Here are a couple of emails I received from Miikka A. Eerola about veneering a drum shell. Many thanks to Miikka for setting this up and sending pictures of his build!
I’m seriously considering trying your Thin Air Press system to apply exotic veneers on drums. I have a few concerns, though. First of all, I’d need a much larger bag than the 24″x26″ you offer. I recall seeing some custom size bags on your web site but I couldn’t find them today. Can I get larger bags for this system, say 30″x30″ or even larger? Right now I’m considering only snare drums that are generally 14″ in diameter and up to 8″ deep. I realize on might be able to cram a snare drum in a 24″x26″ bag but wouldn’t be able to use round top and bottom plates to prevent the bag going inside the drum. Second, virtually all my collegues who use what they call “real” vacuum presses tell me there’s no way your product would work on a drum. I don’t see why that would be until I try one out. I’d love to prove them wrong! Please let me know if one can get larger bags for your product and if you honestly think it would be suitable to veneer drums.
Thanks! Miikka A. Eerola
Vibrant Custom Drums
Dear Norah and Ted,
I’m happy to tell you that I used the TAP kit last night for the first time. Thank you for arranging the special pricing and shipping it to me in a timely manner. I apologize I didn’t get to do my part as quickly. Please keep in mind that I had no experience whatsoever with any vacuum press. I learned a great deal about vacuum pressing on Ghost Note’s Vacuum tutorial by Drum Foundry’s Eric Sooy. I provide Eric with my thoughts about this kit and its application in drum building. I recommended the TAP kit to small scale/ custom builders such as us drum builders. I have yet to hear back from Eric. There were only two things I was concerned about. First, if the small pump could provide enough pressure and second, if the bag would be able to hold it. I’m happy to tell you that the TAP kit delivered as promised! Not only did the small pump provide enough pressure, it may have provided too much of it since it was able to pull Gorilla glue through the 1/42 raw veneer. I’m thinking that a little less would have been enough. The bag held the pressure overnight with no detectable loss. The only problem I had and I’m hesitant to use the word “problem” here, is that it takes forever to extract all the air out of the bag with the small pump. Granted, my custom bag is much bigger than the standard bags you offer with the kit. I solved the problem by using bottom and top plates you see in the attached photos. I also used a small portable shop-vac to suck out as much air as I could after which the small hand pump only needed maybe 50 cycles to reach the high pressure. The sealing tape worked fine and provided an air tight seal during two practice runs and the final run. The 20 mil bag is very stiff so it is hard to get it aligned properly around the drum shell, but even with a few wrinkles in the plastic the veneer didn’t wrinkle. I’m sure the bag will turn a bit softer with more use. There’s no doubt this product will see a lot of use with me. It is very easy to use and inexpensive. As always, there is a learning curve and I probably end up making some modifications to my process in addition to some special tools/aides. I will keep you posted if I come up with a problem. To sum this all up, I think you guys have a winner here. I’m impressed with the quality and the functionality. I’m going to recommend this kit to every custom drum builder I come across. I’m going to Chicago Custom Drum show this weekend and I probably take it with me.
Thanks for a great product!
Miikka A. Eerola
Vibrant Custom Drums
For more information on drum building with a good tutorial, here is a good link.
You will have to join their forum to view.