Most drummers feel a tenderness for their drums that is evident in the care of a favored Djembe, Cajon or pair of bongos. These drummers have cases and bags that aid in transportation and storage, since the proper amount of care is important in prolonging the life of any drum. However, even the most carefully tended drum will inevitably begin to show signs wear and tear. No drum is indestructible and due to the fragile nature of hand drums, repairs are often best left to experts. There are some repairs, however, that even the newest drummer can do. These repairs can sometimes save you the time and money of hiring a professional.
The natural skin of a drum head dries out over time and can crack or split. For small cracks many drummers find it useful to repair the drum head by applying a small amount of glue and letting the surface dry. Large cracks can be patched with other bits of animal skin and glue, but this will likely affect the sound of the drum. If the damage to the drum head is too extensive, replacement may be the better option.
If the wooden body of your djembe has a slight crack, repairing the drum can be done at home. Small cracks can be repaired with the careful application of wood glue. Larger cracks may be filled with wood putty and then sanded down once dry. If the drum has splintered, it is recommended that the drum be repaired by a professional. A professional with experience in repairing a Djembe can be helpful in determining whether a drum can be repaired at home, or if more drastic measures are necessary.
Any repairs a drum undergoes can affect the quality of sound produced even when performed by an expert. The likelihood of changing sound increases with more extensive repairs. Little repairs are unlikely to have much of an effect on the sound of the drum.
When a drummer takes the proper steps in caring for a drum, it shows in the overall look of the Djembe, Cajon or other drum, as well as the sound and tonality when played. Repairing drums as minor problems come up can help to improve the life of a drum. The more maintenance and care you put into your drum the longer it will last you and the better it will sound and will continue to serve as a musical tool to be used for the creative production of music for years to come.