The djembe

Djembe Reskinning - Making the drum head

Stretching And Cleaning The Skin

This is the dirty bit so dress down and do this outside!

Remove the skin from water and examine the slimy side for any loose skin or fat and remove with the edge of a blade or scraper.

Stretch it slightly by standing on one end and pulling the other as shown. Try to stretch all sides evenly.

Now take the unbraided metal ring and tie a small piece of string on at one place as a marker (this will come in handy later).

Making The Drum Head

Cut the excess skin off

1. Lay the skin hair-side up on a table or clean flat surface and place the large unbraided ring in the centre. Align the ring so that the spine (darker, denser hair) runs down the centre and the string marker is at the top.

Remove excess skin, leaving a border around the ring of at least 15cm on all sides.

2. Fold the edges over into the centre of the ring, creating something that looks a bit like a dim sum. The is the first part of the drumhead.

Fold the edges over the ring

3. Make about 10 or 15 incisions in the excess skin that has been folded up along the outer edge. Thread some string between the holes and lace the drum head until your drum head looks like this:

Tie the edges to each other

4. Place the drumhead on the rim of the shell, aligning the string with the mark you made on the wood. Check that the drumhead is centred on the rim and place the braided ring on top.

Aligning The Rings

As neither the jembe nor the rings may be exactly round, hold the ring in place over the jembe and rotate them if necessary to find the best fit. Position them centred on the rim, with an equal distance between the drum and the ring all the way around. Bend them if necessary to make a good fit.

Now take the other large ring (with the loops on it) and lay it over the drum head, aligning it carefully so the rings line up with each other and both are centred over the drum shell.

Fit the drum over the shell

Fit the drum neatly over the shell

Now continue to Threading the Verticals.