The first thing you need to do with a new gourd is
clean the outside. This can be done with scouring pads and water,
but I use a power wire wheel at my bench grinder. Any small damage
will be disguised by decoration later on. You need a perfectly flat
surface to glue the membrane onto.
I found that the easiest way to
get a straight flat surface is to glue the gourd to a board, then
slice it on the bandsaw. Then you glue down a sheet of 100 grit
sandpaper and rub the bandsawed edge until you remove the teeth
marks. Once it is perfectly flat you can secure the membrane with CA
glue. I like medium thick CA for this.
Cutting the bottom off the gourd on my band saw
leaves a flat bottom surface to glue the membrane to. I tried using
a sabre saw but the surface was not nearly flat, and it was a lot of
work trying to sand it flat.
This is what you see when the gourd is opened up. A
lot of dried tissue and seeds are inside, and they must all be
cleaned out. I am told that this stuff is not good for your
I did not wear a mask, and I am now coughing as
a result. Wear a mask or a respirator.
I made several cleaning tools out of box end
wrenches. I ground the inside using a rotary stone, then ground the
outside to a knife edge on my grinding wheel.
Then I sharpened it
just like I would sharpen a knife. There are several different tools
for sale made for the express purpose of cleaning gourds. I bought
them all, and didn't like any of them. They are all rotary tools,
like wire brushes or stones on a ball. They all leave a crappy
Here I have used my box end tool to scrape the
inside stuff off the gourd.