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  #1  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:33 PM
lazer lazer is offline
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Default fire damaged cymbals

I have been given some cymbals that were stored in a plastic case,then caught in a fire.
The plastic has melted into the grooves and the heat has warped and discolored the metal slightly.
Does anyone know how I can clean them up?
there is a K ,A and a set of 14" paiste hh's
Acetone?
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2011, 05:51 PM
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larryace larryace is online now
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

They are probably useless. Heat messes with the temper of the metal, so I understandand. They will likely crack when you play them. Would be interested to see if yours do indeed crack if you play them. Getting melted plastic from the grooves? Acetone might work. If it doesn't, Goof-Off? They should be safe. Be careful. Highly flammable. Don't be smoking anything nearby. I wouldn't heat the cymbal anymore to melt the plastic from the grooves though, remove it at a normal temperature with a solvent somehow.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:01 PM
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paistepower92 paistepower92 is offline
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

They may be ruined, you'll have to see after you've cleaned them. But, I'd keep them because they might sound or look interesting enough to become art or an interesting effect. Why throw them out if you could put them to use another way.
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2011, 11:06 PM
mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
They are probably useless. Heat messes with the temper of the metal, so I understandand. They will likely crack when you play them. Would be interested to see if yours do indeed crack if you play them. Getting melted plastic from the grooves? Acetone might work. If it doesn't, Goof-Off? They should be safe. Be careful. Highly flammable. Don't be smoking anything nearby. I wouldn't heat the cymbal anymore to melt the plastic from the grooves though, remove it at a normal temperature with a solvent somehow.
The temperature could well affect the cymbals. It also depends how rapidly they were cooled. If they were suddenly exposed to water (or even cold air) the cooling process would have been rapid and that would create a brittle cymbal (tempering). Cymbals are generally heated molten and rolled during manufacture and that can create brittleness already if heavy-pressure rollers are used. Re-heating may well actually soften the cymbals but in doing so significantly 'deaden' them.

It's a hard one to call on whether they'll be harder or softer. Cast bronze is a fairly brittle material the start with but they would probably need at least a re-hammer if they were too soft, just to get the crystalline structure back into shape.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:17 PM
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Deathmetalconga Deathmetalconga is offline
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

I don't think you'll ever be able to completely remove the plastic stains, as bronze is porous and the plastic has physically lodged in the pores by now. I would carefully scrape off as much as I could, then lightly sand and buff the cymbals. I do not think chemicals are going to help. You're going to have to use mechanical and abrasive methods to get the plastic off.

I'd be more concerned about the sound. Plastic melts at fairly low temperatures - bags around 250 degrees F - so there's a good chance they are undamaged. But you said they are warped, so they could have been exposed to higher heat for longer periods; the melting point of a substance is lower than its burning point. The only way to know for sure is to clean them up as best you can and play them.

Like others have said, if their sound has changed, it might not have changed in a bad way.
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2011, 10:23 AM
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Nuka Nuka is offline
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

I guess you could always trying using them?

See what they sound like, could be interesting for accents etc but not as your main run.

Though they'd certaintly make you unique!
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2011, 03:38 PM
jkevn jkevn is offline
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

I don't really know what will clean the melted plastic off....other than elbow grease, but I know this;

Bronze melts at around 2100 degrees F.

Plastics generally start to melt in the 400 - 500 degree F range.

Most house fires stay in the neighborhood of 1000-1200 degrees F.

The fact that there is melted plastic remaining on the cymbals proves that the temp never got much over the plastics melting point. It would have burned off if the temp got high enough to damage the cymbals.

The bronze can clearly begin to undergo changes long before it reaches its melting point. I think it is well worth the effort to clean them.
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  #8  
Old 11-24-2011, 07:03 PM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: fire damaged cymbals

Get a brass wire cup brush ( assuming the finish is all black and nasty already) for a cordless drill and go over the whole thing to remove everything and give it a bright, uniform pattern of scratches. It could be re-polished if the sound is worth the energy.

Hat do they sound like now.?
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