Alexanderís been making conga drums since 1995 here in Hawaii. His drums are made of Hawaiian woods. The custom Stainless Steel hardware is also manufactured in the shop. Many of the methods go back over 100 years and thatís just one reason the drums are of such quality. Take a tour, for a glimpse of the conga drum construction from beginning shell to finished drum.

Manufacturing Steps in Building Drums
Conga Drum Making

1. Before the lathe
Our staves are prebent by steaming individually and dried before assembly. Then dowelled together as in fine woodworking. Not cutting out staves with a bandsaw on a curve which drastically reduces the strength of the stave because the wood is being cut thru the grain. Like on a cheap rocking chair. You lean back and the rocker brakes off. On our drums the grain remains consistant throughout the stave.

2. Shaping Shell
Dealing with the incredible curly grain we use in our shells, it's necessary to shape by hand rather then automatically. This is how we can offer such beautifully unique woods as apposed to what is normally used in conga making.

3. Sanding the shell
This drum shell will ultimately be sanded to 2000 grit and hand buffed.

4. After the lathe
The beginning of the end.

5. First coat
This is just the first of 6 coats these shells will receive.

6. Tig Welding face plates
Each face plate is handcrafted from flat stainless steel. Then a U bracket has to be bent and attached to each plate. After shaping & bending each individual part they go thru 6 processes of grinding, polishing and buffing before completion.

7. Welding Stainless Steel Crowns
We are tig welding the back side of the ears to the rim. The rim just went thru bending, welding, grinding, turning and shaping on lathe, grinding 4 more times and buffing twice as well as drilling holes. The ears after shaping are 4 steps to completion before attaching. The inside of the rim also goes thru 6 steps to completion.

8. Handcrafted Stainless Conga Hardware
This is all the handcrafted hardware but not all the parts for 3 congas. Fact: It takes twice as long to make hardware as it does to make the drum.

9. Tucking heads
Making a drum head out of a skin.

10. Finished drums
This is what it's all about.

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