Care of Your Drum

Sweet Medicine Drums are very easy to care for, but there are some considerations that will help your drum to maintain supple skin and tone. Keep in mind that rawhide is a natural, living material and is therefore susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Drums should be oiled every few months with either neatsfoot oil, olive oil or other leather conditioners to prevent cracking.

• IN THE CAR: Never leave your drum in direct sunlight!!! Find a shady spot in the car and cover drum. If you live in a hot dry climate it's best not to leave your drum in the car even for a short time

• IN THE HOUSE: Do not store your drum near a heater, stove, fireplace, or in a location with direct sunlight.

• IN A SWEAT LODGE: It is risky to take your drum into a sweat lodge. Extreme moisture causes the hide to loosen and the wood of the frame drums may warp causing irreparable damage. However, it has been said that some folks take them in for a brief time without problems. Do so at your own risk.

• AROUND CAMPFIRES: Heat from a fire will quickly cause the hide to tighten and the tone to rise. Be mindful. Prolonged exposure will cause the hide to crack or explode. (oh boy, not a happy camper).

• ON THE WALL: When hanging your drum on a wall, choose a spot away from forced air heating vents, heaters and fireplaces. Extreme heat causes natural oils to evaporate and may cause the hide to crack.

• ON A TRIP: A plastic bag could protect your drum when you travel. I recommend our padded drum bags with adjustable shoulder strap for those active travelers.

Note: You can control the tone of your drum to some degree.

In general, heat causes the wood to expand and the hide to contract. Initially, this will raise the tone of your drum. Overexposure to heat will cause the hide to crack. The gentlest, safest way to raise the tone of your drum is to use a hairdryer or place in a sunny window for a few minutes. It's best not to try to play the drum when it is flat or (rippled from to much humidity).

Moisture (extremely humid days, climates with high humidity, rain, hurricanes etc) causes the hide to loosen and the tone to deepen which can be nice except for when you get that dreaded rippled effec t when the drum is responding to an excess of humidity. It's best not to play the drum at this stage, hairdryers won't help so be patient and your drum will be back to perfection when the weather clears. Remember your drum is from nature and is alive, that's why it responds to earth changes. That's a good thing!

Suggestions to deepen tone: Spray with water on backside. Put drum in plastic bag with moist towel for a bit. For the big drums I drape with a moist cloth for a bit. What is a bit? Call us!


For more information, contact
(575) 770-3040