Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby rhythmrhyme » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:44 pm

interesting... my oak drums from SOS have a slightly raised grain which I quite like. It gives the finish a bit of texture and is more natural feeling. I always thought that to get rid of this effect when staining the trick was to go over them with a wet rag first. The moisture causes the grain to rise as it will with the stain, you then sand it off one last time to get everything smooth. The filler idea is new to me, looks effective as well but I'm a bit confused as to why... will ponder.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby RitmoBoricua » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:26 pm

I think the basis for filling the grain is to
attain a mirror like finish basically the way
I understanding is you have to have a smooth
surface in order for light to reflect back and
give you the glossy mirror like effect other
wise open grained wood does not give you
the smooth surface required for this effect
unless the grain is filled.

You right any time you apply a water based
finish on unsealed wood you have to prep
the wood first by wetting it and after it dries
you sand down the raised grain. Good pointer.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:44 pm

the grain on the mahogony Gon Bops is a bit porus, but not too bad. if you apply at least 4-5 coats of clear ( or better) and sand back as Ritmo instructed, wiping down between coats, you will eventually fill those pores and attain a smooth finish. All in All I think a poly is better, even though in the article i used a water based top coat with good result. Apply your top coats until you achieve the finish you are satisfied with. The advantage of an oil based top coat is that you can cut it to a thinner consistency as you add coats for a better flow out. (The down side is that is attracts dust in the drying process.)This pertains to hand finishing. If you have a spray set up, then you are advanced and i assume you know what you are doing with lacquer or acrylic clears. Grain or no grain is always a matter of personal choice, and has nothing to do with the actual sound of the drum, so, what ever effect you enjoy is up to you
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby godskin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:26 pm

Thanks a lot for all the extra information guys.

I just go step by step.
I am doing this repair in my living room

I lightly sanded with a scuff pad (360 grain) and after cleaning with a cloth and alcohol I applied the third layer of stain.

So tomorrow I could start filling with putty.

11 am so are you saying I should put some lacquer/sealer on the wood around the areas that are going to be repaired ?
(To prevent halo's)
Let this dry and then fill and sand flush ?
Clean and then put on the first layer of lacquer

To finish I will use a water based acrylic lacquer
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:00 am

well, let's see, you have 3 coats of water based stain? how does the grain appear? If you can see pores you might want to hit it a lick with some thinned, clear shellac, around the holes, gouges, etc nothing crazy just a lick about and inch or 2. let it dry, fill sand etc. get it flush . you can determine at this stage by wetting the area with alcohol, if you like the way the blemishes healed. Remember, perfection will be a happy lucky situation, when dealing with pre mixed filler. The filler will show regardless. Some of the fillers are pretty close, so, you'll find out at this stage. The result will still be 1000 times better than what you started with. Looking forward to your finished product. !
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby godskin » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:22 pm

So, finally I can show some pictures of my finished project.
Thank you very much 11am for this guide.
I had no experience on working with wood before I started this, your guide was very helpful
Of course I made some mistakes but a managed to recover from them.

This Requinto is completely reborn.
In the process of restoration I had to glue only 3 spots on the bottom of the barrel.
The hooks where fine so only the rim hoop and brackets where re-chromed, expensive ? yes.
I also looked in to chroming the aluminum bands but this would be to expensive.
So I sanded the aluminum bands all the way up to 1200 grain.
A small polishing test had no success so after sanding it was done.
I put the original skin aside and replaced it with a dark 1.6 mm steer hide from manito.

This series of gon bops has its own unique characteristics and I love it.
One thing that surprises my is the fact there is no ringing what so ever.
Playing this 9.75 " requinto helps me a lot in developing more efficiency in hand placement.
It forces me to make more compact movements.

Again, thank you 11am.

The quinto will be finished soon.
Attachments
before.jpg
how I got them
mistake.jpg
staining mistake
outdoors.jpg
outdoors
closer.jpg
closer
some skin.jpg
steer skin
Last edited by godskin on Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:27 am

So, finally I can show some pictures of my finished project.
Thank you very much 11am for this guide.
I had no experience on working with wood before I started this, your guide was very helpful
Of course I made some mistakes but a managed to recover from them.


