Heavy Stick

There are two tupan sticks: a heavy stick or mallet and a light stick, or switch. My standard heavy sticks, like the one shown here, are made from Eastern Hard Maple (same material they make normal drum sticks from) and are 14" long. They are finished with 3 coats of clear satin varnish so they will not slip out of your hand when you sweat. The handle can be fit to your hand size if you wish. Just tell me what size gardening glove you wear (S, M, L, XL) and I'll shape it accordingly.

Light sticks are easily made from 1/8" hardwood dowels that you can get at any hardware or woodworking store. Maple or birch are best. Look for straight grain (the grain lines are parallel to the long dimension of the dowel). If you make them from grain that goes at an angle they'll likely break fairly quickly. Cut them whatever length you like (16" is a good place to start). Put a couple wraps of adhesive tape or a rubber band around one end, so they won't fall out of your hand if it relaxes a bit (see the picture below) and you're set. If you happen to have a belt sander handy, tapering the tip a bit makes for a cleaner sound. Just make sure you don't make the point sharp, since that light head you are hitting is easy to tear. Final suggestion: always take at least 2 with you into a playing situation (weave one into the ropes on the top of your drum). That way neither of them will break.

Light Sticks

If you need a stick you cannot break no matter how hard you whack (brass band music for example) you need a fiberglass stick. You can get them at kite shops, but they come in 6' lengths and are a bit difficult to cut and smooth (hint: abrasive cut off wheel and 400 grit Silicon Carbide paper). I have 1/8" and 3/32" sticks on hand, as shown here, and heavier if you need them. Whether they are white or black depends on what the local kite shop happens to have when I go in. Because they are a bit stiffer than wood, the 3/32" is a good substitution for an 1/8" wood stick. The 1/8" is for really whacking out a beat when surrounded by loud instruments (zurnas or trubas come to mind).

If you want an even stiffer stick, I also have 2.5 and 3 mm carbon fiber rods. These make a crack like a rifle shot on the light head. They are also lighter than the fiberglass sticks. If you can't be heard with this, things are too loud.