Drum Restoration - making hoops

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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:15 pm

Quote (JohnnyConga @ Feb. 20 2006,04:17)
I believe it's an original "Vergara" Cuban conga...."JC" Johnny Conga...
Wow!
So that is what an original "Vergara" looks like? I wonder how the damaged one I found ended up in Sebastopol California? Most unusual.
I notice that Ray's drum has some little bushings just above the tightening nuts. I do this too in order to give more available threads. I usually make these out of small diameter pipe from which I cut 1/2"-3/4" bushings, then drill the inside out a bit more to fit easily over the threads of the tuning lug. This allows you to get the hardware lower and out of the way of your hands and still have some threads for tuning up.
It is going to require a bit of work to get the one I have back together, but I have worked on ones that were much worse, and now I am really inspired. This drum has hoops that are made of stainless steel banding, and the wood staves are some kind of hardwood like oak. The staves just under 1/2" thick, thus are not as thick as would be found on an old GonBop or Valje say. It has a pretty solid "alma" made out of steel flatstock. You can see from the photo that Ray's drum has the same stainless band hoops (a couple are painted over). Ray's old drum has identical hardware to the drum I found.
The one I am restoring has a couple of hoops missing, and it turns out not to be practical to replace with that original stainless banding, which I have not really been able to obtain in that format which is 1" wide. Instead I have obtained some regular steel sheeting.
The technique for making replacement (tapered) hoops is the following:
You make a paper cone (or partial cone) and tape it together. Place the paper cone over the area of the drum needing the hoop and trace a line on the paper around the drum at that point. After unravelling and cutting the tracing, you will have a strip in the form of a "smile" 1" wide. You trim the paper "smile" to what will be the final length of the hoop and then transfer this pattern to the steel sheet and mark with a "Sharpie" black pen. I was just able to cut this steel with the curved tracing marked on it with my straight tin snips which were just sharpened. After cutting I take to a grinder and sander to clean up the edges. Now you have a steel strip in the form of a "smile" and then you determine the precise size by forming it around the drum. Mark it, and then rivet together using traditional cooper techniques, it is also hard to find these old steel rivets!. This will result in an actual functional hoop, not just a cosmetic hoop like the original bands on the "Vergara". This will allow me to use the hoop to tighten down the drum when I re-glue the staves, just as a hoop is used in tradtional cooperage for tightening the drums staves which are not glued. There is a special tool for pounding down on these hoops while tightening the barrel. This being a glued/staved drum, it ultimately will not need these functional steel hoops, but it doesn't hurt. I have done this to old Gon-bops which are always falling apart with their cosmetic aluminum hoops serving no real function. Real (steel) hoops will help hold the drum togerther over time in case the glue dries out and starts to fail.
This drum has the majority of the staves needing re-gluing. The professional Jorgensen band clamps work well to cinch the drum shell together when re-gluing. White or Yellow carpenter glue works fine. This band clamp has wide canvas bands which do not slip down the taper of the drum when you tighten . Most other band clamps need to be stapled to the drum because they tend to slip down the taper of the drum as you tighten.
Because I will be mixing a couple of regular steel hoops with the original stainless band hoops, I have decided to paint all the hoops with a nice metallic lacquer in order to have them look matched. Believe me I did try to find a source for that 1" stainless banding to replicate the original but it is something not easily obtained anymore. This drum must be at least as old as the one that Ray Barretto has in that photograph. I am assuming that if that is a Cuban Vergara, it was made BC in Cuba.
The hoops will need to be primed first then painted with metallic lacquer. The original chrome plated crown and other chrome hardware still looks good and I will simply clean it up and polish it. The shell which was originally painted black, will be repainted with a nice metallic black lacquer. (I just happen to have access to a bunch of left over vintage automtive lacquers).
I actually have access to a whole range of lacquer colors, but somehow I find myself usually making a rather conservative color choices (good taste?). Decisions decisions! I could paint the hoops and the shell the same color, or I can paint them contrasting colors. I have a couple of nice flat greens and a nice brick red, a metallic yellow, a bunch of metallic light blues and off-greens, some golden and bronze metallics, basically a bunch of auto colors. Any suggestions?
Red drum with green hoops? Golden metallic with red hoops? Green shell with gold metallic hoops?
Probably will be metallic charocol black shell with metallic silver bluish hoops.
When finished I will post some photos.
Zeno




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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:44 pm

Here is a mock up of the paper cone over the end of the drum where I need to make a replacement hoop.

Zeno


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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:52 pm

Here is the paper "smile" and the sheet metal that has been cut from this template. The metal strip will be riveted together to form the final hoop. The bottom hoop on a conga drum has the most radical taper and is the most important hoop since the tension of the bend staves has the most tension at this point. The hoop both holds the staves together and provides protection for the bottom of the drum.

