About the Oregon Drum Myrtlewood Series (Solid Models)

Myrtlewood Series Drum - 3x12 Solid Shell w/ VTHC Lugs

Due to a series of circumstances beyond our control, the run of Myrtlewood Series Solid models has come to an end. Please see the News/Events section of our site for more information.

How is the construction of our Myrtlewood Solid Shell Drum unique?

Myrtle trees must be cut between November and March when the sap is not flowing. Once the myrtle log is brought into the sawmill it is cut into rounds. Each 'wet' round is then roughed to the shape of the finished shell leaving 1-inch thick walls. This speeds up the drying process and helps to prevent checking and warping. Temperature and humidity are carefully controlled for many months in a dry kiln. All shells are brought slowly down to a low moisture content. Even with these preventative measures, a number of the pieces will be lost in this process.

After the wood is dry it is prepared so that it will fit flush with the equipment that is used to turn it into a shell. This is done with a proprietary process that takes over an hour per shell. The shell then goes to the sander where it is painstakingly taken through a series of grades. Finally, the shell is brought down to it's finished height.

Picture of raw shell

The shell spends several hours in the hands of a musician with the tools and skills necessary to turn the solid wood shell into a beautifully crafted percussion instrument. Each shell is carefully analyzed and sorted for tonal character. (Those that are found unsuitable for the Myrtlewood Series are built into experimental models that are sold on our Wood Pile.) Bearing edges are precision cut on a specialized router. Many passes are made with incremental progression to slowly create each edge. This ensures that the wood will not suffer hidden fractures that result from taking too much material at once. Final passes alternate with time on a leveling table. These passes are so incremental that the blade does more sanding than cutting at this stage. The finished depth of each shell may vary slightly from others in the series as we will often make additional passes to bring out an emerging grain pattern that we feel should be a highlight in the drum. The edges are then detailed and finish-sanded by hand before the shell is taken through the first stages of our unique satin finish process. After sealing coats are applied and sanded, optimal snare bed placement is located and cut with a combination of tools. The snare bed is then detail sanded by hand before proceeding.

Bearing edge and initial finish Close-up of initial finish Close-up of bearing edge

Hardware mounting points are determined individually for each shell and precision drilled with a press. Once the hardware is given a test fitment, it is removed so that the outside of the shell can receive final hand sanding and finishing steps. Once this finish has cured, the drum is polished, waxed and re-assembled.

Hardware Close-up - VTHC Lugs Myrtlewood Case Badge Close-up - Oregon Drum Trademark

Once the drum is assembled it is subject to a final inspection. The finished drum is placed in a high quality, padded case, carefully packaged and shipped to it's new owner. Our solid shell snare drums are assembled when ordered and are available in extremely limited quantities. As our flagship, the solid shell drums are available only with the combination of hardware pictured for the given model & year. We utilize the highest quality hardware in our drums. We’ve chosen 2.3mm triple-flanged 8-hole batter and snare hoops to provide strength and tonal focus. For resonance enhancement, we use the less common 8-lug configuration for our solid shelled drums. Low-mass lugs are utilized to provide minimal contact with the shell, allowing it to resonate freely. Free floating models eliminate ALL hardware penetration and attachment from the shell.

Resonance of the shell is meaningless without the proper approach to hardware isolation. We take this concept to the extreme by replacing the standard washers with neoprene bonded versions and longer machine screws necessary for a drum shell of such thickness. Our lugs are isolated from the shell as well in a similar manner.

Starting with the 2005 model year, Oregon Drum has incorporated it's own unique lug design into a number of it's Myrtlewood Series models. This lug features a body designed, manufactured and finished right here in Coos Bay, with the insert components sourced from and plated by other US companies. This ambitious move is but one of the steps we've taken to keep our business at home, doing everything we can to support the local economy. High grade materials and alloys coupled with stainless assembly hardware ensure the highest quality. While an expensive route, it's one we decided to take in order to incorporate features deemed crucial to a premium drum.

Oregon Drum VTHC lug

Among our new lug's features is the VTHC™ (Vertically True / Horizontally Compensating) system that assures a smooth tension rod alignment from top to bottom hoop regardless of the minor variances in shell diameter and/or hoop tolerances. This allows for a single-point or tube lug design that maintains proper tension rod alignment on both horizontal and vertical planes. Additional lug strength is assured by the use of stainless machine screws larger than those of a typical lug in combination with our traditional isolation methods.

On drums that aren't slot-vented, the vent (breather) hole is actually placed behind our 'Oregon Drum' badge. The stand-offs incorporated into the badge mount allow tunable, diffused venting without the need to disturb another panel of the drum. This unique vented Diffuser Badge™ has become a distinguishing trademark of Oregon Drum.

Vented Badge Close-up - Oregon Drum Trademark

"While many heirloom quality items are crafted from Myrtlewood each year in small shops throughout Oregon, never before have the acoustic qualities of this unique wood been brought together in such a remarkable balance with the aesthetic properties that have been enjoyed for generations. Crafted in the heart of Oregon’s Myrtlewood country, assembled by a native of the same, each solid Myrtlewood snare drum is both a treasure to behold and a privilege to play. While a drummer might at first be hesitant to touch, let alone strike something that is the result of such a laborious effort, the unique and powerful sound that has been trapped for well over a century invites you to do so."