Advice on box glue up

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Need some advice on gluing up a box. This is a standard box about 6" x 11" solid wood with rabbit joints on corners (for appearance). Bottom is 1/4" ply glued to the box body, no problem yet. The top is 11/16" hard maple with tongues cut in it to make a drum head. I need to fasten the top to the body in such a way that there is no vibration in the top except in the tongues. Gluing all four of the top to the box body works fine except that I get wood movement that cracks the top and ruins the drum. Any Ideas on how to attach the top in such away as to allow the wood movment but hold the drum top to the box. The maple is kiln dried, and seems stable in about 65% of the drums the rest get cracks. Finish is poly on the inside of the box and drum head (sprayed on) outside is oil. tried poly on outside no difference in cracking and liked oil better. Any advice would be helpful.
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Mon, Jan 22, 2007, 10:24pm (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (sweet sawdust) doth mumble: <snip> Any advice would be helpful. I read it, but I musta missed the type of glue you used. .
JOAT Bugrit. Millennium hand AND shrimp.
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Glue is tight bond II
(sweet sawdust) doth mumble: <snip> Any advice would be helpful. I read it, but I musta missed the type of glue you used. .
JOAT Bugrit. Millennium hand AND shrimp.
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Hard (for me) to follow description completly but it seems like maybe treat the top like a panel in a fram where you would cut a rabbit on all 4 sides of the top and have them fit in a slot. Maybe even use the rubber balls they sell to take up the slop in the slots.
sweet sawdust wrote:

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Tried putting one in a dado cut and it was a no go, top needs to be flush. Tried the rabbit joint had bad results, slots for tongues would squeeze to the point the tongues wouldn't vibrate on wood expansion or the crack would occur on shrinkage.

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sweet sawdust wrote:

I made 2 of these for last Christmas:
http://jtpryan.smugmug.com/gallery/1080675/1/50212914
I used Paduk for the top's. How much are you taking off at the hinge? Is this where the cracks occur? What are you using for mallet's? I use superballs. Anyway, I just glued mine on with yellow glue and a ton of clamps. Been over a year without a problem. My sides are miter joints with horizontal splines, I have no bottom as I liked the sound better without one.
-Jim
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Very Very Nice!!! No Hinge, top just glued straight to the box. Crack occurs at one of the end cuts for the tongues. Most of the time the cracks occur when I take them to outside shows where the temp/humidity changes are severe over a short period of time. Have had the same problem with other box type items, but not to the extreme (maybe one out of a hundred). Mine look similar to yours, not anywhere near as fancy, but are toys for children, cost is a strong concern. That's why maple instead of Paduk or other wood. For the mallets I use superballs also. I find that the superballs have a tendency to crumble after being drilled and used a lot so I coat them with "dip It". Before coating I was having about a 70% failure in the sticks after a month of use. After coating I am down to a 1% failure after one year of use. and that is by kids banging the daylights out of them.

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sweet sawdust wrote:

Thank you for the compliment. Actually, by hinge I was referring to where the tongue attaches to the rest of the top. I would get the tone by chiseling away at the bottom of that point. If you go too deep it will crack. But everything I read said to go with a mahogany type wood. In fact when I did a Google for "tongue drum" I found most of the results had Paduk for a top, so I went with that. The sides of one are birds eye the other curly maple. But I understand what you mean about cost. If the children are young I don't think I would use expensive wood. My boys are both in college, so they are (a bit) more gentle. The drums were quite a hit in the dorm and are cool when you stick a mic in them.
If cost is a concern, the kids might have fun with the Cajone's that are also on that page. Easy to make, and not expensive using birch ply. I have plans if you would like them. They also have a nice sound, but could drive you crazy if you get a bunch of kids beating on them. Give some to the brother in law's kids...;+}
-Jim
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I would love to have the cojones pattern if it is avaible for commercial sales.

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If you send me mail I'll respond with the plans. They were publicly posted on a web site by somebody that made them, so there is no charge. You can email me: ryan at jimryan dot com.

message
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On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:07:16 -0600, "sweet sawdust"

Just a thought, but it seems to me that orienting the ends with the grain running top to bottom rather than side to side would go a long way toward addressing the problem you are describing. The ends wouldn't be as strong that way but I find myself wondering just how strong they really need to be in this application..

