Specifications of the Barrel

A standard shaped taiko drum has a ratio of the diameter compared to the height of 4:5. Using this relationship, we order barrels with 18 inch diameter and 22.5 inches in height. Typically, the barrels will be cut from larger Burgundy style wine barrels, which provide more bulge at the center than those used for Bordeaux wine. We ask for thicker staves because we carve or dimple the insides to give a more complex sound profile. We have ordered most of our barrels from Ron Young, “The Barrel Man” in American Canyon, California. However, Ron has recently retired and we will update this page with alternate resource information when it is available. Ron gave us some tips on barrels when we filmed our documentary. It is helpful to know that the staves can be moved around if the barrel is not circular. We found that even if it starts out round, it may change before the gluing is complete. This can occur if the staves are out of the rings for any length of time during marking, biscuiting or carving. If the barrel is oblong, usually it will have narrow staves at the pointy end and wide staves along the flatter sides. Moving the staves around would mean taking narrow staves away from the pointy end and putting them on the long side. We have just done that recently and it took a bit of experimentation, but we were able to correct a barrel that was getting out-of-round during gluing.

Next: Flattening the Barrel