percussion park

December: Sanding metal and a bass marimba by Ben Sloan

Quite a bit of instrument making momentum generated throughout December. Anna Petersen has joined the process equipped with welding skills, knowledge, and gear. The collection of tanks, metal cuffs, and gears were sandblasted to remove rust. The tanks have been cut and turned into metal tongue drums, with tongues at varying lengths, tuned to specific pitches. The sound is a collection of harmonic sustained notes, both meditative and playful. We have a collection of four medium and small tanks, plus a large bronze tank which will be powder coated in the coming months. 

In the last two weeks of the month, I made my way back to Virginia to finish up the frame and keys for the bass marimba. This time around we manufactured a collection of aluminum brackets to house each key. The brackets were cut from a piece of aluminum angle, drilled, rounded, and polished. We milled some pieces of oak for our frame, sanded, added a mortise and tenon joint at each end, and created a nice beveled edge detail. We applied a few finish coats, with a sand in between, and the end result is a beautiful hand crafted bass marimba..that still needs legs and resonators! (coming soon)

Photos of tanks can be found here, and the marimba here

November: Laying the foundation by Ben Sloan


After many phone calls, ample head scratching, and understanding a 4" slump, the plan to pour concrete was in place. Under the guidance of Mike Moore (Creative Remodeling), and help from Ziyad Tooles, Matt Kotlarczyk, plus a crew of neighborhood kids, we knocked out. The whole process took about a week, squeezing steps in between teaching. The first task was to do a bit more digging of the foundation, just enough to create an even site for the pour. We followed that with the construction of a 12' x 12' frame, with rounded corners using luan. The gravel was delivered, shoveled into the frame, and tamped down. Just before the concrete arrived, we wet the ground to give us more time before the concrete cured. Lots of floating and troweling later, the slab was complete. For those interested in seeing the process, you can check out this time-lapse video.