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Info & Tips for Tucking & Re-heading
Parts: Skin, skin wire and a few tools.
Skins: There are various types of skins for various types of drums.
Skin Wires: The skin wire or ring gives structure to the had. The skin will be wrapped around the wire and the rim goes on top of the skin & wire. When tuning the rim pulls down on the wire and skin.
To get a skin wire you can either remove it from your old head or you can get a new one. Artdrum supplies wires; feel free to contact us for wires.
Tools: Flat-headed pliers (sometimes needle nose pliers can help too); utility knife with a shape blade; spackle knife or strip of cardboard or strip of thin metal (used to protect the side of your head when cutting away the excess skin; see tutorial in link above).
Soaking Time: The soaking time of the skin varies for the thickness of the skin. For very thin skins about .80 mm or less the soak time can be as little as 30 minuets. For 2.5 mm skins the soak can be 5 - 7 hours. For 2.6 - 3 mm skins the soak time can be 8 - 10 hours.
Tip: Do NOT cut away the excess skin until your are satisfied. You can always redo the whole process if you don't cut your skin. But once it's cut it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to tuck and mount that skin on the same size drum.
Tip: When cutting away the excess skin, always remember: Safety First
Tip: Tighten the lugs fully only after the head dries & not before. The skin will become tighter as it dries. If you fully tighten it before it dries, then the skin can rip as it tightens.
Tip: Although you don't want to tighten all the way while the skins is drying, you may need to adjust the tightness of the lugs while head is drying. if the head starts to sag it is good to tighten a little, but not all the way. If the head is too tight & very head while it is drying it is good to loosen the lugs so the head won't rip.
How long does the head take to dry? It depends how thick & moist the skin is as well as the temperature and humidity where the head is drying. Thin skins may be dry enough to play in about 24 hrs. Thick skins usually 2 - 4 days. Letting a fan blow on the newly mounted head will speed up drying time.
Tip: For bongo lugs (9" or smaller heads), tighten the lugs by going around the drum in a circular (clockwise or counterclockwise) direction.
Tip: For congas, some players prefer to tighten the lugs in a circular direction, but I generally tighten in a star pattern; the star pattern enables me to stretch the skin evenly across the drum head.
Tip: In the beginning of the process, before you loosen the lugs and take the rim off, examine it; examine how the rim sits on top of the skin and how the lugs pull the rim down; and how the skin is wrapped around the wire; and so on. As you dismantle your old head observe how everything relates and fits together. Writing and taking notes can be very helpful too.
Enjoy the drumming!