BalkanPan started as an idea around 2011. Effective work started in 2012 after long period of reading and acquiring the tools necessary for the project. Interest was first directed to steelpan making as a basic for developing handpan. In small workshop in Cerknica, Slovenia, the oil barrels started to flow in. As there were just a dozen good handpan makers in the world at that time, it was a rather challenging task to complete any of the jobs needed for to obtain skills in fields of metallurgy, working with steel and in music theory and art of tuning. Very big plus for learning was knowledge in making wood instruments which have some acoustic parallels with working on steel.
In creating BalkanPan Handpan there is lot of dedication and love which this beautiful instrument require for to get made and sound properly. From one person, the project is now consisted of two people working as a couple/ team.
As we mentioned, project was situated in Cerknica from 2012-2015 when we decided to move to other side of Slovenia and open a bigger workshop for both, wooden and steel instruments.
In the summer 2015, we opened small business close to town of Brežice (Slovenia) which is 20 minutes away from Zagreb, capital of Croatia. This location is suitable for managing also a Croatian market and also other Balkan region markets.
Handpan is a growing organism, and has indefinite space for improvement and learning which makes it a very open and daring project.
We look forward to every day spent with our beautiful sculptures!
Handpan process consists of few stages of development. In 8 years of working on it, we used different types of mild steel and many many different processes and strategies in making handpan. In starting years, handpan shell were sunk completely by hand, wooden hammer, which was a long lasting process with lot of stress put into steel. As of 2015, we got started with new method of hammer sinking shells. This means a big compressor and custom made hammer heads for strong air sand-rammer. This method also introduces a lot of stress into metal but it is much faster and acceptable process for handpan sinking. Our plan in the future is to have a deep drawn shells and we are at the moment working on this project to obtain shells with more consistent structure, depth, which will improve our goal to obtain stabile method and regular process in pan making.
We offer is different frequency of A4 note - classic 440Hz and 432Hz, which provides deeper sound and meditative feeling. Third option is interesting 528Hz tuning for C5.
Also, very important stage in the process is heat treatment. Most of the heat treatments we do in our high-temperature electrical furnace which has very good regulation of temperature and time of process.
Most important is the tuning process, for which it takes many years of practice and patient learning of internal laws of steel and producing of sound. Every Handpan is unique!
Combining the art of tuning, heat treatments and knowledge of materials and nitriding process, BalkanPan is born from sheet metal to sound sculpture!
Care and protection
Nitrided pans are more easily taken care of than non-nitrided. Nitriding process gives anti-rust protective layers, but still it is highly recommended to use something for cleaning and additional protection. FrogLube is a good thing to use for cleaning/protection of Handpan, also Balistol oil and other eco-friendly sealers can be used for surface. PanArt cleaning fluid from manufacturer in Germany is also very good and eco-friendly. Handpans are kept out of bag to avoid moisture.
For transporting we have a very nice soft bag that fits to BalkanPan measures, and it is made by local tailor.
Our plan is to soon have a hardcase for our Handpans. This is one of our priorities in developing better protection of our instruments.