NOS Slingerland Radio King

uniongoon

Gold Member
I bought this shell last year from a fellow builder who just never found time to finish it. It came with a factory box from Slingerland and through some research, looking at the markings left from the steam bending process, patina on the wood, we both felt this shell was built in the early 50's and then was shelved and never finished.



I finally got the courage to dive into it this morning. I had been spending some time making a hub for my home built lathe so I could mount the shell without screwing into it. The engineering worked, albeit a little time consuming to get the shell properly centered. The raw shell is 14 1/8" in diameter, so it had to be turned down to 13 7/8" in order to accommodate a 14" head.
I was extremely nervous, if I gouged it, cracked it, went out of round or turned to thin, well, the shell cannot be replaced. I have seen a few of these for sale, but most I have seen had flaws, like separated re-rings or bad seams. Probably why they never were finished by Slingerland. This drum is absolutely flawless, perfectly upright straight seam, the rings are 100% solid! no separation. So spinning it on a lathe with a sharp tool was nerve racking to say the least.

100% success. The drum came out perfect, head fit is perfectly even all the way around, no pits, the photos here show the raw shell still on the lathe and is sanded down to 220 grit sandpaper, and it looks like it already has a finish on it.
I am stoked.





 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Oh my !!
I'm really excited for you. Great work!


.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Super Cool Find!
Looks like a really nice shell..
Are you going to use Radio king Hardware?
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
I do have 16 (plus an extra 4 if I choose to do a 10 lug conversion) original 1930's beaver tail lugs.
I have not done much thought on planning the build. Getting to this spot was my chief concern.
I am still up in the air as to building it as an original from the factory Radio King, which would be 16 lugs, stamped Slingerland hoops, original throw, which never work very good even when restored.

Or to modernize it and build it to modern day spec, still keeping the original lugs and look but putting a proper modern throw off on it, leaving out the old muffler.

I recently did a 15" concert King using all original parts. It turned out beautiful, but using it live, the throw off drives me nuts.

 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
The shell looks perfect . I like your lathe jig. How do you make sure it's centered, and I've never heard of patina on wood. Can you tell me what that is. Is it sap from the wood or from moisture?? thanks
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
That looks amazing! I bet it will sound fantastic. Nice find, and nice work!
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
The shell looks perfect . I like your lathe jig. How do you make sure it's centered, and I've never heard of patina on wood. Can you tell me what that is. Is it sap from the wood or from moisture?? thanks

I consider patina, just another term for aging. Just like you can often see the difference between an actual antique table and a table that is merely marked up and artificially made to look old.

The centering hub was my idea to center a drum on the lathe. Maybe this picture shows it a little better. The four threaded rods which support the drum can turn in or out in order to move the drum one side to the other. Not really seen is the four nuts that are permanently mounted inside the hub. Once I have the drum set in place, I just have to tighten the outside nuts and it stays locked in place whilst turning.


Machine shops sell chucks that do a similar job, but I could not find one that opened up more than 4 or 5 inches. So I made one. I am sure someone makes a chuck this size, but it would probably require a huge lathe to turn the weight, and would probably cost a thousand dollars or more.
 

force3005

Silver Member
I am a big Slingerland fan and these pictures are to me beuitful. My question, are you going to wrap it or stain this instrument? I like how the grain looks from what I can see of it and it would be a shame to cover it up. I am not a wood expert but would a Teakwood lacquer stain look good on it? Not to dark not to light? Something in that vein of shading.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Wrapping that would be a shame. Min Wax makes a ton of colored stains and maybe a light one to bring out the grain. Light Blue, Light Red and a clear coat. Can't wait to see the finished product.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Wow, cool story bro!

Seriously!

Me, I wouldn't do a Slingerland restore. I'd put the best hardware I could find on it and finish is so it remains natural, and play it, play it play it.. Aged wood....there's nothing like it.

If you plan on selling it then maybe a Slingerland restore would net you more dough.

Great job man. Thanks for letting us in on it.
 

calan

Silver Member
Yeah, every aspect of that story is cool, from the find to the work.

I'd agree that there is no point in a period correct restore unless you're going to sell it. To me, that shell begs for some brass tube lugs and hoops, and a solid throw off of your choice. I'd just hit the shell with a clear or natural stain to help the grain pop and apply coats of poly until it looks deep and wet. That shell has been in hiding for decades, it would be a shame to hide it in another fashion.
 

jbonzo1

Silver Member
PLEASE do not hide that gorgeous wood grain with a wrap.
A nice amber stain would really make the grain pop.
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
Wow, cool story bro!

Seriously!

Me, I wouldn't do a Slingerland restore. I'd put the best hardware I could find on it and finish is so it remains natural, and play it, play it play it.. Aged wood....there's nothing like it.

If you plan on selling it then maybe a Slingerland restore would net you more dough.

Great job man. Thanks for letting us in on it.

Thanks Larry. Close to my plan. I am going to use the original Radio King lugs, they look good, work well and will also retain the identity of the drums history. If I can find a nice set of vintage Radio King hoops for a reasonable price, they are well made, and work similar to the modern S-hoops. If I can't find a set, I may even build it with 20 original lugs and the modern S-hoops and will probably go for a trick throw off which I can modify a bit to match the rest of the package, and some brass Puresound wires. So in the end, I will have the true vintage drum built with modern playability. I also have a complete original Radio King muffler, the one on my Concert King actually works very well, which surprised me cause, in the past, internal mufflers were always the first thing to get removed on all my drums.

Oh, and a vintage Cloud badge is a total must have.
 
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