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I've seen metal bodied dumbeks. I would think those would be both more durable and lighter than ceramic. Also, I'd think that the sound would be "sharper" from a metal body than a leather one.

Here is a Florilegium file on hardening leather. Once upon a time there was quite a stir over whether hardened leather for armor was made by just heating the leather, impregnating it with wax or something else. Wax turns out not what was used or should be used for armor, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for a drum or perhaps one of the other techniques.

armor-leather-msg (48K) 2/ 8/08 Making leather armor.
http://www.florilegium.org/files/COMBAT/armor-leather-msg.html

There is also this file in the PERFORMANCE ARTS section, but I'm not sure if it has much to help you. But perhaps worth a look.
drums-msg (36K) 12/ 3/11 Medieval drums and percussion instruments. replacing drumheads.
http://www.florilegium.org/files/PERFORMANCE-ARTS/drums-msg.html

Stefan

On Jan 10, 2014, at 10:49 AM, Jenna <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I was just wondering, has anyone ever tried making the body of a dumbek out of hardened leather?  For a small sized drum for traveling, it might be an idea.  I remember how nerve wracking it is to try to travel with a ceramic drum, so heavy and breakable.
> 
> I don't know what the sound would be like.  It would be better to put the smooth side of the leather on the inside to keep the sound cleaner.  
> 
> I've drummed idly on a leathern jack before.  If I knew anything about hardening leather I'd be tempted to try to make a drum this way.  Just the body of the drum in hardened hide, put the head on separate of some more appropriate material.  If it worked it would be keen.
> 
> Jenna

--------
THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          [log in to unmask]
http://www.linkedin.com/in/marksharris
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****