custom drum stick prototype: the “meat-hammer”



For the past 10 years, I’ve favored slender drumsticks, usually 7A or other “jazz” sticks, as they give me a balance of speed and grip for my small(er) hand.

However,being in a VERY LOUD metal band requires more wood.

I’ve had the opportunity to tinker in the woodshop, so I cross-bread some features of a “ballistic” heavy stick onto a more agile “jazz stick” profile.


For general purpose and speed playing, the (usually Vic Firth) 7A drum sticks I use feature:

  • lightweight (North American hickory) 14.75”-long 0.5” dowel.
  • acorn style tip
  • long taper from full-thickness to the neck of the tip
Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 8.47.23 PM.png
Vic Firth’s “7A” stick


However, for WormRider, I’ve started using Regal Tip Quantum 1000s (their lightest duty marching-band stick), which has

  • stiffer (lacquered hickory) 15.5”-long 0.55″-diameter dowel
  • almost NO taper
  • oversized round ball tip
Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 8.46.13 PM.png
Regal Tip’s “Q1000” stick.


So, I brought one of each to the campus woodshop and taught myself how to cut drumsticks on the lathe.

I wanted to be able to carve slow, and work gradually as I learned, so to start with, I chose the stiffest lightweight wood I could find.

I chose a block of Thai ebony wood, cut into half-inch square lenghts, then corner cut into octagonal dowels.

shop - dowels.jpg
Of the 4 dowels I cut, only 2 made it through lathing into “drumsticks”, and the other two had to be spent to learn to lathe tips gently.


These were then cut (slowly) into smooth round as I approach the desired


lathe sand
Almost HALF the time spent was sanding. The smell was incredible.

Having no capacity to make or attach nylon tips, I had to improvise and cut a wood-tip.

lathe - tip.jpg
cutting a wood tip free-hand (with no guide) is a game of chicken, as you wish to define the details as thin as they’ll go, but you need to maintain structural stability on the lathe.


I experimented with several test dowels until I found a way to cut the acorn-shape of the jazz stick at the size of the heavier Q1000.

lathe - tips.jpg


Behold, the “Meat Hammer” :

hybrid - up.jpg
Apparently, I was so excited, I forgot to take a non-blurry picture.


comparison - tips.jpg
lengths and tips
hybrid - lengths.jpg
profile and taper



If I continue experimenting, I’ll hope to explore some novel feature of the more exotic sticks I’ve used:

hornet 58.jpg
the Hornet stick has a sexy waistline for gripping, and rubber rings held in notches of the oversized butt which allow for mallet-soft cymbal-wash
the “Rhythm Saw” by Johnny Rabb sticks has aggressive ribbing to scrape across drums, cymbals, or each other for “extended techniques”… I’d be curious to explore smaller ribbing.

Questions ? comment below !

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