Djembe Manufacture: The Process of Making a Djembe Drum

Djembe Manufacture: The Process of Making a Djembe Drum

Djembe drums have become increasingly popular around the world, and for good reason. These drums produce a unique sound that has captured the hearts of musicians and music enthusiasts alike. However, have you ever wondered how a Djembe is made? In this article, we’ll explore the process of Djembe manufacture, from the selection of materials to the finishing touches.

Materials Used in Djembe Manufacture

Traditionally, Djembe drums are made from hardwood and goat skin. The hardwood used is typically a dense and durable wood such as hardwood from the Lenke tree, also known as the “djalla” tree. However, other types of hardwood, such as mahogany, can also be used. The goat skin is used for the drumhead and is typically sourced from a goat that is between six months to one year old.

In addition to hardwood and goat skin, other materials used in Djembe manufacture include:

  • Iron rings: used to tighten and tune the drumhead
  • Rope: used to hold the drumhead in place and tune the drum
  • Wax: used to seal the ends of the rope to prevent it from unraveling

The Process of Making a Djembe Drum

Step 1: Selection of Materials

The first step in Djembe manufacture is the selection of materials. The wood and goat skin must be of high quality to ensure that the resulting drum is of excellent quality. The wood is typically cut into logs, while the goat skin is removed from the goat and stretched over a wooden frame to dry.

Step 2: Carving the Drum Body

Once the materials are selected, the drum body is carved. The carver begins by selecting a log of hardwood and shaping it into a cylinder using a chainsaw or other carving tools. The carver then hollows out the cylinder using chisels and other tools, leaving a thin layer of wood on the inside to create a resonant chamber.

Step 3: Attaching the Drumhead

After the drum body is carved, the goat skin is stretched over the top of the drum and held in place using iron rings. The rings are tightened to tune the drumhead, and the excess skin is cut away.

Step 4: Adding the Rope and Wax

Next, rope is attached to the rings and wrapped around the drum, holding the drumhead in place and allowing it to be tuned. The ends of the rope are then sealed with wax to prevent them from unraveling.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

The final step in Djembe manufacture is the addition of finishing touches. The drum is sanded and polished to smooth out any rough edges and enhance the beauty of the wood. The carver may also add decorative carvings or other embellishments to the drum body.


The process of Djembe manufacture is a complex and time-consuming one that requires skill and precision. Each step in the process plays an essential role in creating a high-quality drum that produces the distinct sound that Djembes are known for. Whether you’re a musician, music enthusiast, or simply curious about the process, understanding the manufacture of a Djembe drum can deepen your appreciation for this incredible instrument.


  1. What type of wood is used in Djembe manufacture?

Traditionally, hardwood from the Lenke tree is used in Djembe manufacture, but other types of hardwood such as mahogany can also be used.

  1. How is the goat skin for the drumhead obtained?

The goat skin is typically sourced from a goat that is between six months to one year old.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *