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Thread: Conga Repair / Refinishing

  1. #1

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    Red face Conga Repair / Refinishing

    I live in South East Florida and having a hard time finding a qualified person to repair cracks along the staves of my vintage Gon Bop Conga and Tumba.
    More so the Tumba. You would think living so close to Miami and so many conga's and hand drums and the Latin music scene here there would be all kind of folks who could do a pro repair job. Can anyone refer me to someone between Orlando and Miami? I am in Port St Lucie. So the closer the better.
    Thanks Thanks Thanks

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Conga Repair / Refinishing

    I don't know anyone personally around that area, you might check out the congaplace board though, I know a few of those guys live down there. Repairing cracks is pretty simple though, you don't have to be a master woodworker to get it done. All you need is a couple of thick ropes, some Tightbond III wood glue, and a metal pipe or something to turn the ropes with. Tie the ropes around the belly of the drum, make a loop around the pipe and twist it until the tension closes the crack. Ratchet straps are another good option, strap it around the drum and tighten it closed, check the rating on the straps though, don't chince out and go with cheapy ones because they will snap. A syringe works good for getting the glue into the cracks. Leave the ropes tensioned for atleast 2 days to dry.

    Some cracks are easier than others, I've found that the mahogany gon bops are much much easier to repair than the oak models. The glue they used on these old GBs wasn't the best, its pretty tough to find vintage gon bops without splits or previous repairs.
    Last edited by Gretschhead; 10-19-2009 at 09:57 AM.

  3. #3

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    Red face Re: Conga Repair / Refinishing

    Mine are the Oak California series. I bought them new in 1980. Still sound and play great. It just bugs me the one crack in the Tumba. I tried to repair it about 15 years ago and stupidly used epoxy and those metal straps you tighten with a screw Driver. It didn't take. The epoxy is not to much really. I can probably scrap what little is there off, hopefully. I just hope It will still close tightly if I scrape it a little. The rope technique sounds pretty good to me. I would just feel better having someone with some experience around to help me or just pay someone a fair pice to do it. Here is a link to a couple of pics. What do you think???? That wood recessed ring concerns me too.

    [IMG]

    http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l37/1vibes/FD801030.jpg[/IMG]

  4. #4

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    http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l3...s/FD801031.jpg

    http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l3...s/FD801030.jpg

    Here are a couple of pics. The wooden recessed ring concerns me a little.

    I wish I had someone to help me as I tried to repair it about 15 years ago and stupidly used epoxy and metal straps you tighten with a screwdriver. The rope technique sounds pretty good to me. maybe I can scrape what little epoxy is left on there and hope the fit will be ok. What do you think????

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Conga Repair / Refinishing

    Nice looking drums Vibes! The oak drums sound spectacular, and the hardware is far superior to the other lines. Like I said though, in my experience the oak drums tend to be a little harder to repair. The wood is very dense compared to the mahogany, and it takes a lot of tension to get it closed. I snapped quite a few ratchet straps and went through several gauges of rope trying to get a split closed up on my oak tumba. I ended up buying the heaviest rope they had at home depot, enough to hold 1000lbs or something, and I still only managed to get it closed to about a 1mm gap.

    Most of the artisan makers also do repairs, check with Matt Smith at Ritmo, Jay Barrek at Skin on Skin, Ralph Flores at Valje/Resolution, or Mario at Isla (last I heard he is based out of South America now, so shipping to him will probably not be cheap). They will probably charge you a little bit more than some joe shmo, but they will do it RIGHT.

  6. #6

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    Yeah, shipping would be expensive. That's why I was trying to find someone in driving distance. Within 100 miles. There is a guy in Sarasota who does this kind of work. Has a big percussion shop and repairs drums. A woodworker who used to build boats. I wonder if I took the hardware off and shipped it, it might save a few bucks or do you think they need everything to repair and make sure all is well?
    My matching bongo's I also purchased are in immaculate condition.
    I have some nice Gator conga bags that will keep them safe now. Wish I had them when I got my drums.

  7. #7

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    Thanks Leedy 2 Ok, I am excited now. I hope I can do this. I will try! Let's do the Tumba first as I am using the Conga on the weekends and don't want to get stuck without a drum to play on my gig.

    Thank you so much for helping me.
    I will let you know when I have these basic tools and ready to sand.
    Should I hand sand because I am not a carpenter and would hate to use something or sand to much. If you will bear with me and let me do this in baby steps we can make some nice drums.

    VIbes

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Conga Repair / Refinishing

    Vibes,
    Nice Gon Bops, definitely worth repairing. Once you get the crack repaired the rest will be cake. I have seen Oak Gon Bops like yours refinished with Danish oil, looks really sweet, probably a lot easier than the stain/ poly. Be sure to show the progress
    L4C

  9. #9

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    Ok, have all my instructions from Leedy. Have all the hardware off the drum . will post a pic. For some reason my latest post have not appeared on here.
    Thanks for all the suggestions and this group effort will be rewarding.

  10. #10

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    Will be glueing the Tumba this afternoon and starting on the Conga with the Steel wool this morning.

    http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l3...s/FD801037.jpg

    Going to leave them natural.

    Guess I will start with the steel wooll. I have a pack with 3 grades.
    Will use the middle grade then the fine.

    Any suggestions on this stage?

  11. #11

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    Here they are with the Tumba repaired, sanded, and ready to start on a finish.

  12. #12

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    After 3 coats of Danish Oil. May put some more on there. The wood really soaked it up.
    When it cures and is dry and hard I am going to Put a hard clear coating on.

  13. #13

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    Man.... the Gon Bops are starting to look pretty sweet! Good job on the repairs VIbes

  14. #14

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    Thanks, I still have to put a lacquer finish on them. I had put the hardware back on the conga to play Sat night. The pic Leedy posted. Have cleaned the hardware and bought new nuts and washers for the outside hardware.
    Put a final coat of Danish oil on this evening and going to let that cure until I Lacquer Thursday evening. Contacted Gon Bob about getting some new badges but because of counterfit issues they declined to help me out. Leedy suggested I contact a trophy shop to make me some. Leedy has helped me a lot. I would have never known what to do to repair and refinish them. I am really enjoying working on them.

  15. #15

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    Cool Re: Conga Repair / Refinishing



    VIbes, those Gon Bops are real gone, bro'! Great job!
    keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!

    Charlie

    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854

    "There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value." --In memory of Frank "fiacovaz" Iacovazzi

    "Maybe your drums can be beat, but you can't."--Jack Keck

  16. #16

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    Nice job Vibes, love me some Gon Bops!

  17. #17

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    There Finished!

    Thanks to Leedy for helping me with the repair, luv4congas for the Danish Oil suggestion, Gretschhead for his input.

    I put 3 coats of Spar Polyurethane on top of the 3 rubbings of cured and dried Danish oil.




  18. #18

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    They look like new Vibes! I'm a huge fan of danish oil, the results are always stunning! Oak Gon Bops are without a doubt my favorite congas ever, you have a gem of a set there my friend!

  19. #19

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    Beautiful Congas VIbes!!
    ~BWB~

    ~Sabian - Mapex - Pro-Mark~

  20. #20

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    Hi. this is a really old thread, but I'm trying to repair some issues with my Gon Bops congas also. If Vibes or Leedy could pm me, I'd appreciate it. I'd love to get a copy of those instructions. I'm a newbie here and have not posted enough to be able to pm anyone.

    Also, my conga is about 3/8" out of round. Is there anything that can be done to fix that? Leave it alone?
    Thanks

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