Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Project: Timbas Ismael tumbador

So on Friday night I go to this guys house to jam and in his arsenal he has two, vintage Timbas Ismael drums that are in pretty bad shape. They are both cracked in various places, are covered with nicks and gashes, and have lugs with over 10 washers on them, plus old skins. But you know what? On top of that they still sounded pretty sweet, so me being the drum nut that I am, told him I'd take one at a time and see if I can fix them. It won't be done anytime soon, but at least I can work on them little by litte.

A couple of things. The hardware is still good and the rim is heavy duty, so no worries there. The bands seem to be in good shape although rather on the thin side (but they should work fine) and there are several cracks at the staves at the bottom of the drum and one big crack that almost goes from top to bottom. There is no alma, the flesh hoop is a little bent, the lugs may not be salvageable, but fortunately the wood looks like good old fashioned Puerto Rican Caoba (can anyone verify?).



12 comments:

Norka Nadal said...

Was this the original stain on them?

It looks like they could also be made out of Cherry wood instead of oak. Cherry wood was also used a lot in PR too, I have a set of timbas like this that belonged to my dad. The quinto was made with Cherry Wood and the rest with oak. Don't know why but that's how they are.

Norka

Bongos not Bombs said...

Looks like a fun project.

Sentimiento Manana said...

I'm looking forward to getting into it, Geordie...

Norka, I was thinking it might be mahogany, not so much oak since it has a reddish tint to it.

Whatever stain it has is the original...it looks like there was no stain applied just varnish.

It could be Cherry, who knows? I was not aware that they used Cherry too...

Bongos not Bombs said...

It looks more like mahogany than cherry to me, and looks nothing like oak from the pictures. I have quarter sawn and flat sawn oak drums and they look much different

The floor in the picture is probably cherry. The wood on that Timbas looks more like my friends african mahogany Ritmo's than my SOS cherry drums.

My guess is mahogany, or that cahoba I keep hearing about, but I've never actually seen cahoba.

Sentimiento Manana said...

Geordie, unless I've been wrong for a couple of years now,

caoba = mahogany
cedro = cedar
roble = oak
? = cherry

so caoba and mahogany are one and the same

Bongos not Bombs said...

You could be right about that Ralph, I'm certainly not an expert on caoba.

Rumba Clave said...

I've always understood "caoba" to be a Spanish language term for mahogany, and believe it's used beyond just Cuba - not a Spanish speaker, myself, however.

The wood is almost certainly true mahogany - the grain and color in the last photo on the dark staves is exactly what mahogany looks like. I've got Matt Smith African mahogany drums (the African mahogany is a true mahogany and very similar to the Caribbean version), and I used to have a set of mahogany Juniors - this is what mahogany looks like. These don't look anything like cherry (at least N. American cherry) and obviously not oak. Great drums, no doubt, and great project.

James

James said...

Looks exactly like mahogany to me. The color and grain pattern in the darker staves in the bottom photo are quintessentially mahogany. I've got mahogany Matt Smiths, solid shell Cuban mahogany bongos, and used to have solid shell JCR mahogany bongos and mahogany Juniors - it's the same look.

The grain pattern and color look nothing like N. American cherry - cannot speak to the PR version, if it's different.

Great project - good luck with it.

Sentimiento Manana said...

I agree with you guys as well, (James/Rumba Clave), I have a Junior quinto out of mahogany and although the quinto is painted a darker brown the inside (unpainted) staves are almost identical to the Ismael tumbador...

nikolaboy said...

I would love to work on that drum right there.. My God the beauty afterwards.. Wait, beauty of sound that is jajaja..Enjoy it, take your time with it..
Peace

Sentimiento Manana said...

Nick, it's a nice drum, a couple of cracks at the staves, but hopefully I'll get it back in shape soon. Let us know how your drum work is coming along...

Brandon said...

The question of the wood has almost been completely solved by others, but not quite. Yes, these drums are made from caoba, and yes, caoba is the name for mahogany in Puerto Rico. (By the way, I have a set of three panderetas de plena fabricated at Timbas Ismael from the same caoba/mahogany.

Some have asked about a stain or finish that makes these drums look almost cherry in color. Mahogany starts out a very light tan color, but as it ages (and is exposed to UV light) the wood darkens. The deep, rich reddish-brown hue of these drums is typical of vintage aged mahogany. That is part of the inherent beauty of this king of woods.