Damaru maintenance

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javier.espinoza.t
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Damaru maintenance

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:57 pm

Hello all,

I would like to know how to do maintenance to a damaru which leather is not painted. For keeping the wood and leather as best as possible, etc.

Also how to prevent its unnecesary deterioration.

Thanks!
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Fortyeightvows
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:15 am

One of my teachers recommends putting it in the sun sometimes. And storing it vertically.

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Grigoris
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Grigoris » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:28 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:15 am
One of my teachers recommends putting it in the sun sometimes. And storing it vertically.
Putting it in the sun ensures that it does not accumulate moisture. Leather gets moldy and rots if it stays wet to long.

Store the damaru in a cool and dry place when you are not using it. If it is in a case I would recommend you throw in some packets of silicon (like the ones you find in shoe boxes when you buy new leather shoes).

The problem with putting the damaru in the sun, especially in warmer climates like here in Southern Europe, is that the skin becomes tense and then when it cools goes slack. If you do this enough times the skin will de-tune and become permanently slack and need to be heated every time before use. It will also dry out the skin excessively and cause it to tear.

The wood, if it is not varnished, needs to be treated with wax to stop it going brittle. If it is varnished it does not need anything to be done with it. You could also consider varnishing it yourself. It is not difficult, just be careful not to get the varnish on the skin.

If the skin does de-tune, the best (and almost permanent method) to fix it is to cut out two pieces of tissue the size and shape of the drum heads. Wet the paper and stick it on to the skins. Leave the damaru in a room at room temperature, until the paper dries and falls off. The skin will be perfectly tuned again.

Do not use alcohol on the skin as it dries it out and makes it brittle.

Regularly rub the skins with the palm of your hand. This will transfer oil from your hand to the drum skin keeping it supple. Do not oil the skin or use moisturiser.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Bristollad
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Bristollad » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:11 am

What about replacing a torn drum skin?

I've been given to use a damaru that was previously damaged and then stored in a leaking freight container for a few years. Thankfully it hasn't gone moldy but the tear needs "fixing".

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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Grigoris » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:49 am

Bristollad wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:11 am
What about replacing a torn drum skin?

I've been given to use a damaru that was previously damaged and then stored in a leaking freight container for a few years. Thankfully it hasn't gone moldy but the tear needs "fixing".
You have to replace it. Tears cannot really be repaired. Most good instrument shops will be able to point you to somebody that can help.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Bristollad
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Bristollad » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:55 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:49 am
Bristollad wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:11 am
What about replacing a torn drum skin?

I've been given to use a damaru that was previously damaged and then stored in a leaking freight container for a few years. Thankfully it hasn't gone moldy but the tear needs "fixing".
You have to replace it. Tears cannot really be repaired. Most good instrument shops will be able to point you to somebody that can help.
thank you.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:13 pm

Thank you all.

To add something, i have being looking for instructions and, in general, the drums skin care does not require oil rubbing and the cracks on the wood are mostly caused by drastic temperature changes (example day/night temps., weather, etc.). Temperature fluctuations are to be avoided.

:)
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aussiebloke
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by aussiebloke » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:55 pm

I have a very old drum that was kindly given to me by one of my teachers. In winter the skin can become quite slack. A ngakpa lama showed me the best treatment for this. Get ash from a wood fire and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the skin of the drum and let it dry. Then wipe the dry powder off. The drum should stay as new for a year or three, depending on the weather conditions.

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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Grigoris » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:11 pm

aussiebloke wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:55 pm
I have a very old drum that was kindly given to me by one of my teachers. In winter the skin can become quite slack. A ngakpa lama showed me the best treatment for this. Get ash from a wood fire and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the skin of the drum and let it dry. Then wipe the dry powder off. The drum should stay as new for a year or three, depending on the weather conditions.
The wet tissue technique is basically the same thing, with less mess! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Palzang Jangchub
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Mon May 07, 2018 2:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:11 pm
aussiebloke wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:55 pm
I have a very old drum that was kindly given to me by one of my teachers. In winter the skin can become quite slack. A ngakpa lama showed me the best treatment for this. Get ash from a wood fire and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the skin of the drum and let it dry. Then wipe the dry powder off. The drum should stay as new for a year or three, depending on the weather conditions.
The wet tissue technique is basically the same thing, with less mess! :smile:
Ash from a wood fire sounds much more charnel, though! :tongue:

Does the wet tissue method revitalize the skins for up to few years as well, or are the effects more temporary?
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

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རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Grigoris » Mon May 07, 2018 5:00 pm

Palzang Jangchub wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:59 pm
Ash from a wood fire sounds much more charnel, though! :tongue:

Does the wet tissue method revitalize the skins for up to few years as well, or are the effects more temporary?
I haven't had to do it again. Basically it will acclimatise the drum to the local environment. Unless you move from the seaside to the desert or a mountain top, you probably won't need to do it again.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Silent Bob1
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Silent Bob1 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:31 pm

I use this very sparingly once or twice a year: https://www.elderly.com/waltons-bodhran ... -cream.htm

Happy Thunderbolt
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Happy Thunderbolt » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:59 pm

Grigoris your advice is good. Both the wet tissue and the wet ash seem to accord what I was taught by Lama Jampa Monlam, a very old and long-standing Chod practitioner. Yes, putting in the sun does dry it but when it goes cold it does tend to go floppy again. Jampa Monlam recommended that when you wet your drum skin , and he recommended giving it a good rub with a very damp cloth from the center, right out to within an inch of the rim, but to do it when you know the weather will be damp for the following few days. Put the drum out of the sun, into a cold place during those days and it will dry - but it will dry tight for damp weather days. On sunny days it will be extra tight. This was an instruction he inherited from his teachers and one that he used in monsoon Nepal over many years.

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Lingpupa
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Lingpupa » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:01 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:15 am
One of my teachers recommends putting it in the sun sometimes. And storing it vertically.
I'm late to this thread, but as has already been said, I'd be very cautious about putting it in the sun, unless it's a really weak and watery sun such as you typically get when it's not raining in Ireland. You could so easily overdo it and ruin the thing. If the drum really has been too damp, then keeping it in a really dry, slightly warm place and being patient would have the best chance of success.

One of the first rules for looking after almost any musical instrument is to keep it out of the sun. (Along with keeping it out of excessive damp, out of excessive dryness, out of children's hands, out of friends' hands and not sitting on it.)
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

Happy Thunderbolt
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by Happy Thunderbolt » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:53 pm

Happy Thunderbolt wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:59 pm
Put the drum out of the sun, into a cold place during those days and it will dry - but it will dry tight for damp weather days. On sunny days it will be extra tight. This was an instruction he inherited from his teachers and one that he used in monsoon Nepal over many years.
EEK :o Did I really write that!! What I meant to write was DON'T PUT IT IN THE SUN, BUT INTO A COLD DRY PLACE DURING THOSE DAMP DAYS.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Damaru maintenance

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:12 am

Happy Thunderbolt wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:53 pm
Happy Thunderbolt wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:59 pm
Put the drum out of the sun, into a cold place during those days and it will dry - but it will dry tight for damp weather days. On sunny days it will be extra tight. This was an instruction he inherited from his teachers and one that he used in monsoon Nepal over many years.
EEK :o Did I really write that!! What I meant to write was DON'T PUT IT IN THE SUN, BUT INTO A COLD DRY PLACE DURING THOSE DAMP DAYS.
i understood that! :)
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