Sitting down, cutting up pieces of veneer and bonding them together in patterns for me is a nice wind down to the end of the day. For this featured shell I have used Zebrano and Maple to form the outer ply, pieces are cut to 40 degrees and then layered and bonded together individually to make the outer ply of this shell.
Now that we have glued and bonded the pieces together (which looks a mess) there is another process that we have to go through in order to make this into a ply that we can form (and to avoid air bubbles between the outer ply and then main shell). All of our exotic outer plys are part of the shells construction and not wrapped onto a ready made shell.
Making The Ply Stronger
Now I have cut a piece of Maple to the size of the outer ply (the outer ply is running in a vertical grain so my Maple ply is running horizontal). The outer is then bonded to the Maple with a special glue to form a ply that is now 1.2mm thick.
This alternating grain process is what we use in making our Maple, Mahogany, Oak, Walnut and other wood shells.
Final Process in making this ply
Now that the ply is bonded to the Maple with our glue we have one last process for this ply before we can form this into a drum shell. The 2 plys that are bonded together are then put into our heat press for 15 minutes to insure a tight, secure bond between the 2 plys. This is the same pressing method that we use for all our book matched and cross matched veneers, including making up our standard ply shells so this is the actual press that makes our workable ply sheets to form our drums (the first process really of making your drum).
when the ply is removed from the heat press it is then kept for minimum of 8 hours in a humidity and temperature controlled room to make flexible for forming the shells without the need for steam.