Restoration questions

Shirai

Member
Hello Drummerworld,

If you'll allow me I'd like to pick your brains on a little restoration job I'm undertaking. I've done some general research but have some specific questions I'm hoping some of you knowledgeable guys can help me out with.

Background

The shells are Ludwig Rockers stamped June 1989 - 9x13, 16x16, 14x22. I got them in rough shape for $40 from my high school band about 12 years ago. They had been used in the pep band, and the older they got, the more they were abused. I remember at one point my freshman year some upperclassmen with face paint on hauled them up onto the gravel roof of the bandroom which overlooked the football field, duct taped smoke bombs to them, and bashed the hell out of them before a football game. When I brought them home I took off the black vinyl wrap and stained the shells green, and slowly forgot about them until now.

Outlook

I'm hoping to resurrect this restoration job and really do the drums up nicely. I'll be replacing hoops all around (oxidization and sulphur burns from the smoke bombs), as well as the tom mount post and kick spurs. The bearing edges need a little freshening up too. For the finish, I'm going to abandon my attempt at the green stain, and instead have my mother in law who is an extremely talented artist do some kind of distressed texture, either in acrylic or encaustic. This is the part I'm most excited about. She does some awesome stuff on other mediums, and has pieces in a few galleries around town.

Questions

Here's where you guys come in - I'm not necessarily going for showpiece here, but I do want to do this well. I'm hoping some of you can point me in the right direction...

1. The bearing edges will need a little work. Should the bearing edge work be done before or after the finish?

2. Knicks and gouges in the edges -- can I just use hardware store wood filler and sand it flush with the rest of the edge? Or is there a better process?

3. Edge flatness -- edges are "out of flat" by about a max of 1/16" in some places. It's a veeeerrry gradual arc, not radical jumps in level. Is this worth addressing? If so, how do I tackle that? If it involves special equipment or outsourcing I may just live with a little unevenness. This isn't going to be a studio kit or anything.

4. Amazingly the toms are pretty well in-the-round, despite years of abuse by generations of teenage guys. However, the kick is about 1/16" out of round due to a flat spot running about 3" in length along the circumference of the shell in one area. It's just barely visible to the naked eye, if you know to look for it. Is that significant enough to do something about, and if so, what if anything can be done about it?

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. I plan on posting progress pics once things get going.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
I can't address all the issues but I can answer a couple.

Firstly, bearing edges probably should be done before refinishing. I always consider finishing to be the last process. It's very easy to ruin a finish if you slip with your filler or tools.

Filling the edges shouldn't be a problem provided you do it carefully and properly. Make sure your finished profile is smooth and matches what is already there. Some older kits came out of the factory with filler in the edges!

I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'out of flat'. Are there rises and dips in the level? That might need addressing. It sounds like they might need recutting.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
I cant answer all of the questions either but as an amature woodworker, one way to get rid of any dents in the shelles is to first put water on the dent then use an iron, not so hot as to scorch the wood and the dent will most likely lift back out providing the wood isnt broken into the dent. Wood is made of fibers with a lot of cells in it and they will re-expand with water and heat. Good luck and remember your best finish relies on your preperation of the shell.
 

Shirai

Member
I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'out of flat'. Are there rises and dips in the level? That might need addressing. It sounds like they might need recutting.

Yeah, I set the drum with the edges resting on a flat surface, put a flashlight inside, and observed light passing through between the edge and the surface along some of the circumference, with the biggest gap between edge and flat surface measuring roughly 1/16".

I've read of a few options concerning recutting edges, varying from sending them off to a place like Precision Drum, or just taking them to a local cabinet shop. Can anyone offer insight into the practicality of the cabinet shop option? I don't think I want to put in the kind of money it would take with 2 way shipping and service charges from Precision.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Well I don't have personal experience of either option I'm afraid.

If you gave a very detailed profile to the cabinet shop of what you needed then I would imagine they could do the work for you. It is quite simple carpentry - just a router needed really. What kind of edges did the kit come with? Anything specific? A double 45 would probably be the standard.
 

