Soft Wood Drum Project

wildbill

Platinum Member
OK - I need you guys to verify this for me, to make sure it's not some kind of placebo effect.
A while ago, I bought a used, inexpensive Ludwig Accent set, just to mess around with.
It's got that white mystery wood - poplar, luan, etc.?

They sounded pretty good for what they are - the typical short, thumpy, note without a lot of overtones or sustain.

I decided to re-do the bearings edges with my usual cuts. Edges looked good but really raw and vulnerable.
So I looked around for something that might protect them a bit more than the usual finishing wax I use.
I found a wood hardener and decided to try it.
It looked real good on the bearing edges, so I thought I'd coat the inside of the shells too.

Put them back together and was pretty surprised with the results. They have a longer note now with a lot more tone to it.
They sound about midway between a thumpy, low, soft tone, and a brighter, resonant hard tone.
Not sure how much is due to the edges and how much to the hardener.

This is the stuff I used: https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/maintenance-repair/minwax-high-performance-wood-hardener
It's more for prepping old, somewhat rotted wood, for a finish and to protect it from further damage.
1624037803963.png



and here's a pic of what that super white wood looks like now:

Accent - Copy.jpg


So - anyways - bottom line is this. If any of you guys want to take on a minor project with your soft wood drums, could you post if you get a similar result.
I'm sure some of it was due to bearing edges, but it seems like these have more than the typical result of that. I've done bearing edges several times before.
Pretty simple to do - just take off the heads (and lugs if you're feeling ambitious), use gloves and a brush or rag. It's a clear liquid, has only a bit of smell, (but do it outside), goes on quickly, and dries in about 4 hours. You can also re-coat without waiting if you want to.

Hope someone else gives this a try. (y)

EDIT: probably should add that it might not be a good idea to use this on the bearing edges unless you're sure they won't be re-cut again.
It seems to contain some type of glue-like stuff, suspended in solvents, which carries it into the wood and then evaporates.
Gloves are an absolute must with this stuff. You don't want to get any of it on you.
The can says it dries to a rock hard finish, so it might also be hard on tools if you coat the inside of the shells,
and then plan on cutting the shells down further too.
 
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GruntersDad

Honorary Lifetime CEO
Staff member
If they are Poplar they are a hardwood. Trees with leaves are classified as Hardwood. Trees with needles or pine cones are softwoods. If you are talking about the wood being soft that's another story. Poplar, that I use for picture frames etc. is hard, but there are softer Poplars also. The grain in the larger drum doesn't look like Poplar, but colored, I can't tell.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Mystery Wood.

The current description for Accents on Ludwig's site says "5-Ply Select Hardwood Shell", but the ones in the pics are an older version
 
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Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Mystery Wood.
I had a Sound Percussion snare that fit this definition. It was certainly soft and would dent pretty easily with just my fingernail.
Like you, I went to work on it just to see what I could do. The wood had a really nice grain to it, so after peeling the nasty wrap, I coated it with teak oil. Took a few coats as the wood sponged it up like nothing I'd seen before.
After it was done drinking, the sound difference was unreal. It went from being low & thuddy to a bright, snappy beast.

Seems when you close the pores of softer woods, they act like a hardwood in both sound & character. The drum went to a kid who after 8 years & 2 drum sets, liked it enough to still have it today.
It's nothing to write home about, but it sure turned out great.
 

Towoomba

Member
If they are Poplar they are a hardwood. Trees with leaves are classified as Hardwood. Trees with needles or pine cones are softwoods. If you are talking about the wood being soft that's another story. Poplar, that I use for picture frames etc. is hard, but there are softer Poplars also. The grain in the larger drum doesn't look like Poplar, but colored, I can't tell.
To be pedantic Balsa is a hardwood so it is easily misconstrued if thought about from a classification point of view. Again the hardness of Balsa varies considerably as does the weight.
I use shellac to finish the inside of my guitars and this also adds hardness and stiffness though not to the extent described by the OP. A lot less toxic though and might be worth a try for someone with a soft shell.
In fact most varnishes will bind the surface and reflect better than with no finish but the urethanes seem to penetrate further . Tung oil is usually combined with urethane and may penetrate about 6mm. I would never use that on a guitar and not sure it would be good on a drum because it could cause spungyness which is certainly against guitar rules and I assume is the exact opposite of what one is trying to achieve by finishing the inside of a drum. But some other urethanes dry hard and brittle. I think that's the right direction.
Interested in the product first mentioned. Will have to see if it's available in Oz.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
A while ago, I bought a used, inexpensive Ludwig Accent set, just to mess around with.
It's got that white mystery wood - poplar, luan, etc.?
Some drummer from some drum forum called Drummerworld called Ludwig ..... and the answer to your question is popular, basswood, and mahogany (and probably the Phillippine kind).

Looks like a killer job you did !!!
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I used Sanding Sealer for the inside (and outside 1st coat) of an older Rydeen kit I stripped and refinished. Has a similar stiffening effect, and is available in Australia.
Oddly, you can apply woodstain over the sanding sealer and it penetrates through to the wood underneath.
 

Towoomba

Member
I found Minwax is available in Oz if you buy through ebay and it ships worldwide from USA. Not sure why though because flammable liquids are generally not allowable through the post. Maybe they fly under the radar but I'm not comfortable with that. I'll keep looking.
 
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