Tommy_D's Gear

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So here's a quick update for how my Tama Kit is going. I have all the old wrap off all the drums and all the interiors are stained and coated with a couple coats of tung oil. All the new wrap is cut and ready to be installed. I have wrapped, cut new edges, and drilled the hardware mounting holes for the bass drum. I test fit some of my new/old lugs and so far I think its looking really good. I'm excited to see how the entire kit will look when its all wrapped and nice shiny chrome is put on it. Here's some progress shots.
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
As an update to my other kits, I just about have the 2Box Ddrum A2E kit all finished up. I still have to solder and wire a couple jacks for the floor toms, but other than that, its all set up and working okay for now. I'm having a few trigger issues with the snare drum, but it sounds like those will be fixed with the new update 2Box is beta testing right now. In the mean time I am just going to deal with the lack of sensitivity on the snare and not try to do anything intricate or with any real dynamic control. Maybe just some straight up rock for now.

Here are some crappy cell phone shots of the kit to give you an idea of what that looks like.
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
And last but not least, the Gretsch Catalina Maple kit that I previously converted to my Roland A2E , that one is becoming my acoustic kit and the Tama kit (above) is changing to electric.

Currently the Gretsch is in the process of being disassembled. In that process, however, I took a closer look at the bearing edges. I didn't pay much of any attention to them when I did the conversion because they didn't matter to the sound of the kit. Well, lets just say that they aren't good. Its nothing from the conversion that damaged them. Its just shoddy workmanship and crappy cost savings measures that lead to some of the worst looking edges in the history of drum building. Below are photos of just the 10" tom and how its edges look. Needless to say, I am going to have to cut all new edges in to these drums and clean up the mess Gretsch left me. Fortunately, I have heard from drum builders that once new edges are cut the drums really sing. So shell construction seems to be fine with these drums. The finish is great, but the bearing edges were just ripped through and no one cared to spend a few minutes trying to do the job right. Oh well. They should sound real nice when I'm done with them.
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Well, I have made a bit of progress on the Gretsch kit this past weekend. All the tom shells have had their bearing edges sanded down and have received their first cuts (outside roundover). I hope to have the inside 30 degree cut finished on them by the end of the week. Hopefully I can get a bit of time at night to work on this. I still need to sand down the bass and snare drum shells, but I'm holding off on those until I'm done with these. I have way too many drums that are disassembled and scattered all throughout the basement. Hardware, rims, heads, etc. all over the place. Its a mess. An organized mess, but still a mess.

After the edges are cut, they will get hand sanded smooth, shellaced/sanded, shellaced/sanded, then waxed. I'm thinking of tung oiling the insides as well, but I'm not sure yet. Its just another thing to do, and it involves sanding the shell interiors, which I'm not looking forward to. I may still do it just because I have all the hardware off the kit at this time. I don't know. I guess I have a little time to think about it.

The Tama kit is coming along as well. Got the last wraps all set up for installation. I just need to score the back side of them so they bend a bit easier around the smaller diameter shells. Then I get to do all their edges as well. Ugg... Photos of that will come in the future. For now, here are some Gretsch progress photos. (sorry for the crappy cell phone pics.)
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Thanks, Fritz. I don't think I will get to cutting the inside 30 degree cuts until the weekend. I was tinkering with the 10 inch last night trying to clean out the glue from a void on the interior plys. I'm going to fill the gap as best as I can (hopefully from top to bottom) with new wood and then edge the drum. It is amazing just how shoddy these drums were built. The edges were crap and there are gaps on the inner plys in 3 of the 5 toms (still need to check the bass and snare drum). So lots of cleanup to get these drums up and running as best as they can. Fortunately, I got the kit pretty cheap.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Well, I've made some progress on the Catalina kit. The bearing edges and interior refinishing has been completed on all the toms (8, 10, 12, 14, 16). I still have the snare and bass drum to do, but I'm currently assembling these drums before I begin disassembling the other drums. Lots of cleaning and waxing going on. Total freshening up of everything. I'm even waxing the hoops.

So I have a few photos to show of the progress.

New bearing edges. Vintage round over with 30 degree inner cut.


Since bearing edges are really hard to photograph, here is another that may show them better.


The interior has received 2 coats of clear shellac and has been sanded to 800 grit. Baby butt smooth.


Factory finish is beautiful so I debadged the shells, waxed them (and the hardware) and put it back together. Much classier looking now.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Well, I finally wrapped up the toms. All shells and hardware are all cleaned and waxed. All put back together again. I will try to grab some photos of the toms on Tuesday. There really shined up nicely. I still need to get to the bass drum and snare. That's the next big adventure. For now I'm just playing with the tuning of the toms. They sing really well and produce lovely tones. They almost sound like a note is being played. Very clean and clear. Distinct tones, nice resonance and no crazy ringing. I'm going to give the heads a day or so to stay under tension and mold a bit better to the bearing edges. Then I'm going to play a bit with the tuning so I can get some more grumble out of the floor toms and blend the rack toms in a bit. My plan is to have the 8" and 10" toms above the snare, with the 12" to the left of the hi-hat and both floors to my right. So I want to get a good tonal blend from the 10" rack to the 14" floor. If Benny Greb can do it, so can I.