Soupy

Silver Member
When building drums, bearing edges are usually cut after the finish is done. In the case of repair work like filling dings, I would certainly do that before working on the finish.

Leveling a uneven edge would be done with a sanding table, and if it's sufficiently uneven, possibly a pass against a table saw or router table to trim it flatter.

I wouldn't worry about 1/16" out-of-round on a 22" bass drum.

There was a recent thread or two about re-edging vintage Ludwigs, which could give you some other references for getting quotes on the work.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Yes to what everyone else said. I picked up recently a red wrap set of Rockers circa mid 1980s w/black and white badges. I'm currently playing them now and love them. Bought for $250 and head change pushed total to $350 but I love them. Throw up some pics of yours when you can. I'm curious. :) thanks and good luck. $40? A steal.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Yes, you want to do all the edge work and any other work BEFORE doing the finish.

And I agree with Soupy, I wouldn't worry about 1/16" out-of-round on a 22" bass drum.

As for the rest, there are much more qualified people than I to answer such questions.

I have never watched this DVD, but you might find it interesting if you want to the job yourself: http://www.guerrilladrummaking.com/
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Shirai

Member
Thanks to all for the replies thus far! Already very helpful.

I took all the hardware off tonight to take stock of what I can re-use and what I need to replace. In the process I came across another question:

The tom hoops aren't as bad as I thought, and I may be able to clean them up. Oddly, if I lay them down on a flat surface with the drum-facing side of the hoop down, they're flush. If I lay them with the drum-facing side up, there's a small amount of wobble. Which way matters?

Going to start on filling the gaps in the edges soon and giving the exteriors a good sanding in prep for the new finish. Meanwhile need to round up a few odds and ends to replace some worn out screws, lugs, tension rods, etc.

Here are a few pics of what I've got. Last time I touched these I was 16 and thought I wanted dark green drums with a pattern burnt into the shells. I even attempted a custom "badge" around the vent holes.

Tom shells:
IMG_0861.jpg


The worst of the edge gouges:
IMG_0862.jpg


Super cool custom "badge"
IMG_0863.jpg


Date stamp:
IMG_0864.jpg


Kick shell:
IMG_0865.jpg
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Looks like a very decent set of drums. I actually quite like the finish you've put on there from a distance, too.

That edge gouge is really bad. Fixable certainly but you're going to have to know what you're doing. Tackle that one last.
 

Shirai

Member
So when removing all the hardware some of the cheap screws that affix the lugs to the shells had become so brittle that they snapped against the torque of the screwdriver, leaving their ends lodged inside the lug mounting holes. And I can't for the life of me find any replacement lugs out there. These have the 2-3/16" hole spacing. Can anyone suggest places to look? All I can find are the smaller 1-11/16" version.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
eBay ........................​
 

tard

Gold Member
Try drumfactorydirect.com they seem to have a lot of stuff at decent prices, there is also vintagedrum.com
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
So when removing all the hardware some of the cheap screws that affix the lugs to the shells had become so brittle that they snapped against the torque of the screwdriver, leaving their ends lodged inside the lug mounting holes. And I can't for the life of me find any replacement lugs out there. These have the 2-3/16" hole spacing. Can anyone suggest places to look? All I can find are the smaller 1-11/16" version.

Ludwig large classic lugs will fit,as well as vintage Ludwig Standard lugs..I would also visit the Vintage Drum Forum,and PM members Blairdrum,and Mikey777.Those guys have tons of parts.You could also post in the restoration and wanted sections.

Steve B
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Try www.AMDrumparts.com for the lugs, they have many. And if it were me I would take the one edge down past the large nick. You may need shorter tension screws when all is said and done but I'm not sure how much luck you will have with filler. The bass drum may end up 22 x 13.5 but no one will know but you and me. And are you going to be able to sand out the burnt part. You may just want to have them wrapped and cover all of that.
 

Shirai

Member
Thanks for the suggestions. I've been watching eBay like a hawk and the only lugs I've seen so far are the smaller version. The only other place I've seen Rocker / Standard lugs offered are drumsonsale.com, but again, the small version. I'll give the vintage forum a try. Thanks for everyone's help.
 
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