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Thread: Need Advice On Drum Restoration

  1. #1

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    Default Need Advice On Drum Restoration

    Botched Shell Rewrap From Long Ago Still Haunts Me Today
    Retiring My Ludwigs


    Back in 1983, I bought a used Ludwig kit from a friend and had the entire shell pack re-wrapped by a drum shop which I later found out did a horrible job. About 6 months later, the drum shop goes out of business and my wrap starts to peel away from the shells. Since I rarely played out in the early years, I never saw a need to have them fixed.

    After a 15 year break, I'm back into playing out and my Ludwigs need a rest. I bought a used Pearl kit http://www.drumchat.com/showthread.p...ion-13556.html and I will use it instead of the Ludwigs for my next public gig.

    I have alot of great memories with the Ludwigs. The friend I bought it from passed away recently; another cancer fatality so the drums mean too much for me to sell.

    I don't know what the shell looks like under the wrap and I'm dreading what I'll find. The drum shop had a young kid do the rewrap and I was too much of a noob to know what to expect but after I spent time here on DrumChat, I know restorations and re-wrap is a craft and needs skills to accomplish correctly.

    What can I do to restore these drums? Can they be saved?

    Thanks in advance for the response. I appreciate it!
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    Last edited by late8; 12-19-2009 at 02:43 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    ThePloughman Guest

    Default Re: Need Advice On Drum Restoration

    Check out the various sites via google for Drum Wrap. Yes, your drums can be saved, and there are period correct wraps you can purchase to restore your drums. It is really not that difficult to do, and those sites do very well with step by step instructions.

  3. #3

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    have you tried straightening out the wrap first, to get the seams back together evenly? if you take on the job of putting new wraps on, make sure you have a good number of rubber clamps to avoid air bubbles upon installation. contact cement or glues are recommended for airtight seal, unless you have good skills with double sided tape. at first i would attempt to salvage the existing wrap as it is undamaged. if it's not just remove it and embrace the other options you have available.(plain wood, wax/stain, lacquer, wrap)

    things to keep in mind when ordering wraps is the shells must be dirt/dust free, shells must still contain their original shape(their round), if bearing edges are rounded or double cut- the wrap may need to be cut and adjusted to fit properly, and most distributors sell their wraps in the form of a big roll or smaller but still large sheets, so if you order be prepared to buy enough for the whole set- expect to pay 100-300 for these. they don't come in a size fit for one particular drum size, so you'd have to cut them to fit your drums. alternatively there are two places i know of that sell cut to fit wraps which are easily installed.
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the knowledge! Will check out the other sites mentioned.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    have you tried straightening out the wrap first, to get the seams back together evenly? if you take on the job of putting new wraps on, make sure you have a good number of rubber clamps to avoid air bubbles upon installation. contact cement or glues are recommended for airtight seal, unless you have good skills with double sided tape. at first i would attempt to salvage the existing wrap as it is undamaged. if it's not just remove it and embrace the other options you have available.(plain wood, wax/stain, lacquer, wrap)

    things to keep in mind when ordering wraps is the shells must be dirt/dust free, shells must still contain their original shape(their round), if bearing edges are rounded or double cut- the wrap may need to be cut and adjusted to fit properly, and most distributors sell their wraps in the form of a big roll or smaller but still large sheets, so if you order be prepared to buy enough for the whole set- expect to pay 100-300 for these. they don't come in a size fit for one particular drum size, so you'd have to cut them to fit your drums. alternatively there are two places i know of that sell cut to fit wraps which are easily installed.
    Very detailed post. Thanks for the knowledge.

  6. #6

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    Restoring For Cosmetic Reasons Only
    After careful inspection of my vintage Ludwigs I've come to the conclusion on a few things. First, the orginal 13x9, 16x16FT and 22x14 bass drum are Ludwigs budget line from '67. The shells are super thin (3 plys) outter ply being mahgoney (sp?) and the inner 2 plys are some type of poplar or basswood of some type? The bearing edges appear to be glued to the inner shell. The 13x9 has major bearing edge ply separation and my friend who I bought these drum from apparently cut a hole and manged to rip apart a piece of the inner ply where the hole was cut.

    At this time, I'm going to clean up the glue off of the shells and order the orginial color (sparkle green) wrap and re-wrap the shell myself and put the drums away for a keepsake. I'm afraid that the glued in bearing edges will not hold up to getting recut since I see major separation at some portions of each drum.

    I'm going to order the wrap and glue tomorrow and hope to get this wrapped up by the first week of the new year.Here's some pics of how much I got done tonight. Going to call it quits for now.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Need Advice On Drum Restoration

    As I mentioned at the top of this thread, the re-wrap was botched. I was able to peel back the old wrap by hand as if I was peeling an onion. At one point, the putty knife I was using was only needed to separate the edges of the wrap and used my hands and pulled it from the shells. The entire procedure took less than an hour.

