The art of curing a goatskin (A bodhrán skin)

  • To cure a goatskin a solution of garden lime mixed with water is used.
  • The skin is left soaking in the mix for six or seven days until the skin is soft enough to wash the hair off in a barrel of water.
  • The back of the skin must then be scraped of all membrane and fat so that the skin does not smell when dried.
  • The skin must then be soaked in a pickle solution for two days.
  • The skin is then stretched and dried in the sun if possible. 
  • The sun will help bleach the skin giving a nice white surface favoured by those purchasing a bodhrán.
  • The skin is now ready to stretch onto a rim. This is done while the skin is wet as it is easier to stretch while wet.
  • It can be nailed, stapled or glued. Gluing gives the strongest and neatest finish but the two other methods are quite acceptable.
  • It is often necessary that stapling or nailing is used to get a tighter stretch on the skin.
  • A leather or vinyl band is then attached around the rim using studs and giving a finished look to the bodhrán. 

I'll reply to comments directly ~ Paraic