Hand-hammering and re-creating cymbals

RMS

Senior Member
Okay, I test-hammered the scraps of bronze that I cut off. I think I need a ball-peen hammer, because my claw hammer just seems to score the metal and not dent it enough. So yeah, it's not a round head like you said, just beveled.
 

xkevinx

Senior Member
this is one of the coolest things i've seen around. great work!
i know everyone is asking this and you keep giving the same answer but... if you put together a simple kind of tutorial covering the tools required, a few techniques, etc, i'm sure alot of people would be interested. the art of hand hammering and lathing is very guarded and traditionally passed down through a few select families. it would be awesome to have some light shed on this subject. thanks for the inspiration!!
 
C

Chip

Guest
Is the a particular method of removing sustain? I recieved my new cymbals saturday, for 30 bucks, they sound really good. Aside from the sustain and they are a tad bright, but for the price I can't really complain. They sound really good, but ring for a good (bad I guess...haha) 30 seconds. Bugs me badly.

Also, do you have a stand without a felt on top to quick test the sound? And my hands tire quickly, is this normal?
 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Chip said:
Is the a particular method of removing sustain?
It's different for each cymbal I'm afraid.
Also, do you have a stand without a felt on top to quick test the sound?
Test it on the tip of your finger, then you have no hardware resonance.

And my hands tire quickly, is this normal?
You have to relax on the grip, it's just like good drumming technique. Let the weight of the hammer do the work.
 
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Chip

Guest
You have to relax on the grip, it's just like good drumming technique. Let the weight of the hammer do the work.
Oh ok, haha, must have been that picture of a paiste dark dry ride, the one with craters in it!
I've just been getting accuracy and practicing on bits of tin etc. So I can basically let the hammer fall (unless it needs force)? I have a quick 4 second shot of hammering (actually by hand) from the sabian tour video on theor site, I'll watch a bit of it.

It's a shame that I can't just remove a bit of sustain easily.... they would sound so good if I did......

When hammering, am I trying to alter the shape, thickness & structure?

Thanks
 

jbomber

Member
Johan,
You are modern-day master. I've enjoyed your work posted here and on the old Cymbalholic site. You obviously work with the B8 and B20 bronze and have performed some magical upgrades to the of-the-shelf outputs from many a cymbal manufacturer. Shifting gears, what is your thought on the older cymbals that were made of the nickel-bronze (or sometimes referred to as nickel-silver) for recreation? Can this tough alloy be improved? In contrast to the old K's and A's, many nickel-bronze cymbals gave a unique voice to old jazz recordings using older lines like Paiste Stambuls (pre-1965)

Would you be interested in taking a stab at an 18" nickel-bronze crash or 22" nickel-bronze ride? I've have a several old Stanoples, Dynastars, Supers and Ludwig-Paiste standards that are hit and miss by themselves.

Once again, superb work,

J
 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
jbomber said:
Would you be interested in taking a stab at an 18" nickel-bronze crash or 22" nickel-bronze ride? I've have a several old Stanoples, Dynastars, Supers and Ludwig-Paiste standards that are hit and miss by themselves.J
Sure, I've done quite a bit of them.

But be selective in what you send me because it's impossible to flog a dead horse to life. What I mean is that some variations of "nickelbronze" have a very dull sound. You probably have some nickelbronze pies that sound completely dead, lacking volume and brightness (sounding as if they are covered with tape), while others may have plenty of life and brilliance even though they are very old. Only send me the latter kind. These can be significantly improved in terms of warmth and complexity.

So select the ones that have volume but disregard the sound quality . The same applies to brass cymbals. It may sound strange, but some well known brands often use a poor sounding grade of brass that dulls very fast after being played for a short time (like Paiste 302, Meinl Meteor or Sabian Solar) while some cheaper brands (like Pearl) often use a far richer sounding kind of brass with much more sound durability.

If you decide to go for it, please mail me for details.
 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Chip said:
When hammering, am I trying to alter the shape, thickness & structure?
You're mainly changing shape and tension. To change thickness by hammering you would have to hammer VERY much so the metal gets stretched. Which will alter the profile of the cymbal considerably or will create huge bumps.
 

jbomber

Member
Johan VDS said:
Sure, I've done quite a bit of them.
Do you have some examples in your portfolio of Nickel-bronze recreations (or did I just miss them when I looked through your posted files)?

I'm pulling out all my nickel-bronze cymbals tonight for my band's practice to see whether I have one that still has volume, projection, and life in it. Thanks again.

J
 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Not on my site I'm afraid but I can mail you a pic and a soundfile of an extreme modification I did of a Meinl nickelbronze 24" ride.

Just mail me and I'll mail you back the files.
 

RMS

Senior Member
Okay, Johan, here's an update of my A Custom project. Once again, here is the before pic:


And here is where I'm at now: It is now about 10.5 inches. Basically I think the only way to for me to make this cymbal usable again, with my limitations, is to make it as trashy as possible. It's very clanky right now. Do you think I can hammer the heck out of it until it's thinner? I haven't smoothed the edges yet because I don't want to waste all that time if I end up breaking it. Also that's J&B Weld on the center hole, there were several micro-cracks around it, from one to three millimeters long. I think it'll be fine. As you can see, I've already hammered it a lot, not knowing what I was doing. I made it all floppy like sheet metal, but I was able to get it back into shape somewhat, it doesn't flop right now.
 

Attachments

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Judging from the looks of the hammer indentations, I wouldn't be surprised if you already caused a few hairline cracks. You might be lucky though. But if you continue to hammer this way it will certainly crack.
RMS said:
Basically I think the only way to for me to make this cymbal usable again, with my limitations, is to make it as trashy as possible.
That's true :)

Do you think I can hammer the heck out of it until it's thinner?
No, you'll almost certainly break it. You need a lathe to make it thinner.

I've already hammered it a lot, not knowing what I was doing
I'm afraid that is correct too :)

Don't try learning to hammer on B20 alloy cymbals like these. This cut down cymbal could have been reworked into a lovely splash if you had first gained some hammering experience by experimenting on cheap sheetmetal cymbals.
 

RMS

Senior Member
Yeah, but I don't have any cheap cymbals to practice on...or any money. I figured what the heck, I didn't pay for it and wasn't using it. And it was already busted. Well, I'm going to go down to the grocery store, there's a concrete post sticking up out of the ground, behind the building, that will serve as an "anvil". I'm gonna hammer this thing into a mini-china kang.

Didn't you get your start on a B20 alloy? A new K, was it? :)
 

RMS

Senior Member
The amazing thing is that I hammered it for a couple of hours and it didn't crack...I mean it's all bent out of shape now and sounds like a frying pan, but it makes me wonder how the guy who gave it to me broke it in like 10 places...

Oh well, I might work on it from time to time and maybe someday I'll get it symetrical.
 
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Stu_Strib

Guest
Johan,

Can you transform my Sabian HH Raw Dry ride for me? It is too heavy and clanky. If you made those horrible ZBTs sound 'almost' acceptable to me, then you can really rework this peice o' metal!

Awesome stuff man!
 
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