DW-Made Shells or Keller Shells on a DW?


Junior Member
I'm curious as to how to know if an older DW set has Keller shells or not. Someone told me that one can tell if it's a Keller or DW-made shell by looking at the reinforcement ring. If the jointing is straight, it's made by DW. If it looks like interlocking teeth, it's a Keller shell.

Can anyone tell me if this is true or not?



Platinum Member
Looking at the joint of the re-ring sounds like baloney.

But even if it's true, it's a pointless, because you can tell by looking at the badge.

The modern DW-made shells have the modern metalic badge with black writing.

The Keller shells have the black badge with metallic writing.

I think the really old Dw's kits from the 70/80s may have even had another badge (?)

Although, technically, there may be some cross over, as they may not have switched the badge at the exact moment they switch shells, but it's better indicator than not.

Although I don't really think it much matters whom made the shell. Unless you're getting one of their very newer specialty shells, it's not like the specs changed when they went from Keller to their own.

dale w miller

Silver Member
I think you should ask around more, but from what I understand the larger kick drums of 26" or more were still made by Keller even after DW started making their own shells as they did not have those molds.


Silver Member
Last I saw DW re-rings had interlocking teeth. That was as of 1999. I just ordered a set from Oxnard and I learned something interesting.

There are certain shell sizes that they still have to get from Keller either because they don't have the mold in house, or because the mold depth for certain sizes is limited, which is what I ran into. I wanted a 18"x18" bass drum, but it turns out that DW's 18" shell oven only goes as deep as 16". If I wanted an 18" depth, they would have to farm it out to Keller, which meant that certain options would go away, like making it an x-shell or whatever.

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
As I understand it. The Keller shells had a black badge with gold lettering. They did not have a born date. When DW started making it's own shells they used the same type of badge, but with silver lettering and added the born date.



Senior Member
I have some Keller shell DWs that were made for me in 1993. The badges are black on brass. The Keller shells were stamped on the insides with a serial number but there were no born on dates, paper tags, or markings indicating the pitch of the shell, etc.


Platinum Member
I have a 2000 DW kit with black badges but I know for a fact they are not Keller shells. I visited the factory while they where being built.

Mine do have the teeth on the re-ring


Silver Member
If the jointing is straight, it's made by DW. If it looks like interlocking teeth, it's a Keller shell.

Can anyone tell me if this is true or not?
I think you have it back-wards. I have date stamps of 1998 which is about when DW started making there own shells so I emailed them to ask which ones I have. They told me the Keller joints were straight and the DW's had teeth. The date stamp will also give you a clue.


Platinum Member
That was my understanding also.Keller uses lap joints and DW have finger joints,much like Sonor high end kits.

Steve B


Senior Member
Since this came up on another thread, I thought I'd include the info here.

Here's what a Keller flat/butt/lap joint looks like vs a Drum Workshop finger joint.
DW-flat Keller joint.jpg
DW-finger joint.jpg