Spokeshaves and Rasps: discovering great hand tools

  • 25 Apr 2019 2:30 AM
    Message # 7302935

    In the attached image, I'm presenting a ceremonial drum shell to Ed, a tribal elder in the Oglala Sioux tribe on the Pine Ridge, South Dakota reservation. Ed will attach elk or buffalo hides top and bottom to make the shell into a complete drum. Ed is the gentleman without a moustache.

    Without Rob's teaching (I was privileged to be a member of the April, 2017 class as a wounded combat Veteran), the drum shell would have been sterile and without life since I would have used only power tools.

    I promised Ed that hand tools would be used for as much of the production as possible--to honor the spirit of the cedar, a healing wood in the Sioux tradition. Using a spokeshave and several rasps, the drum shell is round (a stave construction with 24 staves cut to produce an outside diameter of 24 inches), smooth, and with virtually invisible joints--truly hand-made.

    Finishing off the drum shell with Waterlox brought the aromatic red cedar to a gorgeous color with depth and character.

    The drum will be surrounded by seven men, including Ed (he establishes the tempo and cadence, and the others play in unison). Their sticks will have a padded end to produce the proper timbre. It will be used for traditional Sioux ceremonies, and it will generally be the only drum played during those times.

    It was an honor to be asked to craft this drum shell, and building it brought peace to me as the tools shaped the wood--in harmony with Rob's vision of giving us wounded Veterans a life skill and a renewed sense of self worth. Thanks, Rob!

    Bill (Doc) Bailey, 3/1 and 2/6 in 1967 and 1968

    P.S. There must be a command to rotate this image, but I've not found it. Frick? Jake? Please rotate, and let me know how, OK?

    Last modified: 22 May 2019 9:32 PM | Emerson (Bill)
  • 26 Apr 2019 12:25 AM
    Reply # 7304710 on 7302935

    Beautiful work Doc. A legacy that will last for decades. 

  • 26 Apr 2019 1:49 AM
    Reply # 7304732 on 7302935

    Wow! Thanks for the high praise. Could NOT have done it without Rob and family. What are you working on?

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