    The only shell worth anything in my opinion is the 14x11 tom I bought in '85. It is actually well made and has pretty decent wood.
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  8. #8

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    The shells are covered with a thin layer of what appears to be some type of rubber cement. After twenty years, the glue is still pliable and I can roll pieces of the glue off with my fingers. I'm going to try and remove the remaining layer of glue without using any chemicals. It will probably take forever but I'm in no hurry.
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    Last edited by late8; 12-22-2009 at 02:39 AM. Reason: grammar

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Need Advice On Drum Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post
    Restoring For Cosmetic Reasons Only
    After careful inspection of my vintage Ludwigs I've come to the conclusion on a few things. First, the orginal 13x9, 16x16FT and 22x14 bass drum are Ludwigs budget line from '67. The shells are super thin (3 plys) outter ply being mahgoney (sp?) and the inner 2 plys are some type of poplar or basswood of some type? The bearing edges appear to be glued to the inner shell. The 13x9 has major bearing edge ply separation and my friend who I bought these drum from apparently cut a hole and manged to rip apart a piece of the inner ply where the hole was cut.

    At this time, I'm going to clean up the glue off of the shells and order the orginial color (sparkle green) wrap and re-wrap the shell myself and put the drums away for a keepsake. I'm afraid that the glued in bearing edges will not hold up to getting recut since I see major separation at some portions of each drum.

    I'm going to order the wrap and glue tomorrow and hope to get this wrapped up by the first week of the new year.Here's some pics of how much I got done tonight. Going to call it quits for now.
    Just a bit of Ludwig info for you here Late8, the 3ply shells were the standard that ludwig used throughout the golden era of the 60s. These shells are highly sought after, and arguably some of the best sounding drum shells ever produced. The composition is either mahogany/poplar/maple or maple/poplar/mahogany. The reinforcement rings add extra support to the thin 3ply shells, and the bearing edge is cut in both the shell and ring. They had a much shallower and rounded bearing edge as opposed to the sharp modern 45 degree edges you see today, this gives it that low end warm tone.

    These are by no means budget shells, they didn't exist at this point in time. Even the lower end Standard line, which these are not based on the hardware, had the exact same shells. Believe it or not, the 14" that you bought in 85 is the budget shell and worth the least, thick 6 ply maple with clear interior. These were nice sounding shells, but not nearly as sought after in the vintage world. You have a real gem there, with a bit of hardwork they could be an amazing set. I look forward to seeing your restoration progress!

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Need Advice On Drum Restoration

    Some of that Elmers industrial strength wood glue will fix that bearing edge. That stuff will make it stronger than before.
    Did you consider refinishing that set natural?
    I know the green sparkle will look great too.
    Gretchhead is correct. Those are some nice shells. Keep posting pics of your progress. I am interested in seeing it.
    Ludwig Classic Maple vintage 1980 Silver Sparkle
    Ludwig Classic Maple vintage 1960 Gold Sparkle
    Ludwig Classic Maple vintage 1968 Champagne Sparkle
    Premier Resonators vintage 70's Polychromatic Red
    Slingerland 60's Vintage. Vintage Sky Blue Pearl
    Slingerland 1972 "Avante" Red
    Camco Chanute vintage. 1973 Silver Sparkle
    Gretsch Catalina Jazz. Blue Pearl
    Sonor Safari. Black Galaxy
    Rogers Londoner V vintage. 1977 Silver Mist
    Rogers Script Badge 9/72 1972 Black Nitro
    Beverley of England 4 piece vintage. Red

    Vintage Paiste 2002
    Vintage Avedis Zildjian

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gretschhead View Post
    Just a bit of Ludwig info for you here Late8, the 3ply shells were the standard that ludwig used throughout the golden era of the 60s. These shells are highly sought after, and arguably some of the best sounding drum shells ever produced. The composition is either mahogany/poplar/maple or maple/poplar/mahogany. The reinforcement rings add extra support to the thin 3ply shells, and the bearing edge is cut in both the shell and ring. They had a much shallower and rounded bearing edge as opposed to the sharp modern 45 degree edges you see today, this gives it that low end warm tone.

    These are by no means budget shells, they didn't exist at this point in time. Even the lower end Standard line, which these are not based on the hardware, had the exact same shells. Believe it or not, the 14" that you bought in 85 is the budget shell and worth the least, thick 6 ply maple with clear interior. These were nice sounding shells, but not nearly as sought after in the vintage world. You have a real gem there, with a bit of hardwork they could be an amazing set. I look forward to seeing your restoration progress!
    This was the information I was seeking. Thank you very much for the knowledge. I had no clue what I was looking at. It's great to come to DC and learn about my craft as a drummer and also appreciate the wood and craftsmanship we use as musical instruments.

