Advice and questions on making and fixing instruments
#38934
That is certainly true for, say, congas! But djembe shape is not very well suited for staved drums
- if you steam bend straight staves (which is quite complicated process that requires a lot of energy), you'll get quite a slender bowl
- you could also jig-saw the staves, but then there'd be lots of waste anyway, or
- you could make separate staves for bowl and the base, but it 'd be tricky to join them together strongly.
Yea you are right.

I'd just see it as a better idea to the glue, chip and mold method. for various reasons which i posted.

But check out rhythm house drums for some well made and designed stave djembes. Ok i never heard them but the build looks quality.

But that kind of level is hard to achieve i would think plus a lot of experimentation and obviously wood working skills and workshop and tool dependent.

In some of my other posts in this thread, i discussed other ways to create a sustainable project for a west african community instead of making wood chip drums. Maybe this is a viable method to turn a possible waste product into a drum to sell for profit. But i wonder is that actually cost effective due to the low cost of the wood in w africa anyways. The glues would be dearer than the wood i reckon.

Maybe I'm totally out of time with my estimate but i think wood for a djembe would cost max 10 euros in west africa. It could be less too. Would the glue for a drum be so little i wonder, and i doubt it.

I'd just see something like a wood work shop with some electric tools as being a larger benefit to someone down there rather than the technique how to mold chip drums. Any idea needs investment, might as well create something that would hold it's value ie tools, plus something that can create a living long term for the recipients and that would necessarily be solely making drums.

Buying land and growing fruit veg and trees would be my obvious first choice in a sustainable project as a lot of compounds are dry with only agriculture goin on in the wet season, but it could be going on all year using permaculture techniques and increasing biodiversity etc. Innovation is what these communities need imo not making substandard drums in regions famous for decent drums.
#38936
Argh entire reply got eaten...quick version:

@ The Kid: You're right, flakes and large chips wont hold together properly, need processing as you suggested. Interesting idea to mill them.
Could also place them on a road or driveway? :}

I wouldnt use staves, instead I would use plant "bast" fibers such as jute, flax, hemp, sisal. (Bast fibers are the long ones used for rope, twine etc)
More on that idea in a future post. Can't type much due to using cell phone, while my internet service is down (back up in a week or so)
#38938
@ The Kid: You're right, flakes and large chips wont hold together properly, need processing as you suggested. Interesting idea to mill them.
Could also place them on a road or driveway? :}
Music to my ears. I just generally need 2 seconds of reckoning and the light bulb explodes. Feel like Chuck Rhodes after getting a good spanking of Wendy.
#38953
I couldn't agree more about ways to help, i.e. land remediation strategies etc. Shade is the underestimated resource in water conservation and food production, and planting crop trees like fruit, Shea, etc is so perfect for that.
Interestingly, Iroko is not only medicinal, but provides edible fruit. Ebony also provides fruit, so there's merit in a combination food forest/ tone-wood plantation, where some trees are left and others are selectively harvested. Obviously its a long cycle, but land management is a multigenerational effort.

I hear what you're saying about sawdust djembes, but I think that you may have overlooked afew factors.
For one thing, sawdust shells are much less work. Wood may be cheap, but carving shells is hard work.
There is almost no investment of capitol, so its not comparable to buying tools, it's so easy and simple its something teens could do to make their own drums.
I wouldnt suggest it for export necessarily, but for locals who cant afford a wood carved drum its way better than nothing.
As many say, the main thing in a Djembe is the skin, the shell is secondary.
And as far as simplicity, its like working with clay. I got a sack of sawdust frombthe local lumbe mill (free) and some acacia gum, (which I only used a tiny amoun of) and with some water I made a paste which I patted onto an empty yogurt containe.
It dried in a couple days, and its hard as Iroko now.
Its not comparable to carving shells, and theres no reason not to when people want drums who cant afford them. Young students are the first obvious group to benefit.
I learned on a PVC Toca, with a plastic skin, and I'm sure sawdust/gum composite with real goatskin would sound way better.
#38954
For one thing, sawdust shells are much less work. Wood may be cheap, but carving shells is hard work.
It is really hard work to do it, but what I saw is that that would still be much better than working in construction which is a really dangerous job in West Africa.

You might damage your hands and back working drums but you'd still be alive and have money for food and rent.

I was gonna get into the hardship I saw in West Africa in the various professions but I won't bother, as I don't know all the ins and outs of it. It is hard basically and people work very hard there for very little pay especially young people as 'apprentices'.
As many say, the main thing in a Djembe is the skin, the shell is secondary.
I think the base of that argument is the wood is decent hardwood. After that it is much of a muchness as to what sounds best. Nobody is saying a tweenbo(or however you spell it, ghanan djembe) is as good as a lenge djembe. It is just the famous hardwoods are the best for a reason. I heard some other non traditional hardwoods like shea etc, and they sounded great too but they're worth is more as a food oil giving tree. Still the wood is really dense and hard and why it is high quality soundwise.

I would be interested in the resonant qualities of your mix as to why i suggested the instrument up stream like a balafon key to test the sound capabilities. I think djembe is like a tuning fork, thats how i see the shape working., but the sound moves through it very fast. The material is essential in making the final sound. Maybe I'm wrong but I haven't seen any proof to the contrary yet.

My point on the structural integrity of the final drum is also of concern. Your asking for people to accept an idea that hasn't been tested. Maybe you have the time and effort to do it so just try it and see how it goes. Get 5-7 kilo of sawdust and whatever amount of glue and make the piece. It would be easier for you to do it than someone in westafrica.