I recently met another person who had made his own bodhran. The method he used was quite different than mine, and in some ways I found it superior. He used hardly any large equipment and his process was simpler. Plus, it hardly cost him anything to make it (about $20 Canadian)! I should add that he's a pretty accomplished leather worker, tanner, and boat builder - skills which are valuable when making a bodhran. Here's the process as he related it to me:
1. Collect the materials: Dowels for a cross-beam, a plank of ash for the rim (he claims that ash is the easiest wood to bend), tacks, wood epoxy and a thin strip of leather the same length as the plank.
2. Instead of using a steam-box, he filled several large metal stew pots with water and set them to boil.
(Note: This method requires that you must continuously pour boiling water over the plank in preparation for, and during, the bending process. Use a ladle or a small pot.)
3. The next step is a little tricky to describe. Being an avid canoeist, this person had several canoe securing 'straps'. These straps are made of thick nylon, leather or canvass. The ends of the strap can be attached to a clip which can be cranked to make the loop smaller and smaller.
(Note: I am told that similar straps are available from any good woodworking shop. They are called 'band clamps', are 1 inch wide and 15 feet long, and few of them can be purchased for less than ten dollars.)
Using your hands and feet, bend the ash plank into a large 'C'. Then put this 'C' into the loop formed by the band clamp.
4. While keeping the wood hot with boiling water, begin tightening the crank on the band clamp, thereby making the loop smaller. This will draw the two ends of the 'C' together.
5. Once the two tapered ends have come together so that the plank forms an 'O', apply wood epoxy to their inner surfaces and clamp them against each other.
6. After letting the glue dry for a few days, loosen and remove the band clamp. The rim should stay together. You can now sand it down, add cross beams and mount the skin on the rim.