Would you re-cut bearing edges...

FreDrummer

Silver Member
...on a 1976 Vistalite kit? I picked up this 22, 12, 13, 16, and a 14x5 snare last year. They are in really good shape, especially after I polished them up to remove small scratches. They had a total of three small cracks -- all originated at lug holes and were short enough to stay hidden behind the lugs (I stop-drilled them and treated them with acrylic cement).

But, the bearing edges! Good lord! Calling them "bearing edges" is being quite charitable. No damage as far as dings or chips...I think they came this crappy from the factory. Most look like they were sanded mostly flat, then rounded over slightly to remove the sharp edge. Lots of inconsistency, AND, it appears the shells shrunk a little at the bearing edge near the seams (low spot). I can get them to tune, but it's a real PITA.

I am thinking of sending them off to Precision Drum to have the edges re-cut. I cannot find anyone locally (Colorado) to do it, and I figured with the experience Precision has doing this type of work, it might be the best way. The cost of cutting all the edges is not too unreasonable, about $235, but the shipping is what adds up. It will probably be at least $100 each way, so I'm looking at about $450 total. I have about $900 invested in the Vistalites to date.

Other factors:
1. My other kits are (all 2 up/1 down)
-- A high quality "Mutt" gig kit. 24" mahogany BD with Pearl Masters toms
-- 1984 Pearl MLX. These drums have taught me how easy a well built drum with a well-cut bearing edge is to tune.
2. I am 56 and will realistically only gig a few more years, at which time I will probably downsize to a single kit (while still retaining my electronic kit for quiet practice). I am torn about which to keep...
-- the MLX's are clearly the best quality kit
-- the Vistalites hold sentimental value; I drooled over them as a teenager back when they were built.
-- the best resale would be for the MLX and Vistalites, keeping the mutt kit (still quality drums), but they are all bigger sizes (24x14 BD plus power toms). I am blessed to have three good kits, but these would come in at #3, and resale of the mutts -- though great quality drums -- would probably be negligible.
3. Would these fall under the "Don't modify a vintage drum" category of thinking?
4. I am a rock/blues/pop kind of drummer.

I have the disposable income to re-cut the Vistalites. I have gigged them. They are really cool under the lights.

What does the wisdom of DW have to say? I have "Pro-Con'd" this to death, but am hoping some outside opinions might point out other considerations for me to think about.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'd do that in a heartbeat. I almost did them on my vintage 3 ply Luddies. You're improving the drum. F conventional thinking.
 

force3005

Silver Member
Hi FreDrummer my opinion is it sounds like you really want the Vistalites and as you have stated have the disposable income than go for it. As a kid you wanted them, you have them now but you would like to make them better by your standards and what you think they should be. You will get your money back after a few gigs and a better feeling about the drums after the bearing edges are re-cut and not to mention the ease of tuning and the sound of the kit. RE-CUT and have fun playing them.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
If they sound okay, leave them alone. If they're difficult or fussy to tune, get the edges worked on. Too bad you can't find someone within driving distance to do it.

http://www.thedrumshopboulder.com/

http://legacydrumshop.com/

http://www.ruppsdrums.com/
Thanks. I called Legacy and Rupps. Legacy said they do repairs, but not this kind of work. Rupps was going to put me on hold to "maybe" find the name of someone...if you ask me, when undertaking this type of project, I want a well-known name, one that immediately rolls off the tongue as THE GUY to take them to. The fact they did not know of anyone like that did not inspire confidence...

I'll give Boulder Drum Shop a call.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Sell them, then get an acrylic kit that already has good edges. Surely a newer Pearl crystal beat or a Crush acrylic would have much, much better edges.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I say get them re-cut, but I'd also suggest considering NOT getting the bass drum re-cut. That's the drum that's going to drive up your shipping because of size and weight, and unless it's damaged (as opposed to just poorly cut like you described) I doubt you'd see significant improvement once you put on a Powerstroke head or even just a felt strip.

I also recommend Precision Drum. I've had two (wood) kits re-cut, and they did flawless work to my exact specs and faster than their stated turn around time.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I say get them re-cut, but I'd also suggest considering NOT getting the bass drum re-cut. That's the drum that's going to drive up your shipping because of size and weight, and unless it's damaged (as opposed to just poorly cut like you described) I doubt you'd see significant improvement once you put on a Powerstroke head or even just a felt strip.

I also recommend Precision Drum. I've had two (wood) kits re-cut, and they did flawless work to my exact specs and faster than their stated turn around time.
Brilliant! I bet that's half the shipping right there, with the bass drum.

