The djembe

How to Reskin a djembe - Threading the verticals


Vertical rope on a large djembe: approx 16 metres, 4mm or 5mm width nylon pre-stretched or low stretch cord

Restringing the Verticals

1. Thread the rope between the fist two loops as shown.

2. Take the left hand piece and make a bowline noose as follows.

3. Take the right hand piece and thread through a loop in the bottom ring and up through the next one.

4. Thread back up through the top ring again - up through the same loop as you came and down the next.

5. Continue this way and thread the entire drum without putting any tension on the skin. If you don't get all the way around, don't worry.

The next step is to gently tighten the rope by working your way around the verticals taking up a little bit of slack on each. Hopefully the first time around, you'll reach the other end of the rope. Tie it off and start again.

Do this at least a couple of times, getting progressively tighter each round. Be careful not to pull the rings out of alignment or you may end up with a skew drum head.

You don't have to make it incredibly tight, just enough to hold the rings in place for the next step.

6. Turn the drum upside down, resting it on a covered surface.

Starting where your noose is, work your way around the drum again pulling tighter on each vertical to take up more slack.

Turn the drum upside down

When you get back to the beginning, tie off on the noose.

The more you can do this while the skin is still wet, the better. At some point between doing these you might find it useful to cut the string that holds the loose edges of skin together on the face of the drum (remember the dim sum?). This might help to allow you to tighten the skin further. Remember to keep the drum upside down or the rings may go out of alignment.

Finally, when you've had enough of that, tie off the noose and turn the djembe the right way up again.

You're done with threading the verticals! There is more tightening to be done later, but for now...

Continue to Trimming and Shaving the Djembe.