Percussion blocks are a simple and easy-to-make addition to any percussion set-up. They can be hand-held or fitted to a clamp and used as part of a rack or drum kit. The basic materials can be obtained for pennies, and the simple design requires little in the way of woodworking skills to build it. All that's necessary is to provide some way of fixing the block to a stand and protect it from wear.
Things You'll Need
- 1/4-Inch Steel Bolt, 4 Inches Long With Corresponding Nut
- Drill With 1/4-Inch Bit
- Sander Or Sandpaper
- Router With 1/4-Inch Bit
- Varnish Or Lacquer
- Piece Of Hardwood, 2 Inches Thick, Approximately 7 By 5 Inches Square
Sand all the edges of the wood block thoroughly, taking care to round off the corners properly. Your choice of wood can make slight differences to the tone of the block, but any hardwood is suitable. When you are striking the block with a stick or beater, it will hit the corners quite often. If your corners are sharply squared, they will likely become dented and damaged. Rounding them off in advance will help prevent this.
Secure the block to a work surface standing on one of its long, narrow sides, so the other is pointing up at the ceiling. Take the router and carve a 1-inch deep groove down the center of the side on the top. This will allow the block to vibrate more freely and create a louder, ringing sound when struck.
Measure in from the sides of the block until you find the center of the groove. Secure the block to your work surface and drill a hole through the base of the groove to the back of the block. Push the bolt through and attach the nut to secure it. Varnish or lacquer the block and allow it to dry. The block is now ready to be used and can be attached to a kit stand using the bolt.
Always wear hand and eye protection when working with power tools.
Matt Gerrard began writing in 2002, initially contributing articles about college student culture to "The Gateway" magazine, many of which were republished on the now-defunct Plinth blog. Since then, Gerrard has worked as a technician for musicians, educators, chemists and engineers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in music technology from DeMontfort University.