Pliable or floppy? While we stayed very busy this summer, there was still time for experimentation and innovation. Occasionally, I would end up with a skin on a conga that had a recess/dip in the playing surface. Drying skins with drums on their sides with a fan blowing on the underside worked pretty well. The biggest success came from soaking the skin in cold water until just pliable- not saturated and floppy. My typical soak time for a 2mm skin is now down to 4-5 hours. In this state the skin retains more strength, as the collagen proteins are still tightly wound. Cold water allows the skin to retain most, if not all, of its tallow for a supple feel and warm tones. I discovered mounting a dryer, yet pliable skin with a collar/neck height of 1/2″ allowed for greater tension. At 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity, I increased the collar height by 1/4″ (1/8″ every 24 hours).
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