• Sylvan Temple Instruments Drum Photo 1
  • Sylvan Temple Instruments Drum Photo 2
  • Sylvan Temple Instruments Drum Photo 3
  • Sylvan Temple Instruments Drum Photo 4

Forest born, Forest held

These drums come from the beautiful forests of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada and are hand crafted in honour of all forests.
To those who hold forest,
we salute you.

The Drums

The drums pictured on this site are made in an artistic context,
each one unique as the tree it came from.

Robin Shackleton is a drum maker who lives in Errington on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Since 1996 he has been making some of the world’s fantastic kinds of drums with Canadian materials, through a process wherein the forest is teacher and master.

“I build with a tree’s life journey in my hands and this is a privilege to uncover. The lifestyle of trees is beautiful! Because I salvage, my drums exist not at the expense of the tree, but are a celebration of it’s life. Trees are gracious and their blessing is important.”

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Our Mission

To inspire people to keep forest.
The forest is part of our ancient family and its presence heals many things. May we be honoured to have the forest live amoung us. May the city adopt the forest’s ways and may technology respect the authority of nature. Let us ride into the future with forest amoung us, nature within us.

For drum repairs, custom drums, drumming workshops and events, or a peaceful walk in the forest

Contact Us

The drum making process

Sylvan Temple makes about 12 kinds of drum from trees which have been left behind by logging or felled for a variety of reasons by home owners.
Darbuka/Doumbek and Djembe drums begin as a section of tree and go on the lathe to become a shell which is seasoned for stability. After seasoning when the shell is needed, it goes back on the lathe to be finish-turned. Darbuka/Doumbek have a round, wide tuning ring which is laminated from steam-bent wood and then tailor-lathed for its shell prior to any drilling operations. For Djembes, metal rings are fabricated in-house and knotted and laced to the shell, holding the skin between them.
A Cajon typically starts as one long wide board, specially milled from a carefully salvaged log.
Frame drums like Bodhrans, Tars and Bendirs also begin as a salvaged tree, specially milled into boards which are steam-bent, laminated and lathed before drilling operations and detailing.
Kanjiras and Solid-shell Bodhrans are also lathed from tree sections, seasoned, finish-turned, drilled and detailed.
Don’t forget the playing! Playing the new drums is important: the drum maker must work with them until they sing.
An assortment of small percussion instruments, such as rattles, tippers, mini drums, and bones are made from what the drum left behind.

Some of Vancouver Island’s beautiful trees which Sylvan Temple gratefully salvages are: Maple, Red Alder, Garry Oak, Yew, Red Cedar, Cypress, Pine, Arbutus, Coastal Douglas Fir, Rural Black Locust…and many surprises. Like forests, I use what the immediate environment created and outsource particulars locally. Producing through a partnership with your environment reduces pollution: we all should exist amid the consequences of our activities and create production structures which can evolve to balance them, as trees are made of and limited by the ecology of their forest. Prosperity then is bound to our immediate environment and if diversity, not growth, is the prime goal, there can be balance instead of decline. Everything is part of the system’s process so all aspects provide continuity.

“I try to make talismans which last a long time.”

Live well, my forest family, Earth and all.

~ Robin Shackleton

Trees are above me,
the soil and roots beneath me.
Here, I am at peace.

Drum Maker
Robin Shackleton

Earth’s Forest — Heal us, you do.
“Ancient Wild World…stay vibrant!”
We need your secrets:
You have the key to harmony.

Contact Robin