Building a Pan

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So you want to build a pan...

For the first 10 years of my pan building career, I worked almost entirely alone. In South Africa in the 1980's there was no contact with other pan makers, and what little literature I could find was in the form of jackets on 33 RPM LP's. There was no internet. South Africa and its Apartheid policies meant that no-one was too interested in talking to me.

Without doubt, a major influence in my early pan days was Andrew Tracey, who ran the only steelband in South Africa back then. Andrew encouraged me endlessly as I brought pan after pan to him to show off my latest creations. He was instrumental in getting me to Trinidad and Tobago in 1993, and I will be eternally grateful of his support.

My pilgrimage to Trinidad and Tobago lasted 6 months. I was able to absorb a huge amount of information from some more very generous people, chiefly Lennox "Darkie" Lewis, and Keith "Moon" St Louis. Knowledge was freely shared with me, despite the efforts of some panmakers to discourage this from happening.

These days I'm increasingly being contacted for advice by pan builders, both novice and experienced. These pages are an attempt to share what I do and what I know. They're not complete, and will be a continual work in progress. The information, templates, and software here are free for you to use. Please do the right thing and acknowledge where it came from if you use it, and pay it forward when people ask you about your techniques and knowledge.

If you have a question or comment, please contact me! I'd love to hear from you. I communicate with pan makers from all over the world on a regular basis. For the most part, questions and comments will result in updates to these pages.

Thanks for your interest! Happy Hammering!


PS - A word to Hang and Hand Pan Players/Builders

If you have a question about these, I'm not likely to be able to help you. I have very little interest in and virtually no experience with these instruments. They're cool, but my niche is the higher end of the steelpan world, and I simply don't have the time to get involved with them. As of June 2014 my waitlist on instruments is running around 18-24 months and I don't need another distraction :-)

You may find that Dave Beery, of Dave's Island Instruments, can assist with queries about Hand Pans. He sells them too!



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