Drum Head Dents

pstone

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A while back I saw a posting from a member that described how to remove dents from drum heads using an iron.
I neglected rule #23 of drumming: Never let a drunk woman play your drums at 3:00 A.M.
The posting said something about using an iron and a damp towel, but I don't remember the technique.
If anyone has this solution, please let me know...I just bought these heads.
Thanks,
Pstone
 

TreeHouse

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A while back I saw a posting from a member that described how to remove dents from drum heads using an iron.
I neglected rule #23 of drumming: Never let a drunk woman play your drums at 3:00 A.M.
The posting said something about using an iron and a damp towel, but I don't remember the technique.
If anyone has this solution, please let me know...I just bought these heads.
Thanks,
Pstone

1) Take the head off of the drum.
2) A little faster than slowly wave a small open flame under the divit--a regular lighter works best.
3) DON'T stop moving the flame.
4) Aim the top of the flame just at the surface of the head.
5) Pulls 'em right out.
6) May leave a slight black mark which rubs out.
7) This works for single-ply heads.

D#
 

pstone

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THANKS Lickbag, I have a few single ply heads which need "un-denting", but most are 2 ply EC2 coated.
Does anyone have a method for 2 ply? Or can the above solution work for both?
 

jrfrond

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You might be removing the dents, but you are ruining the heads and making them prone to breakage. Heat makes the film brittle, which is why head manufacturers are very careful to restrict the heat required for thermoforming the collar in the collar area only.
 

ARGuy

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I would use a low wattage heat gun rather than a flame. It's much easier to control with no chance of burning through or blackening.
 

cworrick

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Hmm...

JR, usually I read your advice and treat it like gold, and more times than not, I agree with you.
This is one of the very few times when I feel I have to question you.

I have been taking the dents out of heads for about 20+ years. I learned on my own drums before I tried it on any other drum. I usually use a candle - hair driers never seemed to get hot enough. I will warm up the entire head and then focus in on the dent. I do this so that I am not just heating up the one spot with the dent and making that the weak spot. I have never burnt a whole in any head I have done (never stop moving the candle)and the heads seemed, at least to me, to last just as long as they normally would.

I have done this with both single and double ply heads. The double ply just take a little longer to do it right as the heat has to penetrate to both plys. Because of the heat, the head usually does require a re-tuning as the heat shrinks the plastic a little thus raising the pitch of the drum.


:bunny:
 

ARGuy

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I can buy that it weakens the head, but I view it more as a temporary than permanent fix. I've done it a lot more with resonant heads, especially logo bass drum heads. I've started using low power heat guns , since hair dryers can be a little wimpy.
 

jrfrond

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Hmm...

JR, usually I read your advice and treat it like gold, and more times than not, I agree with you.
This is one of the very few times when I feel I have to question you.

I have been taking the dents out of heads for about 20+ years. I learned on my own drums before I tried it on any other drum. I usually use a candle - hair driers never seemed to get hot enough. I will warm up the entire head and then focus in on the dent. I do this so that I am not just heating up the one spot with the dent and making that the weak spot. I have never burnt a whole in any head I have done (never stop moving the candle)and the heads seemed, at least to me, to last just as long as they normally would.

I have done this with both single and double ply heads. The double ply just take a little longer to do it right as the heat has to penetrate to both plys. Because of the heat, the head usually does require a re-tuning as the heat shrinks the plastic a little thus raising the pitch of the drum.


:bunny:
You can certainly disagree with me if you'd like, but it doesn't change the fact that you are changing the molecular structure of the head in the areas where heat is applied. If you were smoking for 20+ years and hadn't yet died of cancer, it would NOT mean that smoking didn't affect you or wasn't dangerous. You'd just be lucky.

PET film is a thermoplastic. It is manufactured using heat, and also formed into drumheads using heat. At each stage, the molecular structure is realigned. It's the nature of the material.
 

Bunnyman

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Yeah, I pretty well am in the "don't remove the dents" school of thought.

Btw pstone- I love your avatar!!! I used to read Bloom County all the time! Bill the Cat was my favourite character.
 