Hey Brother, Fantastic job! That looks great, and I'm sure that drum will play for you, when called upon. Now that you know how to do it, the next one will go faster with the same great result. Glad I could help you. Jary Mall ( 11am)
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:42 am

Also, if you come across this article out side of this forum ( it does come up under search results for conga restoration), and you find the information useful, join the forum.( it's free) Show your results, joint the community here. Very good people with plenty of topics. Hang out. Contribute. Show some love. J M
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby godskin » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:36 pm

Has anyone tried to raise dents with an iron ??

I will try for sure.

Check link for info.
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to- ... ron-166696
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:42 am

sure you can, depending on the severity of the dent. If it's oak, you can give it a shot on a ding. it won't hurt anything, mahogany too. Any wood for that matter. If you are refinishing anyway, there is no harm in trying that remedy first. By all means! just don't burn the wood.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby 11am » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:45 pm

Update: After a year and a half, the four drums I restored using the above methods are still split free and strong. I use these primarily to record as they have a great tone. The heads are old and original except for one, and produce the sound I prefer
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby jorge » Sun May 17, 2015 3:14 am

To resurrect this useful thread, I have suggested moving a discussion on "creep" of wood glues here from another thread unrelated to drum repair. The topic was why "creep" is important for conga drum repairs. Some glues that are more flexible and have more "creep", like Titebond 2 and 3, may not be as good for gluing staves as harder and more brittle glues like Titebond original and hide glue. Although TB 2 and 3 are slightly stronger for their tensile strength, tensile strength is not the most important attribute needed for stave repairs.
Conga staves are not under much tension per se, but there are a lot of shear forces, which can cause creep if the glue is not right. The way this works is that as the tuning lug pulls upward on the lug plate bracket it forms a lever arm of an inch or more from the center of the stave. This causes an inward force on that stave above the lug attachment and an outward force below the lug attachment. The staves have some flex and the glue is part of the structure that resists this movement of the staves. This is called shear force and if the glue has much "creep" it will cause the staves to move permanently so that they pop out a little below the lug and are pushed in a little above the lug. I have seen this happen on quintos especially, where there are higher forces on the lugs. For this reason I would avoid Titebond 2 and 3 and other higher creep, more flexible glues for quintos and congas that are tuned up high, although I do agree there is some trade-off with resistance to cracking.
Incidentally I was at JCR today and noticed the bottle of Titebond original they were using to repair a drum.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby rhythmrhyme » Wed May 20, 2015 6:57 am

Interesting insight Jorge, not something I would have thought of on my own. "creep' would really suck if a person had just spent the effort to restore a vintage drum, or any drum for that matter.
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby RitmoBoricua » Wed May 20, 2015 12:41 pm

Links to some good information on wood glues application on wooden instruments.


http://pdgood.us/drumshed/glues.html

http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/repa ... r/glue.php
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Re: Poor mans guide to vintage conga restoration

Postby jorge » Wed May 20, 2015 2:04 pm

Thanks RB. The first is a good review in general, although they do not specify what they mean by "drum". Kit drums like snares and toms are cylindrical with much lower tuning lug tensions and lugs mounted much closer to the shell with shorter lever arms. Thus, they do not have the large shear forces on the stave joints that we get on congas with tuning lugs attached to the staves much farther out from the shell. So "creep" is not a big issue for snares and toms and is not addressed in their discussion. At room temperature, Titebond 3 is not that much greater in tensile strength than Titebond original and once you heat the joint as in a car trunk on a summer day, Titebond 3 loses its strength at lower temperatures than Titebond original. Congas don't have the concussive forces that skateboards have and none of our hands are going to break a glue joint regardless of the glue. The main problem is the shear forces on the staves that support the mounting plates for the tuning lugs. Titebond original is not water resistant like Titebond 3, but unless you plan on submerging your conga, or don't want to put any lacquer or polyurethane finish on it, I would still favor Titebond original over Titebond 3 for stave joints on congas. And definitely tune your quinto and congas down before putting them in a place that may get really hot, even if you have plastic skins.
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