Although I stand by my previous statement.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
I say get them re-cut, but I'd also suggest considering NOT getting the bass drum re-cut. That's the drum that's going to drive up your shipping because of size and weight, and unless it's damaged (as opposed to just poorly cut like you described) I doubt you'd see significant improvement once you put on a Powerstroke head or even just a felt strip.

I also recommend Precision Drum. I've had two (wood) kits re-cut, and they did flawless work to my exact specs and faster than their stated turn around time.
Good point. I was already thinking along those lines, too. In my previous research, I saw a similar comment WRT the bass drum. It's all about the "dimensional weight," i.e. oversized packaging. When I've input the parameters for a bass drum-sized box in the shipping calenders, it didn't matter if the box weighed 22 lbs or 30 lbs. -- same price. Shipping only the toms and snare will cost about $55-70 each way. My rough calculations come out to about $280 total cost (edges + shipping). So, figuring it would cost an additional $170 to do the bass drum does add a new perspective.

Thanks!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I still say get a newer acrylic kit. DW and Crush both have some nice ones. But hey, if you're that attached to the Luddies, then you are, and that's that.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Another vote to re-cut the edges. What good are drums you can't tune?​
I gigged with a clear Vistalite kit for 25+ years. Great stage drums. Sold 'em off for more than I originally paid for 'em. Revisited the vistalite world with a red kit, a few years ago. Sold it, as well (most of). If they're your "dream kit", service 'em up and play the heck outta 'em.​
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
If it were me, I would re-cut them. But I have the tools and means to do it at home and not spend any money. If I had to spend $450 to do it, I would just sell the kit. I would never spend that amount to recut edges on any kit.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
I say get them re-cut, but I'd also suggest considering NOT getting the bass drum re-cut. That's the drum that's going to drive up your shipping because of size and weight, and unless it's damaged (as opposed to just poorly cut like you described) I doubt you'd see significant improvement once you put on a Powerstroke head or even just a felt strip.
Makes perfect sense.
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
All the votes to re-cut leads me to think many don't know much about acrylic shells. I would be afraid to touch them, if Precision knows how to re cut the edges on acrylic send them off, but for those thinking this is an easy task like doing a wood shell, they are mistaken. I personally have not worked with acrylic hut have heard some horror stories of people destroying shells while simply drilling lug holes, running a high speed router bit across them takes it up a notch.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
I still say get a newer acrylic kit. DW and Crush both have some nice ones. But hey, if you're that attached to the Luddies, then you are, and that's that.
This.

You paid $900 for the Vistalites, you're about to drop ~$400 to recut the bearing edges on drums you've said are cracked and out of round anyway. That's $1300 for...what, exactly? Nostalgia?

If I was that in love with the stage presence of acrylic, I'd sell those Ludwigs to some other schmu...enthusiast for as much as I paid for them and get a set of new. Pearl, DW, Crush, at least they'll be round and well-constructed.

I'd LOVE some acrylic drums. I've seen the Pearls with lights in them and WHOA DANG that's an awesome look.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
You paid $900 for the Vistalites, you're about to drop ~$400 to recut the bearing edges on drums you've said are cracked and out of round anyway. That's $1300 for...what, exactly? Nostalgia?

If I was that in love with the stage presence of acrylic, I'd sell those Ludwigs to some other schmu...enthusiast for as much as I paid for them and get a set of new. Pearl, DW, Crush, at least they'll be round and well-constructed.
Quoted for hilarity. Great response, Bob.
 
Last edited:

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
All the votes to re-cut leads me to think many don't know much about acrylic shells. I would be afraid to touch them, if Precision knows how to re cut the edges on acrylic send them off, but for those thinking this is an easy task like doing a wood shell, they are mistaken. I personally have not worked with acrylic hut have heard some horror stories of people destroying shells while simply drilling lug holes, running a high speed router bit across them takes it up a notch.
I have read horror stories and seen photos of the aftermath of acrylic shell modifications. Yeah, cracks can happen pretty easily. They usually happen though from using the wrong tools and the wrong techniques for the job. For example, using standard drill bits in a low speed electric hand drill on an unsupported shell to drill lug holes. You can pretty much guarantee a cracked shell.

The part about cutting edges that doesn't concern me is that the blade is spinning at 16,000-20,000 rpms. If your blades are sharp and you take off just a bit at a time (multiple shallow passes vs. one deep pass) that acrylic should cut like butter.

Of course, Im someone who has the utmost confidence in doing something I've never done before, so my cavalier attitude may be getting the best of me on this one.
 
Top