Behind the Mask: Grady Kenevan from Franklin Drums

Grady Kenevan stands next to gold drumset.

Q: Tell us about your business.

A: Franklin Drums is made-to-order, custom drum sets. We launched the Franklin Drum brand in October of 2020.

Q: How did you start making drums?

A: I was a drummer and played a lot in bands. I saw a lot of them playing a certain drum brand which ended up being in St. Paul, MN, so I got to go hang out with them. They taught me the craft and from there is snowballed into more. I’ve been making drums for 17 years.

Kenevan sanding drum trim by hand

Q: What do you love about working with your hands?

A: I love the process. There’s so many little things that go into making every single drum – each one is a little different. What I love the most is making something I believe in and then sending it to someone who really loves the way their drum sounds.

Kenevan cutting material with a box cutter

Q: How long does it take to make a full drum set?

A: It takes about 4-5 hours for each set.

Q: What are your goals?

A: To grow the business, grow production, hire a few employees and pass along what I know to them. My main goal is to always make products that I really believe in.

Various tools on table with RZ dust mask centered

Q: Top 5 Tools?
A: The tabletop router that I cut all our baring edges on. A drill press, saw table, and my hands. I'm not a huge tool guy!


Grady Kenevan sands wearing a grey RZ Mask M2.5 with safety glasses.

Q: What’s the dustiest part of your work that calls for a mask?

A: Honestly, I wear a mask all day. Sanding, baring edges, and painting.

Q: What’s most important to you in a mask that you wear?

A: I want to forget that I’m wearing it. Comfort is the main thing I am looking for. The RZ® M2.5 mask feels really durable and comfortable. I feel more professional wearing it and I really like the dual straps. Makes me feel like I’m not really wearing a mask. I also love the inside filter – it feels really isolated and protective.

Kenevan pulling blue painter's tape from drum trim

Q: What’s your daily mantra?

A: Work hard, play hard is something that really resonates with me. I enjoy traveling, doing things with my family and kids, but I also feel a heavy responsibility to work hard. It’s about balance.

Q: Has there been a most memorable project?

A: There isn’t one specific one that stands out. After spending five hours with every drum set, you love it because of what you made for someone. It could be their drum set forever.

Close up of logo shaped like a rose on the drum head.

Q: Spotlight Moment?

A: We made a drum set for Dua Lipa, so technically Franklin Drums made it onto the set of Saturday Night Live! Catch a glimpse of the Franklin Drums on set during that performance!

Click here to learn more about Franklin Drums!

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