Put the goat skin in a recipient, fill with
clear water and let it rest for about 2 days. The longer the skin
is in the water, the easier it is to remove the hairs after, though
if you wait too long the skin gets bald. Don't panic about the
smell, you get used to it after two days ;o)
Put the skin on a table and cam the hairs
Put the biggest top ring in the middle of the
skin, center it with the goats back, the tail side of the skin
is often thicker and stronger. Be aware that there aren't holes
in the skin, those would burst the skin when you put tension on
Cut a circle around the ring, 10-15 cm must
be enough to have a border. Don't make it too small, the skin
would skip between the two rings when you tighten the ropes.
Use a special tool to cut little holes in the
skin, this makes assembling the rings easier.
Make holes on the edge of the skin every 10-15
Put a string through the holes, skip side every
time you pass a hole.
Tighten the string, and look if the skin is
still centered. Look if the skin is even spread over the ring,
all bumps should be even. Once the string is tightened, use the
string that's left to tighten all sides of the skin, like the
way they tighten snow chains on tires.
Wax the top of the djembe with a candle.
Put all the rings on the djembe, and check
if the rings are properly placed (not all rings are perfect circles),
tie the bottom ring to the skin (the holes we made with the special
tool) with little wires; to center the skin and keep it in place.
Tighten the little side ropes to keep the skin
in place, for this djembe I only used four wires, for larger djembe's
you better use some more.
To put the vertical ropes on a djembe you have
to have a start, there are different ways to start, I use this
one because this way the rope keeps in place. Make a flat knot,
follow the picture it's hard to explain you better see.
This is the finishing of the flat knot.
Make a second knot.
The second knot. When tightening the vertical
ropes the second knot is pulled together to the first knot, a
very strong knot is the result.
Then start pulling the ropes through the loops
of the top and bottom ring.
Keep your attention to the job, it's easy to
miss, and when you're at the end it is no fun to start allover
again when you missed somewhere in between.
When you putted all the verticals, you can
start tighten the ropes. Attention that you keep the top ring
centered and horizontal. Tighten your djembe with the same strength,
and keep your eye on the top ring, and make adjustments if needed
to keep it all centered.
I use a own made tool to tighten the verticals,
it is a kind of lever so you can put more pressure on it. If you
don't have it, you just have to use your own force.
Untie the top of the skin, and spread the skin
over the djembe. Use a razor to remove the hairs, go along with
the hairs otherwise you cut into the skin. Before we use the razor,
we shaved it with a electronic razor, this speeds it up, the finishing
touch is still with the old fashion razor. No soap is needed,
just water and patience.
After it is shaved, use waterproof sandpaper
to cleanup the skin. Use a lot of water, and don't be afraid to
A nice close-up, pity I can't put the smell
When the shaving is finished, tighten the border
together so it can dry and keep it's position. The shaving on
the edges don't have to be 100%, when pulling the ropes, some
more hairs will appear. Those can be shaved later, though be precious
because the skin isn't wet anymore.
Let the djembe dry for about a week, then you
can start tightening the verticals to the maximum tension.
This is the end of the demonstration. How to
put the horizontals, will be added later if I get some pictures.
I putted some links to other sites, where you can find illustrations.
would not be possible without the help of my friend Jan
He told me the little secrets, and gave me the permission to put these
I do recommend to do this job together with a person who already did
this before, it's so easy
to do the wrong things, and what can be worse when your skin bursts
at the end of your job.
This means ... start allover again >:o(
If you live in Belgium I do recommend
Jan's workshop, he helps
and let you do all the work ... hehe...it sounds bad, but in this case
it isn't ... this way you learn faster ...
much better than following a workshop where you can see the
teacher doing it, and when you return home you notice you miss some
Just do it, you won't get disappointed.
He sells/repair djembe's/dunun's, and all related stuff (bags/ropes/skins/bells/etc..)
can be bought at cheap prices ...
So that's it, now he's got his free
advertising here :o)