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By Boo-radley
Hi all,

I bought a nice used Ivory Coast Djembe with a blown head. Before installing a new goatskin, I thought I'd put a fresh oil sealer on it. Questions are:

1. There seems to have been something put on it (maybe a wax) previously. The original owner doesn't remember coating it. Any suggestions on what to use inside and out.
2. I'm reluctant to use Linseed Oil because of the drying time, and often gummy feel. Should I be?
3. Would it matter what an original finish was? Could I just clean the whole thing with mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, let it dry, and coat it with Tung Oil?

Thanks for the help, B
User avatar
By michi
For the inside, I prefer the outdoor decking oils mentioned here.

When you oil the inside, stop about 2 inches below the bearing edge. If you don't there is a danger of the oil wicking up into the bearing edge, causing the skin to discolour and, worst case, break early. (Oil and goat skin don't go well together.)

For the outside, I prefer penetrating wax to oils. No problems with oil sweating back out of the shell that way, no mess, and it protects the wood more durably than oil does.

Personally, I'm not fond of linseed or tung oil (but some people swear by it). Don't use coconut or shea butter (particularly for the inside). The can attract mould or bacteria infections.


User avatar
By djembefeeling
I always use olive oil, but in very, very little amounts for my djembes. It really doesn't need much!
But with the wax it did have before, it's useless. I would only rub the djembe very hard with a clean cloth to get rid of the extra wax on the surface ;)
By Boo-radley
Thanks for the input.
After leveling the bearing edge, cleaning and coating with boiled linseed inside/out, adding a bike tire foot, and installing new goatskin and rope, my djembe is about 98% complete. Just needs a final tightening/tuning and to find it's voice. Super cool. Cheers!