Ivan Pelíšek founded PELLWOOD in 1990. However, I have been involved in producing drumsticks ever since 1969 when I was 15 years old.
I was lucky that professor Krčma, the percussionist of the Prague Symphony Orchestra,
lived in the same house as my family. Very soon he became my first teacher in playing
drums. At the same time, I started my apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker, and he asked me
to extend his favorite drums sticks for him. They were made of ebony and he had been
using them for 10 years! I did my best and then I thought: why not make a pair of
drumsticks for myself?
Communist Czechoslovakia had only two models of drumsticks on the market, and of poor quality. On our veranda, I used an old washing machine engine to construct my own lathe,
the other parts were made of wood. I had never seen a real lathe before but I somehow
made it work.
A year passed, and my mother's English friends sent me a Black & Decker electric drill
combined with a lathe and a small disc saw. That was a beauty! In the workshop where I
was doing my apprenticeship, I discovered some hornbeam logs that were meant to be
burnt in the stove. So, here and there, I would pinch piece hornbeam, and I even got hold of some ebony or jacaranda we used for the parquetry in the Prague Castle. And of this material, I made drumsticks for myself and the other guys that were taking lessons from my teacher.
I used shellac varnish for surfacing and, because I used a manual lathe, I had to make check measurements all the time, and it took half an hour to produce one single drumstick.
My first large commission was by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. They gave me some redwood that was extremely heavy and they even didn't know what it was. I made drumsticks according to the samples they gave me, and they paid me well!
All this changed after the Czech Velvet Revolution of 1989. I immediately started my own company, PELLWOOD, and launched professional production of 15 types hornbeam drumsticks. At present, PELLWOOD uses 2 sorts of wood to produce 33 types of drumsticks and brushes. My products are exported to 29 countries.