Elemental Design

Whale Drums

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Whale drums have become one of my most popular instruments for outdoor and indoor play. The tone is deep, rich and very resonant. Even on cement or turf, you can feel the vibration run up through your body.
Most of my Heavy Duty Whales are made from recycled propane tanks of various sizes and condition. Some tanks may be slightly pockmarked scratched or dinged under the paint; this all adds to the texture when finished.

For the finish, I can either paint the Whales with one or two tones of Enamel paint; or I can send them out to be powder-coated. The powder coating is a single color, baked on glossy finish which is much more durable than the enamel. If desired, I can paint an enamel accent color over the powder-coating.

Soooo.... Without further ado, here are some of the various options. The basic design is very expandable, so let me know if you have your own ideas on a custom design...:


Heavy Duty Whale Drums:

These are made for moderate to heavy use. Excellent for children's or science museums, private playgrounds, day care centers, preschools, etc. (For public accessible playgrounds or parks, I recommend the Super heavy duty version).
They are made from 120 gallon (30") and 60 gallon (24") upright propane tanks (endearingly called "pigs" and "piglets" by many in the propane business). I flood the tanks with water to remove any residual propane and odor, letting them "soak" for a couple of weeks. I then cut the tanks in half, and proceed to tune up the drum.

Here are some of the various options for the Heavy Duty Whale Drums:

30" Heavy Duty Whale drums:

30" across, and 24" high with 10 pentatonically tuned keys.

Enamel Finish
Finished with one color of enamel paint with a wide possibility of color choice. $540
Add accent color for an extra $75



Powder-coated finish

A single color of a baked on powder finish.
This is much more durable a finish than the enamel above.
See various drums on this page for an idea of available colors. $640

Powder finish with attached mallets

I only recommend attaching mallets if you need to, as they make playing slightly more awkward for younger musicians.

The version to the has left mallets attached by coated steel cable to the white "cars", which slide along the pipe . This adds $250 to the price above.

The version to the lower right has mallets attached via short coated cable in four places on the drum,
adding a cost of $50. (I usually recommend this version of attaching the mallets




24" Heavy Duty Whale drums

Powdered version of 24" shown next to 30" for comparison

These are 24" across and 18" high with 8 pentatonicaly tuned notes. These are slightly lighter weight steel than the 30". Recommended where they'll primarily be played by younger children.

Enamel paint (one color): $420
Powder-coat finish (one color): $510
Accent color: add $75 . Attached mallets: add $50




Super Heavy Duty Whale Drums:

Made from old 350 - 1000 gallon steel "hot dog" style bulk propane tanks. Metal is 1/4"- 3/8" thick, with the bigger versions being the stoutest. These are for extra heavy use as in public playgrounds or very busy children's museums. Width varies between 30" - 42". Some have round tops , others have flatter tops. Availability depends on my being able to get a hold of the tanks. These ship via truck freight.

30" SHD Whale Drum with powder-coat finish (similar look to 30"Whales above, but thicker steel, 10 notes)- $900

36"-42" SHD Whale drum with Powder-coat finish - $1240

4 Attached mallets on sliders (shown below, left), add $250
4 Attached mallets on short cable, add $50
Accent color: add $75



SHD Whale Drum, powder-coated
with enamel accent

adds $75 to cost.




All Whale drums come with a pair of mallets (attached versions come with four mallets).
For indoor use, I use a very soft natural gum rubber ball on the end of a poly carbonate rod.
For outside use, the balls are a soft Neoprene.

Extra mallets can be ordered for $15 / pr., or $25/pr. with cable.

Questions, or like to order: simply email or call me at (207) 785-2212


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Jim Doble
Elemental Design
PO Box 565
Union, Maine 04862