Dugafola wrote:also, it seems the Wula is the main exporter/importer of drum with rubber tire bottoms (at least to the US). the only other ones i've seen before you guys really started selling drums were in guinea or drums that were bought over there and then brought to the states.
Actually, we are just a drop in the ocean. It never occurred to me that people might think that that the rubber tire bottom is mostly exclusive to Wula. That was my intention, initially, which leads to your next question.
Dugafola wrote:tom, do you know who started the trend of the tire bottoms? or perhaps when it started?
It started in early 2005, in Conakry, when I brought the idea for the rubber tire protector to a Guinean friend mine named Basiro. Basiro mounted timing belts on djembes in a little shack next to Wann’s shop in Kameliya (Wann is one of the main exporters of Guinea djembes). It took some trial and error before we figured out that the best type of tire to use is the back tire of a street bike. I was real happy with myself, thinking that not only had I found a good way to protect the wood of the stem bottoms, but that I had found a unique way to set the appearance of our djembes apart. Well, that was short lived, because within less than a year every single shop in Conakry had adopted the technique. Now, thousands of djembes are made this way each year; not only in Guinea, but now in other West African countries as well. I can’t speak for the west coast, but djembes with rubber tire protectors are all over the east coast. Interestingly enough, even Drumskull’s supplier, who is also one of the top three exporters of Guinea djembes, builds his (non-DSD) drums with the rubber tire. BTW, we have a photo of Basiro in action on file somewhere. I’ll try to find and post it.
Dugafola wrote:i have a drum that has a DSD rubber bottom from when they first started doing them...maybe 5.5 years old now. it still looks good and is holding tight. i also have a tire tread bottom on one shell and i'll admit it's kinda fuct up. it's doing it's job though.
Yeah, better the rubber than the wood. Personally I do like the look of the DSD’s rubber mounting, which is very clean, but I also like the fact that the tire protects not just the bottom, but the outside of the bottom as well. I think it can be important in the longevity to the stem-bottom wood. I just tried to post a photo which shows why, but I could not get the photo to post. If you want to see it then go to our Facebook page and click on Profile – Photos – Photos of Wula. Check out the first and second photos of M’bemba Bangoura and Kolipe Camara and you’ll see what I mean.
Dugafola wrote:i think in order to state that nails in wood, djembes in particular, doesn't do any harm, you'd need to remove tire bottoms to actually see what, if any damage, has been incurred on the leg of the shell. but no one really wants to do that.
Including me; but wood, being wood, often cracks (rubber or no rubber), and I’ve had to pull off rubber to get to the cracks and make the repairs. It’s not as difficult as it may seem, and I’d say it’s easier than if the rubber was glued on. Of course, that depends on what type of glue was used. I’ve also pulled off rubber completely and filled the nails holes, upon request, and after I finish you’d have to be about a foot away from the drum to be able to tell that there was even work done on it. Also, the nails are so thin and the holes so small that there is no structural damage to the wood. In fact, in our shop in Guinea, any time I think that the rubber was mounted less than perfectly I will have the mounter (Basiro) pull it off and do it again. That has happened enough times, but I haven't seen cracks which were caused by nails. Also, I’ve nailed in thousands of decorative tacks and experienced maybe had two or three incidents of cracks opening up; and they most likely would have opened up eventually anyway, due to natural fissures in the wood.
This is an interesting debate, which I’m sure will continue. I encourage everyone who has the chance to do so to visit the drum making shops in Guinea, including Wula’s, so that you can see for yourself. And in time the reality will surface.