On the road home from the Australian Ultimate Drummers weekend in Melbourne in late August, Beau Jorgensen was eager to return to Brisbane where his future pathway looked full of opportunity.
Beau Jorgensen had decided to combine his love of drums and knowledge of woodwork to create Haldane Drums, carefully handcrafting single ply steam bent drums using the finest native Australian hardwoods. Growing up with a dad who built nearly every piece of furniture in the family home, Beau learnt a thing or two about woodwork. “I grew up on a property near Yatala with a workshop where my dad ran his business. I spent a lot of time as a kid hanging out in the workshop, just making stuff and checking out what he was doing.”
An avid drummer for 15 years, Beau studied drums at Brisbane’s Jazz Music Institute, playing gigs around the 4101, including at West End’s Lock’n’Load. After graduating, it took some thinking before Beau decided what he was going to do. “I was trying to decide whether I wanted to get into teaching drums and trying to gig on the side. I also knew that I could make use of the machinery that my dad had at the workshop.” Beau decided to have a shot at drum making and after his dad offered him a space in his workshop, he got to work.
Steam bending is a rare method of drum making, one that less than 10 businesses in the world offer, with Beau being the only Australian so far, he says. “It is a process where you take a solid board of timber and put it into a steam chamber which softens the wood and allows it to be bent. Once it cools down and dries out, it stays bent.” While his dad is experienced with wood, he has no experience with steam bending, so this was a technique Beau had to learn from scratch. “It involved finding little snippets of information online, but I’d say 80 per cent of it was going through multiple iterations of designs and screwing it up, you know, breaking a lot of timber,” Beau laughed.
A man who is constantly evolving, Beau still owns the very first drum he ever made. “I don’t really use it; it wasn’t the best drum. There’s a very clear difference between the quality of those and the ones that I’m making now.” From beginning to end, a complete drum takes up to four weeks to create, however Beau can work on multiple drums in that time. “While it does take a long time for each drum, that’s not to say that it is four weeks of constant work. There’s a lot of waiting for wood to set and glue to dry.”
While it is still early days for Beau and Haldane Drums, the future is looking bright for the beat-loving entrepreneur. “A customer of mine just ordered a drum kit, so that will be the first fully steam bent drum kit to be made in Australia.”
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