This drum is fixed.

   Well I tried to work quickly and get the Valje conga fixed and repaired for the rumba today, but it turns out today's rumba is cancelled. Oh well.

   I had several pictures taken of this conga during the repair process, but somehow my pictures folder got dumped into the trashed and deleted, so I'm scrambling to find some sort of deleted file recovery program. I want to recover about 1,000 photos of mine, so if any of you out there in the blogosphere could hellp me out it would be appreciated.

   Anyways, onto the repair. Conga repair really isn't all that difficult:
  1. You probably want to remove all the hardware from your drum. So take it off and mark where each lug plate goes, so it will fit back into the same spot. It is also a good idea to mark the crown and skin, so that can be placed in the same spot as before as well.
  2. Now that the hardware is off you need to glue the crack. First prep the crack by lightly sanding it to remove the old glue. If the crack is not on a seam, you don't need this step. Try not to remove any wood, just remove the old glue.
  3. You may need to spread the crack open a little wider to get the glue inside all the way. I use a thin putty knife and also a syringe to shoot the glue into the crack.
  4. The glue you use is up to you. All wood glues work. I've used Titebond and Gorilla glue. They both have advantages. For this last fix I used Titebond glue.
  5. The hardest part to fixing a crack is applying enough pressure to keep it closed. The best method I know of is getting some lengths of rope and tying loops into each end. Place this length of rope around the drum and then put a drumstick into the loops. Twist the drumstick around so the rope tightens around the drum. Tighten it until the crack is closed and glue is oozing out. 3 of these rope clamps are good, one for each end of the crack and one for the middle. Smaller cracks might need just 2.
  6. The one problem with using the rope is that it wants to slide down the drum because of the drum's shape. I overcome this problem with string. Loop some string through the holes for the lugplates and tie the ends together at the length you want to place the rope. The string will hold the rope in place and keep it from sliding down the drum.
  7. The drum sticks will also want to unwind so you need to prevent that. You can tie these off with string as well in a similar matter to the rope. Or you can lean them against something like a table top.
  8. When the glue dries. The repair is done. Your going to have some glue to remove. The Gorilla glue usually comes right off with a razor blade, Titebond usually needs sanding.
  9. Refinishing depends on the drum. My drums are all natural wood. This Valje got a coat of Watco Danish Oil in Natural finish. The Watco is very easy to apply, looks great and dries fast. It is easily repaired as well.
  10. When it comes to placing everything back onto the drum, you may want to soften your skin a little to get a nice tight seal again. Just flip the skin upside down and put about 1/2 inch of water in it. After 30 minutes or so the underside will be a little soft and ready to put back on the drum.
  11. When the hardware is off is a good time to put a little lube on the threads of your lugs. I use bicycle chain lube, because I'm a cyclist. Sewing machine oil, WD40, lug lube oil from LP all work as well.
    So that is it. It really is not a difficult thing to fix your conga drum. I think it's a lot of fun. Now I'm going to be busy trying to get my deleted photos back. Wish me luck.

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