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That may be the answer, change grain direction. Strength is not an issue, the joint I use now is end grain to end grain and is more then ample. Your joint would be a step up in strength.

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jtpr wrote:

Hey Jim, what did you use for the hinge on the travel log? Is that leather? I'm working on a family scrapbook design for my wife's family and that looks like a pretty nice job. Looks like it's about 3/8 thick at the front and 1/4 at the back. VERY nice looking binder.
Dan
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Dan,
I can't take full credit for that. My son designed it and made the bulk of it with me offering help. It was a gift for his girlfriend who was going away to do a semester in India. That is a map of India on the front he cut on the band saw out of purple heart. Yes, the binding is leather he bought at a local leather/shoe store. He bought nice writing paper at a stationary store and had it bound at Kinko's with black cardboard front and back, then glued that to the wood.
-Jim
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sweet sawdust wrote:

Firstly make sure that the timber is dry and stable, with all parts already at equilibrium humidity with where they're going to be stored afterwards. The less it has to move, the less trouble it will cause.
Just glued butt joints should do you, but bring the ends of the tongues near to the ends so that there's less width of "contracting" timber. The limiting length of the shrinkage is the same, but there's less force involved and so the limited elasticity of the glue / timber is enough to cope. Obviously the tongues themselves aren't a problem because the slots absorb any movement.
Mine are glued up with Titebond II and have dovetailed corners, just for looks. Top's a simple butt though. (and yes, superballs on sticks)
If you have old FWW copies, or their "Thinsg to Make" reprint book or even if you search this ng for an old post of mine, you can find more details http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.woodworking/msg/4d8c5cff8627cc08
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sweet sawdust wrote:

Seems to me the plywood is part of the problem, assuming the grain in the sides is horizontal. Make the bottom of the same wood as the top and glue it the same way. Finish with shellac inside and out to minimize moisture changes.
The ultimate solution would be to make the ends floating panels. Think of the tongues as being on the side of a tall skinny box :-).
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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Plywood is not an issue here since I have had the same results with solid wood, the ply makes a better sounding board then the solid wood, for less cost. Wood in sides is solid 3/4 stock either poplar or oak with the grain running horizintal. Don't know how to float the the the end panels and come up with a solid box, that is one of the delimas I am having. Maybe making the end boards of the box with a vertical grain would allow both to move in much the same way and reduce stress?? any thoughts on this?..
sweet sawdust wrote:

Seems to me the plywood is part of the problem, assuming the grain in the sides is horizontal. Make the bottom of the same wood as the top and glue it the same way. Finish with shellac inside and out to minimize moisture changes.
The ultimate solution would be to make the ends floating panels. Think of the tongues as being on the side of a tall skinny box :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down



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Curran Copeland wrote:

Making the ends vertical would just move the stress to the end/side joints.
How about making the whole thing of plywood? Veneered if you want to get fancy.
There must be a solution to your problem, there's a lot of tongue drums out there :-). -- It's turtles, all the way down
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There a lot of answers to the problem and plywood may be one.
Curran Copeland wrote:

Making the ends vertical would just move the stress to the end/side joints.
How about making the whole thing of plywood? Veneered if you want to get fancy.
There must be a solution to your problem, there's a lot of tongue drums out there :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down



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I hope I haven't misrepresented my item here, I am making it to sell as a toy. It is not tuned just a noise maker. The cost factor is an issue because I sell them and would like to make as much profit as I can. In the past 2 years I have made several hundred of the drums. I am always trying to improve quality, lower cost and increase profit (not always easy). This not an art object just a kids toy that goes with the other kids toys I make and sell. I am always looking for new toys to make especially ones with a historical connection. I try to make a version that is cheap enough to let kids buy them and durable enough for them to give to their kids. While it is not my intention when making a toy I do wind up giving a few away at craft shows, Kids know a sucker when they see one.

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