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The Shell - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
User avatar
By Allurelife100
#14635
A lot of djembe players such as my self for years let their drum makers do all of the work on their drums. My drum maker is up in age now, and is starting to be a little "careless" with handling my drums like he used to. I want to know how to fix cracks, shave skins (without knicks), and moisturize the shell for long lasting wood. Any good guidance here??? :uglynerd:
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
#14637
There is definitely an art to building a drum. If your passion is drumming, than let someone else take care of building your drums and just learn how to tune your drums to your taste.

If you really want to dive into building these things, search around on the forum.. I'm pretty sure all the topics you've mentioned above have been discussed on here. Maybe someone can post the links to those topics, I'm not too familiar with the search functions.

No doubt the info is on this site thought.. so look around and you'll learn all you ever wanted!
User avatar
By Allurelife100
#14641
Thanks Rhythm House, I have check a lot on here and some info has helped me thus far.
User avatar
By jeffduyndam
#14645
Hi Allurelife100,

I like to use coconut oil on the djembe shell. Drumskulls uses coconut oil on all their drums.

I shave a skin after it has dried and after I have pulled the verticals (vertical rope) tight.

I use a two part wood colored epoxy to fill cracks.

Another way to fill small cracks is to mix Elmers wood glue with some of the wood dust/sawdust from the exact wood that the shell is made from.

happy drumming :-)
User avatar
By Allurelife100
#14650
Thanks Jeff that is quite helpful. I was reluctant to try coconut oil but I did see they offered it at Drumskulls. I have seen the glue and sawdust method done many times, I just have to practice at it. I also need practice on shaving the skin. Thanks for the support. :)
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
#14656
@Jeff
you shave the skin after it's dry? Are you talking about hairless skin? I've always shaved them right after I pull the verts pretty tight and the skin is still wet.... I'll do a light dry shave and some light sanding (400 grit or so) but do the heavy stuff while the skin is wet... less risk of cutting the skin this way I'd think.
User avatar
By Allurelife100
#14679
What about cleaning the shell? Would some sort of oil soap be adequate for cleaning the shell before oiling the shell?
User avatar
By Dugafola
#14680
Allurelife100 wrote:What about cleaning the shell? Would some sort of oil soap be adequate for cleaning the shell before oiling the shell?
i don't think you need soap at all. maybe just a slightly damp rag to wipe it down.

pretty much any oil will work on your shell: olive, orange, grapeseed etc
User avatar
By Allurelife100
#14687
Thanks Duga, this is completely new for me. I am ready to dig in a get some work done now!
By shortypalmer
#14719
Lot so folks use different oils on their drum shells, i have found that boiled linseed oil (it comes already boiled from the store) mixed with two parts of no odor mineral spirits work really well. I had an Iroko shell come to me completely dry, nothing on it, it did not have a crack to be seen, a week later it developed some small cracks all along the bottom on the bowel on the corner of the of the bowel where it turns under. i put two coats of my mixture on and the cracks went away. experience is a great teacher.
shorty
www.goatskins.com
User avatar
By Dugafola
#14720
re: oil.

the one thing i learned is that you can over oil a shell. i've gone to town on a few shells...applying oil for days straight and letting them bake in the sun/shade to help darken the grain. even when wiping off the excess, oil would still coagulate to the surface of the shell when the climate turned cool i.e. in the winter or when it sits in a case for awhile.

nowadays, i oil my shells lightly every other skin which is probably every 8 months or so on average. it also helps that i live on the coast and not in a drier climate. drier climates would probably require more frequent applications of oil.
By bubudi
#14732
be careful mixing linseed oil with mineral oils as this has been known to spontaneously combust. a friend of mine left the cloth he used to apply the mixture on his laundry windowsill for 10 minutes and it caught on fire. luckily he was in the yard and saw it or else he could have lost his whole house! (if you've ever started a fire with a magnifying glass you'll know just how easily an oily cloth left in the sun can catch fire, but add to that something as flammable as turps and you're asking for trouble). i usually mix the linseed oil with other oils so don't get the need to thin it down with turps.
User avatar
By freefeet
#15511
Tung oil! Far nicer stuff than linseed.

Thin down equal parts with a solvent like white spirit, apply plenty and wipe off any excess thoroughly after 20 minutes. There shouldn't be a layer of oil over the wood.

Tung oil will polymerise far tougher than linseed does and doesn't have that awful smell either.
User avatar
By Djembe-nerd
#19569
I use Miniwax finishing wax after putting 2 coats inside and outside of Watco teak oil, for dense woods.

Excellent results, last coated 3 shells with the same combination about a year ago, one iroko, one hare and one lenke. The outside has become a darker shade than the original wood from the wax finish, but the grain comes out really nice and the inside doesn't look dry till now.

The coconut oil from DSD is not my favorite. I had it in the shells that I bought from DSD, they looked very nice and oiled when I got them with the nice grain showing, but after 6-8 months the shell starts looking dry. The color change of the shell because of the dryness is very obvious in 6-8 months.
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