle has a slight waviness to it.  It has character. 

As it so happened, the auger that I picked up recently was the one that I used the most for this project: seven pairs of holes, rather than the one pair each for the other two augers.

The newer auger needed a little bit of sharpening with a file, but was otherwise in usable condition.  I'll discuss the handle modifications in a moment.

Yeah, I could've used a spade bit.  But using the hand augers was more interesting.  And I got to learn something:  I improved my skills and refined my technique along the way.

Here's the first two holes, using  the new auger.

Here's another shot, where you can see my green "depth indicator" masking tape -- to make the holes all the same depth.  Notice, however, the squared-off ends of the auger's wooden handle.


But, even after I brush away the shavings, some wood was still hanging on:  because the auger bit didn't have "spurs" to slice the surface of the wood, there were still some pieces at the opening of the hole that were still connected.  This also caused some tear-out around some of the holes, which I'll discuss later.

Cleaning up the surface with a sharp chisel.  This is my "go to" chisel, which covers about 98% of my chisel needs.

Here's the surface, cleaned up a bit.

It was about this point that the square-ish ends on the handle were starting to bother me:  every time I made a turn, the corner of the handle -- much like a crisp end of a large dowel -- would dig into my hand.  So, I decided to round off the end, to make it more comfortable.

Here's my go-to rasp:  not fancy (plastic handle!) -- but it works.  I wrapped a rag around the other end, so that it wouldn't chew up my fingers or cut me (I've done that before!).

Here's the (mostly) rounded-off ends.  I then made the curve of the ends a little more symmetrical, and smoothed off the surface a bit with a coarse file.

Here's me using my second-largest auger on the companion "drumstick holder".  My largest auger would have been far too big for the job -- and I still need to figure out how to mount it onto a handle.

And, the mid-sized auger.

Here's the finished products -- after two coats of Danish oil.  If you enlarge the photo you'll be able to see some tear-out (running "with the grain") around the holes.  I could've prevented that by clamping a sacrificial thin board on top of the "hole-making" surface, doing my layout on that, and drilling through that board into the "real" workpiece below.  But I figured that doing that was more work than this project deserved:  it's a "functional" piece, not a "beauty" piece.

As usual, I wrote the source of the wood (date and location), the date I finished it, and signed my work.  I've made the photo deliberately blurry.

And here's the two drumstick holders in action -- kind of.

To the left is the "atypical-sized" drumsticks:  some tympani-ish beaters; a pair that my late paternal grandfather made for me on his lathe; and a massive taiko-style pair that I made out of large hadwood dowel that I picked up at the hardware store (but I rounded the ends a bit, to minimize the denting of my drum heads).

On the right is the "typical-sized" drumsticks, as I had intended to use it:  pointy-end up.  This would allow me to visually select among the different tips (e.g. nylon vs. wooden; acorn versus barrel).

But -- it turns out that the "example" drumstick I had grabbed, when choosing the auger size to drill the holes, was slightly narrower than some of the others.  So not all of my "regular"-sized drumsticks would fit.  Ah well.

So, I ended up using them tip-down -- which means that I can grab them by the handle, not the tip.  And I guess it'll just be trial-and-error in figuring out which pair is which.

And, that's the end.  :)


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