‘64 Slingerland (Niles) shell identification help!

Howsitbrah

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Hey all! First time posting here. Been reading for a while but decided to get involved!

I need some help figuring out what kind of shell I have here. It’s a 64 Niles slingerland in what looks to me like Mahogany. I really can’t figure out if this is considered...a solid shell? A 2 ply?
It seems pretty clear to me that there is 2 layers of wood. The outer layer is mahogany?...but then there’s a very thin layer of something inbetween the mohagany and the reinforcement ring. You can see it in the photo clearly.
However, I am having a hard time finding anything about 6 lug 60’s slingerlands that weren’t a solid shell or 3 ply. I don’t think I would consider this 3 ply because it seems pretty clear there are only 2 strips of wood (minus the reinforcement ring). Also, the outer mahogany is much thicker (about 1/8”) than the thinner strip (about 1/32”).
Any ideas?
I have solid shells and ply shells and have been dissecting them all trying to figure this out myself!
Thanks for the help.

ryan
 

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Tama CW

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That date would coincide with a maple interior shell. And the inner ply on the bearing edge is white like maple. The middle and thicker/softer ply is poplar. Then either maple or mahogany on the outside is the norm depending on whether it was to be wrapped or left natural. In your case a natural shell in the mahogany look. It's 3 ply. The outer stain may have leached through the outer ply and into the middle poplar ply..... making it all harder to discern from the bearing edge view. A wrapped shell would be easier to figure out. There was no 2 ply shell in the 60's. And the only one ply shells were on the 60's snare drums - Radio King / Artist snares.
 

squidart

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It sure does look like 2 plies but maybe pop off a lug and inspect the holes. Sometimes the bearing edges can be deceiving due to stain slop, roundovers, etc. It's definitely stamped for a mahogany finish with the "M". Pearls were stamped "P".
I think TamaCW is spot on.
I'll bet it sounds great!
 

Tama CW

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I had a '67 Ludwig 3 ply bass drum in a lacquer finish. And it was hard for me to "see" that outer ply on the bearing edge due to the paint leaching through. They only made 'em 3 ply. So it's what it was.

Here's a photo of that drum. You can barely make out an outer ply beyond the poplar.....and only in one spot. Very deceiving with bronze paint on the outside and white paint on the interior.


IMG_20190621_195255.jpg
 

Howsitbrah

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Thanks so much for that, you guys! You are in fact right. Upon further inspection..and taking off a lug, it sure is 3 ply. I guess I was just naive to think that there’s no way the poplar layer would be 4x the size as outer and inner layers...the Mahogony blends so well into that thick poplar. I thought maybe I had some weird Frankenstein reversed 2 ply!

Regardless, picked this up at a yard sale for $40 in Connecticut about 15 years ago. Figured it was time to set it up. Thanks again.
 

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thin shell

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Definitely three play Mahogany-Poplar-Maple. The poplar ply is all end grain so gets darker if any finish gets on it which it appears to have.
 

K.O.

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Thanks so much for that, you guys! You are in fact right. Upon further inspection..and taking off a lug, it sure is 3 ply. I guess I was just naive to think that there’s no way the poplar layer would be 4x the size as outer and inner layers..

Despite all the talk about mahogany and maple these vintage 3 ply drums (Ludwig and Slingerland) are predominately made of poplar sandwiched between two very thin plies of prettier wood. Regardless of that fact they all sound so good.

A very nice drum for $40!
 

jmetatual

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Per standard factory practice this is likely a 3-ply shell of maple, poplar, maple. The layup is thin, thick, thin. The "M" stamp designates an outer ply of maple suitable for stain or lacquer. Wrapped drums had a "P" stamp which designated a mahogany outer ply suitable for wrapping or 'Pearl'. I believe the outer ply of this drum is maple with a 'mahogany look' stain as Tama CW has stated in post #2. Nice drum.
 

b/o 402

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Per standard factory practice this is likely a 3-ply shell of maple, poplar, maple. The layup is thin, thick, thin. The "M" stamp designates an outer ply of maple suitable for stain or lacquer. Wrapped drums had a "P" stamp which designated a mahogany outer ply suitable for wrapping or 'Pearl'. I believe the outer ply of this drum is maple with a 'mahogany look' stain as Tama CW has stated in post #2. Nice drum.
Judging by the grain, that outer ply is undoubtedly mahogany, not maple.
 

studrum

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Judging by the grain, that outer ply is undoubtedly mahogany, not maple.
I have to agree with this, but the plot thickens. My 64-65 SlingerLeedys were original lacquer finish drums. They have the M stamp inside the shells, but upon stripping for refinishing (put down your pitchforks and torches - they had been spray-canned black, some even on the lugs AND HEADS!), the very thin outer veneer was found to be maple. My inside plies very much look like mahogany. My theory? They just reversed the sandwich for lacquer drums.

Your drum, though, very much looks like an outer ply of mahogany, stained.
 

thin shell

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Per standard factory practice this is likely a 3-ply shell of maple, poplar, maple. The layup is thin, thick, thin. The "M" stamp designates an outer ply of maple suitable for stain or lacquer. Wrapped drums had a "P" stamp which designated a mahogany outer ply suitable for wrapping or 'Pearl'. I believe the outer ply of this drum is maple with a 'mahogany look' stain as Tama CW has stated in post #2. Nice drum.
That outer ply is absolutely Mahogany. Maple and Mahogany have entirely different grain structures and you cannot make Maple look exactly like Mahogany. You can stain it to make it have the same color but you will never make the grain match.

I agree that P stood for Pearl for wrapped drums. I don't necessarily agree that M stood for Maple. They offered drums with a natural Mahogany finish as well as painted Maple. Both of which start with M.
 

thin shell

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I have to agree with this, but the plot thickens. My 64-65 SlingerLeedys were original lacquer finish drums. They have the M stamp inside the shells, but upon stripping for refinishing (put down your pitchforks and torches - they had been spray-canned black, some even on the lugs AND HEADS!), the very thin outer veneer was found to be maple. My inside plies very much look like mahogany. My theory? They just reversed the sandwich for lacquer drums.

Your drum, though, very much looks like an outer ply of mahogany, stained.
Shells for drums that got the Duco finish were always Maple on the outer ply. Maple is a closed grain wood that takes paint beautifully. Mahogany is an open grain wood that requires grain filler and tons of sanding to get it to the point that you could put a Duco finish on and not have the grain show. You cannot sand Mahogany smooth enough because as you sand you just open up more grain.

I don't know that they stained the outer Mahogany ply. It is definitely varnished but that process darkens Mahogany greatly as does time so that finish is probably just a varnish of some kind and nothing else.
 


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