Drumjinx

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One or two ply...works on both
Leave the head on the drum and if anything, tighten it a bit. Use a blow dryer or heat gun (low setting) and warm the area by waving the gun at the dent (hello). It will not take very long or very much heat at all to remove the dent. The tension helps make it happen faster.
I usually do this while smoking, eating donuts and driving while texting...and I am still alive! (just kidding JR :drunken:)
 

4164SB

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One or two ply...works on both
Leave the head on the drum and if anything, tighten it a bit. Use a blow dryer or heat gun (low setting) and warm the area by waving the gun at the dent. It will not take very long or very much heat at all to remove the dent. The tension helps make it happen faster.
Have to agree. The bass reso head on the pictured Leedy set had been "played" with a hammer!
 

CSR

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Step 1: buy new batter heads...

Step 2: stay away from drunk women at 3:00 am.

Roy Burns yelled at me for suggesting I use mild heat to remove dents in an Aquarian head.
 

pstone

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Some replies to the above argument:

Lickbag: I will try this method on some old 2 ply heads that have some dents...I have about 43 of them stacked in my closet.

JR: You are probably right about the weakening of the molecular structure of the heads, but it's worth a shot.

ARguy: A heat gun would probably work best, but I live in Phoenix, AZ (God's second choice for Hell), so it might just be easier to stick them in the sun for a few minutes.

Ringo: Very cool that you got my avatar, was very pissed off that Berkeley Breathed decided to end the strip.

CSR: The drunken woman at 3:00 AM was very well worth a few dented heads...In fact, she can dent my heads anytime.

Thanks very much for the replies and advice...I will take in all of it.
Pstone
 

rhobere

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You can certainly disagree with me if you'd like, but it doesn't change the fact that you are changing the molecular structure of the head in the areas where heat is applied. If you were smoking for 20+ years and hadn't yet died of cancer, it would NOT mean that smoking didn't affect you or wasn't dangerous. You'd just be lucky.

PET film is a thermoplastic. It is manufactured using heat, and also formed into drumheads using heat. At each stage, the molecular structure is realigned. It's the nature of the material.
I don't understand why shortening the longevity is a big deal. If it has dents, it should probably be replaced anyways. What's the problem with trying to make them last a little longer? So they don't last as long as brand new heads, but at least he can still play on them for a while before having to buy brand new heads. If you got hail damage on a car would you scrap the car or take the dents out and keep driving it despite its decreased value? My point is, the heads are already compromised and unless he's in the studio tomorrow or he wants to buy brand new heads (which it sounds like he doesn't) then trying to fix these heads is probably his best option.

and you're not exactly changing the molecular structure unless you actually burn the molecules (i.e. the molecules aren't changing, only their relation to each other). denting the film changed the material structure and essentially thinned the plastic. heating it up will allow the plastic to retake something more similar to its original structure. the reason they would become brittle would be because of actually burning the material and weakening the intermolecular bonds between the molecules. for this reason, a heat gun is probably a better idea than a flame.
 

dave.robertson

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"Roy Burns yelled at me for suggesting I use mild heat to remove dents in an Aquarian head."

LOL.

JR was spot-on when he wrote, "...the molecular structure is realigned."

My take on this situation: If you have tried the heat method and don't mind the trade-off or risk, go ahead and smooth out the divots. For me, it is an informed choice each can make.

While heating the divot can smooth it out, there is a trade-off. As already suggested, mild heating (not burning) can alter the organization of polymer chains. Tension and temperature are each carefully controlled during the making of both PET films and drumheads because it can profoundly affect chain orientation (structure) which affects drumhead elasticity (longevity), tensile strength and other properties.

So, Roy thought he had good reason to yell. :icon_smile:
 

Imposing Will

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Dents make heads buzz. I will pull them out with heat sometimes-but usually just resos, and only as a temporary fix.
 

audiochurch

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i love the hair dryer method. has worked for me perfectly and the heads lasted much longer for me personally. the sound was not affected all that much.

this is a great option for the drummers, like me, who can't afford to constantly purchase new heads when they get dented. i'd highly recommend trying this until you can afford to buy some new heads.
 


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