Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Djembe Repair - Goat Skin Head Replacement (Visual Tutorial)

Huzzah! Yesterday both my new drum rope and goatskin head arrived. The head was purchased through Sinclair City Market and the rope was purchased through Radioware . Both places shipped quickly and had very friendly customer service. It may seem odd that I purchased my rope from Radioware, but they offered the best price on a small order of 1/8 inch Double Braid Dacron Rope. I ended up spending about $5 plus shipping on 50 feet of rope as opposed to ordering 100 feet (minimum order) from a drum shop for about $25 plus shipping.

I started by making 14 hoop knots using the instructions at Hawk Dancing. Their method works very well. "Over the ring, through the loop, under the ring, through the loop." Please see their site for some other helpful pictures. A lot of my djembe tutorial photos are a supplement to that guide.

The 15th hoop knot looks very confusing, but is simple once you get it. For this step, the new knot is basically cradled in between the strings of the old. Hawk Dancing has a few photos describing this. Those photos perplexed me a bit, but I found it helpful just to think "Over the ring, through the LOOPS, under the ring, through the LOOPS."

Be patient, it will take a few tries to make the final locking knots.

The fully knotted top hoop looks like this.

I then soaked the goatskin in room temperature water for an hour.

I would suggest leaving for a while and coming back to work on this instead of watching over it or continuously checking the skin to see if it is ready yet.

Lay the wet skin out on some cardboard.
It looks like a very moist tortilla right now.
Don't make a wrap though, that would be foul.

Hawk Dancing suggests piercing the skin while it is laying flat on the cardboard in order to create holes to run a cord through.

I found it MUCH easier to just pinch the skin inbetween my fingers and snip it carefully to make about 1/4 inch long slits.

The approximate placement of those slits are indicated by the numbers on the picture above. You may make more if you feel the need to.

Once all the slits have been made and the skin is laying hair side up, center the metal hoop on the skin.

You can now begin to thread a cord through the slits. Follow an "out, in, out, in" pattern.

I used the old cord from my drum for this step since I didn't want to waste a section of the sturdy new Dacrop rope.

When you have threaded the cord all the way around, carefully pull the cord tight to gather the skin around the metal hoop.

Make sure the metal hoop stays centered while you do this in order to prevent later frustration with the skin.

Now place the skin onto the top of your drum body.

Carefully place the top hoop over the skin. When you do this, make sure your knots are on the outside edge of the hoop.

Flatten any areas where the skin has folded or puckered under the top hoop.

Note: In my next post I will cover the process for roping and tuning the djembe.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, you make this process simple and understandable, thank you!