    Thanks for setting me straight! I got to show my wife Ginger your reply. She played on a kit like this in her HS band back in 1986. She'll appreciate the information too.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIbes View Post
    Some of that Elmers industrial strength wood glue will fix that bearing edge. That stuff will make it stronger than before.
    Did you consider refinishing that set natural?
    I know the green sparkle will look great too.
    Gretchhead is correct. Those are some nice shells. Keep posting pics of your progress. I am interested in seeing it.
    I know nothing about wood. I was going to wrap the shells back in it's orginal color and call it quits on the kit. I need to do some more research online as Ploughman suggested in his post to this thread.

    Again, I'm learning drumming again and this is one area besides playing that I want to understand and appreciate. The tone of different woods and the mixture of wood in shells is something I'm starting to read about here and at other sources. Thanks for stopping by. I'll wait to see what others might suggest I do before I proceed. I need as much advice from you kind people of this forum

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by late8; 12-22-2009 at 03:16 PM.

  13. #13

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    with the inner ply damage an outer wrap wont fix everything you might have to replace the layer somehow im guessing? if you rewrap though, make sure you have handclamps to avoid air bubbles when putting it in. im guessing to ready the shell for a wrap you're also gonna need to sand down the shells a bit till they smooth out a bit..
    Last edited by Russ; 12-22-2009 at 04:24 PM.
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
    The Rudiments

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    with the inner ply damage an outer wrap wont fix everything you might have to replace the layer somehow im guessing? if you rewrap though, make sure you have handclamps to avoid air bubbles when putting it in. im guessing to ready the shell for a wrap you're also gonna need to sand down the shells a bit till they smooth out a bit..
    Hi Russ, Thanks for keeping an eye out on this thread. Here's what I accomplished today. I decided to tackle the most challenging shell and that's the 22x14 bass drum. I was able to get a good start. I was horrified at the carelessness of the drum "tech" who did the re-wrap the first time. There are huge chisel gouges in the outer ply and I can see divots as if a flat head screw driver was used to pry the orginal factory wrap. I've taken wood shop and I enjoyed the time spent in the shop and I learned alot about the care it takes to preserve beautiful pieces of wood regardless if it's a finished piece of wood or a rough piece of unfinshed wood. I guess the drum "tech" figured he could get away with butchering the shells since they were going to be covered. I got a few more spots to sand on the bass drum, then I'm on to the 16x16 FT.
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    Last edited by late8; 12-23-2009 at 03:58 AM.

  15. #15

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    Update on my restoration project. I decided to switch tactics and use acetone and it help reduce my time cleaning the old glue from the shell by at least 4 hours.

    Here are some more pics:
    Pic#1 New Tactic cost: $50 US$
    Pic#2 16x16 FT before
    Pic#3 16x16 FT after
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  16. #16

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    I used plastic wood to cover the damaged caused by the previous owner who drilled a tom mount hole through the bass drum.

    I'm going to experiment with plastic wood to see if I can plug the tom mount hole. If it crumbles, I'll plug the hole with a piece of thin wood. I want to plug this hole even though I'm wrappong the entire orginal shell pack.

    Here's more pics:
    Pic#1 Damage by Previous owner to inside of bass drum
    Pic#2 Plasatic wood applied to damaged area
    Pic#3 My attempt to plug the mount hole
    Pic#4 Plastic wood applied to mount hole, may not work due to size of hole
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by late8; 12-23-2009 at 05:49 PM. Reason: spelling

  17. #17

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    After each shell has been cleaned from old glue. I discover more damage from the first attempt of removing the old wrap that I had paid to have done long ago.

    It is hard to look at the damage as I push each stroke of the sand paper over the scars that remain. This entire process is a healing time for me and my Ludwig kit. I am becoming one with this drum kit by hours of hard work. It is going to be a pleasure to play once it's done.

    Stay tuned..
    The 13x9 tom is next. The damage to that shell is unbelievable
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  18. #18

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    regarding the plugging of the tom mount hole, is there any way you can get a blocking plate like you did with the pearl? a hardware store might also be able to help you find an appropriate sized cap to fit over it.. you really did a fantastic job on the shell though, the difference is night and day!
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
    The Rudiments

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    regarding the plugging of the tom mount hole, is there any way you can get a blocking plate like you did with the pearl? a hardware store might also be able to help you find an appropriate sized cap to fit over it.. you really did a fantastic job on the shell though, the difference is night and day!
    Hi Russ! Thanks for the kind words and checking in. The plastic wood didn't work. My bass drum will be wrapped to look virgin. I just want to support the mounting hole area. I found some flooring I had left over from our hardwood floor installation and used my jig saw and cut a hole using the mounting hole felt gasket as a template. I cut the plug just a tad larger than measured so I could slowly sand the edges of the plug to fit. Added carpenters glue on the edges of the plug and tappped it in from the under side of the bass drum. When the glue from the plug dries, I'll sand down the plastic wood that I filled the gash that was created by the previous owner who was responsible for the hole to begin with. As I looked at the former holes on the bass drum, I noticed that the orginal mount was a sliding bracket that was bolted to the top of the bass drum.