Zeno


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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:10 pm

One of the first drums I ever restored was a very early GonBop that I found in a junk store in Santa Rosa more than 35 years ago. This was before GonBop even put a logo on the drum. I think I paid $30 for it. This only required refinishing and a new head. Note the wide steel bottom hoop which protects the drum. This was the way I found it.
The square head tacks holding on the aluminum decorative bands are some I found in a "hardware store" in Spain and brought back. Some people collect art from their travels, I collect hardware.....lol

Zeno




Edited By Zeno on 1140480232

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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:19 pm

Recently a friend (Kim A.) gave me a more recent Gonbop that had been totally destroyed and abused by some pothead rock'nroll types who had a local recording studio (actually where we recorded the Mozambique videos years ago). I was so pissed that anyone could treat a drum like that. I had a sinking feeling in my gut, as if someone had personally hurt ME.
All the staves had to be glued back together, the crown had to be welded back together, an alma was added, and real steel hoops were made from recycled wine barrel hoops. The bottom hoop had to be made with the technique I outlined above. I did shellac the inside of this drum and that is how I discovered how much more bright that made the sound. I kind of went crazy with the amber shellac and that is what you see over the painted hoops. (oops). Needless to say, all these drum projects require much re-threading of lugs, wire brushing, sanding and TLC. This is now a very nice sounding drum with a new life in my home.

Zeno




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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:25 pm

Sometimes an old drum is so far gone that I decide to "hot rod" it a bit to cover up hopeless ruined (rusted) hardware etc. Here is a Cuban drum (originally sold by Casa America in New York). It is very heavy, seems very old, and now has a great sound with a new head. This required a bit of bondo, and reconsructing the holes where the hardware bolts to the shell. I then used new oversized stainless screw bolts and nuts. These Cuban drums have something special about the sound...

Zeno




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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:30 pm

Here is a beautifully shaped old Solis Drum made in Havana. It was so far gone that I had to paint over the old wood. I usually do add the "alma" and have to make hoops any way I can. Sometimes the colors have to do with what paint I have on hand. This drum is relatively light. I do not stress the hardware on these old drums, usually letting the tone be where the drum seems to want to be. In other words, I have many old drums that sound like the 50s....lol

Zeno


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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:49 pm

There was an amazing mambo scene in Mexico during the 50s. Here is a very early well made (Cometo) tourist drum from that era with an unusual hardware system. It was made with solid mahogany staves which needed to be glued again. The original crown could only accomodate the thinnest of goat skins (bogus). I needed to manufacture a new crown and new flesh hoop to be able to put a real mule skin on this puppy. Again I do not like to overly stress this hardware, but man, what a great sound and amazing bass for such a relatively small drum. Quite a conversation piece.

Zeno




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Postby Zeno » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:55 pm

If a "drum is a woman" as Duke Ellington once said, then this is my mistres, my goddess. This very early extra tall sleek and slim tack head is a real beauty. The thin fir staves were not glued, the hoops are functional and when I cleaned them they turned out to be, alas, made of brass!. The stave are tight because of the hoops which I had to readjust as you can see from the mark the old hoop position made. I used rubbing compound and then some paste wax to preserve the original look of the wood. It takes two people and a lot of grunting and straining to get the head on as tight as possible. The decorative band is a colorful handmade textile from Guatemala around the "tacks". I will use the same material to make a shoulder harness strap so I can parade on Carnival with my baby.

Zeno




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Postby Zeno » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:12 am

One of many Soy Sauce Barrel drums I have put together over the years. Sometimes I even use recycled hardware to make a tuneable version. I will show those later because they are out in another studio.

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Postby Zeno » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:17 am

I found a piece of iron junk at the dump that looked like it had some kind of possibilites since it resembled the bottom hardware of certain bongo drums except it had 5 holes in it. Many years later, I discovered that a scrap of PVC pipe fit into this piece of iron and this is the drum which resulted. By adding tints to some nasty acetone I was able to paint the greem PVC water-main pipe. I had to make the crown from scratch and thread some long rods. That's about it. I would call this an invento bonko and it still needs a stand which will also be a resonant box to enhance the sound.

Zeno




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Postby Ivan » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:23 pm

Zeno,

Cool pics and I am so glad you're here! Check out this thread in regards to some diamonds in the rough I found... http://www.congaplace.com/cgi-bin....5&t=489 I am in fear of removing the old metal straps on the shell of these bongos worried that I may not find a new set or be able to put the originals back on...

Perhaps I can talk to you off line to get some suggestions... Restoring the wood is pretty self-explanatory its the restoring of metal and removing the straps is where I am concerned.




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Re: Drum Restoration - making hoops

Postby Jaisen Torres » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:12 am

good stuff... rigo , will , joey , ghost check this out....
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