Fun times. Still working on the Tama kit. I haven't forgot about it. That one will also be awesome when its done. Probably cooler than the Gretsch kit.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Those came out really nice. It's always gratifying to reap the benefits of one's own labor.

When I was shopping for a kit, the Catalinas were close to the top of my list (close second to a Signet 105). When I finally found one locally to play, I thought that the shells and lacquer finish were really nice. It was only after looking at the edges and construction that I realized I would have to do a lot of work to get them into the shape I would expect from my kit.

Luckily a used Renown came in and saved me.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Those came out really nice. It's always gratifying to reap the benefits of one's own labor.

When I was shopping for a kit, the Catalinas were close to the top of my list (close second to a Signet 105). When I finally found one locally to play, I thought that the shells and lacquer finish were really nice. It was only after looking at the edges and construction that I realized I would have to do a lot of work to get them into the shape I would expect from my kit.

Luckily a used Renown came in and saved me.
Yeah, as they come from the factory they are "good from a far, but far from a good." Fortunately, this kit cost me less than half the price of what a Renown kit would have cost me at that time, so I'm okay putting in some time and energy to make them better. Ultimately, it took more work than what many people would have put in, or even spent, to get these toms up to speed (though I do need to work on the floor tom tuning a bit). In the end, I probably could have picked up the Renown and probably been better off, but the knowledge I gained by reworking these shells is something I can use in future projects, even custom stuff I may want to build on my own.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So I got around to cleaning up my old Tama Rockstar 14 x 6.5 chrome over steel snare drum. Everything taken apart, cleaned, polished and waxed. It doesn't look too bad for a 23 year old drum. I also installed the Boom Alley Drums B.A.D Knocker batter hoop on it. Its a pretty cool hybrid steel/wood hoop that allows you to have either a wood cross stick sound, or rotate your wrist just a bit and you can have the regular steel cross stick. Pretty nice idea from Dave Hanzel at Boom Alley.
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Well, in an effort to keep all my drumming gear and building exploits in one place, I will add to this thread with some new acquisitions I made in the last month.

I purchased 4 stave drum shells to make some cool snare drums with. In the order of appearance: 7x13 Walnut, 5.5x14 Honduran Rosewood, 5x14 Pecan, and 6x14 Zebrawood. Plan is to build the Pecan first as a tester, then the Zebra, then Walnut and tackle the Rosewood last.

I still have the Tama and Gretsch projects to finish up as well, but I suspect late summer will be a building frenzy for me.
 

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Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So a bit of "building" happened last night. I built a router jig to mill out the inside of shells. I used a test shell to check the rig. Works really well. Plans are to use this jig to mill out the centers of the shells and leave milled in re-rings. I'm thinking ~1/4" thickness for the centers of the shells. Maybe a bit thinner if things go well with the test shell.

During the process:


After the process:
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So I cut the shell down to 5 1/2" depth and sanded the edges flat. My lord Bloodwood is dense stuff. It was like sanding iron. I probably should have gone out and picked up some 40 grit paper, but I had a new pack of 60 which worked okay. Took a long time though. Once that was done I went to town with the router again. Took the middle of the shell to ~1/4" thick. My depth gauge may be a 32nd off or the little bit of scalloping is throwing off the gauge. I'm calling it 1/4" thick. Re-rings are 15/16" tall (accidentally went just a fraction too deep and had to just roll with it). Here's a photo of the inside:



So now I need to look at how I want to finish the shell. I have done shellac with a couple other projects which is super easy, so I want to experiment with something new. Maybe some wipe on poly sanded and buffed to a high gloss? Then shellac the interior.

So that's where I'm at. I have all the hardware to actually build a drum with this shell, so I'm going to go balls deep and take this shell to completion. I might as well do every step of the process on this shell before moving on to my other shells.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So I worked on another shell tonight. I took a stab at milling the Pecan shell with some re-rings, but the grain of that wood was just catching the bit and making the router sled walk. Unfortunately this led to inaccurate re-rings and I had to abandon them on this shell. Instead , I just milled the whole shell a bit thinner down to 3/8":



This wood is very prone to having the router bit catch so I increased the speed a touch, which helped, but also made the wood even more susceptible to burning, so it took some back and forth along with many shallow passes to get the shell cleaned up without burns. Overall a success I would say.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Well, I just keep acquiring more drums, disassembling them, cleaning them up, polishing, then reassembling them.

This recent purchase was a set of snare drums from Drumcraft. I picked up the Limited Edition Lignum Bubinga, Series 8 Lignum Beech, and Series 8 Lignum Birch. I'll get photos of the finished products, but here's a photo of the Beech shell after I have cleaned up the interior and the bearing edges:



Sorry for the grainy photo, it was off my cell phone. Real photos of the finished drums will come when I have all 3 complete.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Here are some photos of the Drumcraft Series 8 Limited Bubinga and Lignum Beech snare drums:

















 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm soooo late to this party but I had to say much respect man. I would love to have the equipment and skills to do what you're doing. The stuff looks terrific.
 
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