Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

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Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby bengon » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:14 pm

Does anybody have any tips on cutting a full rawhide down to heads? I'm re-heading a bunch of drums (conga, bata, bongos- 17 heads in all!) and am kinda lost. I'm thinking about just buying a full side and going from there. Any info would be much appreciated.

I had posted this in the skin supplier list thread before but wanted to give it its own thread.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby pcastag » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:42 pm

Get some sheet metal cutters or use garden sheers. I take my drum heads and trace out 20 and 18 inch rounds then cut em with the shears or tin snips.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby Thebreeze » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:50 pm

What I did when I used to cut rounds from a 1/2 hide was, of course you first soak it in the bath tub for a few hours, enough to be able to unroll it, and even enough that if you wanted to use a round for a drum right away you could.
Then what I did was lay it flat on a sheet of 1/4" plywood I had that was not being used for anything else. Then using a permanent marker I traced out rounds from a garbage can lid I had which was about 18 inches or so. While on my hands and knees I would cut the rounds out very easily using a utility knive ( you know the kind, like made by stanley, the kind you can cut sheetrock, or linoleum with if you wanted to.) You can put down good pressure since the razor blade is going into the plywood. It's easy and fast this way. I have never done a full hide, but I guess the cutting of the rounds would have to start right in the middle of the back so that you can have some nice uniform thick rounds, and work your way outward from there.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby bengon » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:07 am

So, the spine area is the thickest? I've read that the belly is the thinnest- is that appropriate for bongo machos or bata chachas?
Last edited by bengon on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby pcastag » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:08 am

I would avoid soaking beforehand if I could, it takes out some of the natural oils and if you have to soak it a second time you will definitely strip some of the oils that the head needs to sound good.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby Thebreeze » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:00 am

From experience, I can tell you that I have done this several times, no problems whatsoever with oils draining from the skins, and these skins have gone onto numerous drums with no issues. I have done this going back about 10 years now, so don't worry about it. As far as the belly, yeah, that area is thinner and depending on how thick the cow hide was to begin with ( depending if it was a steer, bull, cow, etc.. different thicknesses ). I have been able to use smaller left over pieces from those areas for the Hembra head of Bongos for sure as well as Batas. Do it, you won't regret it and you will see how easy it will be for you this way.
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Re: Rawhide Side to Flat Drum Heads

Postby Thebreeze » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:06 am

Here is a very interesting link that Jaisen told me about and thought forum members would like it.....

http://home.comcast.net/~e.demong/Taiko/Heads.htm
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