    I'm going to use the Gibraltar replica of the old Ludwig tom mount and use the orginal config. (1 up 1 down) with one ride one crash and the HHs. I'm going to invest in vintage cymbal stands to match the era of the '60s.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Here's some pics:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by late8; 12-23-2009 at 09:14 PM. Reason: grammar

  20. #20

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    pretty good idea.. you didn't measure the thickness of the cork with the depth of the hole first?
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
    The Rudiments

  21. #21

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    I love these type of threads.Looking good so far late8!...I was gonna suggest a wood plug for the bass drum hole but you beat me to it.

    For the bearing edges, wood glue wood work to fill the cracks and keep them from splitting but you'll want to be able to sand them down, and you can't sand glue.
    Of course you'll never get them perfect hand sanding them but you could definately clean them up and repair the damage...I'll try to remember the name of the stuff that would work for those.

    I saw a kid who had a cabinet shop wrap a ply (I think it was maple) around old damaged shells and they looked brand new.You could have that done to the inside of the bass drum to repair that damage!?!?..just a thought.

    Anyways, looking good bro!..Those will be special when they're done.I know 1 guy who's looking down at some old 60's ludwigs thinking *wrap them in red sparkle*

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzdanz View Post
    I love these type of threads.Looking good so far late8!...I was gonna suggest a wood plug for the bass drum hole but you beat me to it.

    For the bearing edges, wood glue wood work to fill the cracks and keep them from splitting but you'll want to be able to sand them down, and you can't sand glue.
    Of course you'll never get them perfect hand sanding them but you could definately clean them up and repair the damage...I'll try to remember the name of the stuff that would work for those.

    I saw a kid who had a cabinet shop wrap a ply (I think it was maple) around old damaged shells and they looked brand new.You could have that done to the inside of the bass drum to repair that damage!?!?..just a thought.

    Anyways, looking good bro!..Those will be special when they're done.I know 1 guy who's looking down at some old 60's ludwigs thinking *wrap them in red sparkle*
    Thanks for the great advice and positive feed back! I appreciate the input. I'm going to just patch the ripped inner layer with what I've shown in the above pics. I want to keep the inner ply as close to Ludwigs intent and design to perserve the warmth of the shell. The idea of wrapping the inner ply with and addtional layer is a good idea but may choke the bass drum. The ripped inner ply isn't that bad if you could see it in person. I'll add a couple of coats of white latex paint after I sand the plastic wood down.

    Thanks again for stopping by the thread.
    Last edited by late8; 12-24-2009 at 03:44 AM.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    pretty good idea.. you didn't measure the thickness of the cork with the depth of the hole first?
    I didn't have planer table to reduce the thickness of the wood plug. The hard wood floor panel from which the plug is cut from is an engineered piece of wood. Each layer that makes up the separate layers of the hardwood floor panel is Maghonay (sp?) and just happens to be the same wood as the outer ply. The density of the plug within the shell is less than the chrome tom holder that will no longer be used. I'm still debating on which way to go on the wrap. Should I stay as close to factory finish's? I'm torn. I want to stay true but I do like Vintage Marine White as a wrap.
    Last edited by late8; 12-24-2009 at 03:11 AM.

  24. #24

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    ive always been a fan of red ludwigs but this is a chance for you to map out and express yourself visually if you want to. there sure are some interesting wrap designs out there and possibilities are limitless. just avoid skulls or hot rod flames
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I wish I was your wife
    Quote Originally Posted by amdrummer View Post
    if double bass is cheating then so is using two sticks

    Forum Rules
    DrumBum
    No metronome?
    The Rudiments

  25. #25

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    Here's a better pic to show you the hardwood floor panel. You can see the mutiple layers of thin wood. The plug from this piece of hardwood floor panel will be strong enough to withstand the air pressure that builds within the bass shell as the bass drum is kicked.

    The last pic is what I envison the kit to look like. I may decide to mount the tom on a snare stand and keep the bass drum wrapped virgin.
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    Last edited by late8; 12-24-2009 at 03:28 AM. Reason: grammar/spelling

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