Drum Builder Interview: Jeremy Wolfe’s 2nd Custom Drum Set

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I recently had time to interview Jeremy Wolfe about his recent experience with building drums. This is the 2nd custom drum set he has built with the help of this site. Check out our conversation and pictures below!

Makedrums: Can you tell us about the drums you’ve built?
Jeremy: This is the second kit I have built. It’s the first using the E-Book. It was actually a rebuild from an older kit. The drums were originally wrapped in a dark red wrap. After using some wood filler and the “wet sanding” tip from the book the shells were then consistently smooth. I also plugged the original lugholes with filler because I was going for an alternate lug layout. Also the toms were cut to custom size. The 9×12 rack tom was cut to 7×12″ and the 16×16″ floor was cut to 12×16″. There was also a 10×13″ rack tom that was cut to 5×13″ which is now the snare drum. Finish is a simple white gloss spray with off centered double pinstripes that gradually get bigger according to shell size. Using the finishing steps in the book the build coat and pinstripe came easily. Top coat is the lacquer suggested in the book also and finally black hoops and hardware were put on to finish.

Makedrums: How long have you been a drummer and how long have you been interested in drum building?
Jeremy: I’ve been playing since middle school band so around the age of 12. That would make it 17 years now.

Makedrums: Where did you first learn that you could build your own custom drum set?
Jeremy: Much like others I was pricing custom drums and found the prices to be too much out of my price range. After ordering new parts to put on older kits I discovered how inexpensive it would be to just build one of my own.

Cutting Bearing Edges

Makedrums: Did you cut your edges? Drill your holes?
Jeremy: I did use the router table build layout in the book to build a table and used it to recut the edges to a 45 to slight round over. I also drilled the lug layout as well as the butt plate and throw for the snare.

Drum Building Obstacles

Makedrums: Whenever you were getting started with drum building, what were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome and what were some of the initial drawbacks to actually getting started to building your own drums?
Jeremy: This has truly been a “trial by fire” process. From sanding too hard, applying a professional finish, topcoats, cutting a good edge, etc… It’s kind of overwhelming and still is. This is only my second kit so there is a lot to learn, but I can say I am more comfortable and confident with taking on a build.

Drum Companies

Makedrums: What are some other drum companies that you have learned from, that you have looked at for inspiration?
Jeremy: I’ve spent some time on your website as well as C&C and SJC Custom Drum companies. It’s funny because I find myself looking at everything to get inspiration for designs and color schemes. Cars, wallpaper, etc.

Makedrums: Where did most of the actual building take place?
Jeremy: I did all of this build in my garage.

Drum Building Tools

Makedrums: Is there any tool that you would recommend to any custom drum builders that are thinking about getting started?
Jeremy: The first thing that comes to mind is simple but I totally overlooked it at first… having adequate space to work. You don’t need a warehouse or airplane hanger or anything like that. Just planning on using a little space would be key. Sounds silly right… not when you have wet shells and nowhere to sit them…. I’m also learning that you want to go ahead and treat yourself to high quality sand paper and lots of it.

Makedrums: Is there anything else that you want to share, maybe a little piece of wisdom or a quick tip for other drum builders?
Jeremy: If you’ve been thinking of building just go ahead and take the leap. I would encourage you working on something that is your own before committing to working on something for someone else. I don’t mean to speak like I’ve been doing this for years but after only building two kits I feel I have learned so much more than I knew about building drums that I can take to my next project. Thanks, Phil, for taking the time to document detailed steps that I can use to peruse a hobby I have always wanted to.

I’m really excited to see what Jeremy comes up with in the future. We’ve been emailing back and forth and I can tell that he has the drum building “bug”.

As always feel free to leave a comment for Jeremy or myself if you have any questions about drum building. We would love to share what we know about the drum making process with you!


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