Enlarging small bell holes

drumgadget

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I know that I've posted this opinion before, but the question keeps on being asked ......... !

DO NOT try to use a drill bit to do this; even with a drill press, it can be hard to avoid the tip of the drill flutes catching in the thin bronze (which actually can be surprisingly hard). If this happens, it can tear the cymbal out of your grasp and .... worse! .... create a lovely elongated hole larger than you wanted in the first place! Or even ....... crack the cymbal.

I personally consider the step drill to be a bit of overkill ...... but better than a standard bit by miles. You will still have the awkwardness of drilling thin sheet metal and having the drill bit suddenly plunge down.

The tapered reamer is the tool to use; it helps to buy a high-quality tool and be realistic about getting a new one when the first one gets dull. I use mine a lot - mostly NOT on cymbals. As has been stated: be patient, watch your alignment, don't try to cut too much with one pass ....... keep it light and consistent. And remember that the reamer is TAPERED; work from the top, try the fit, and reverse on the next pass - that is, from the bottom. I use a reciprocating twist of the wrist instead of trying to go a full 360 degrees at a time, moving the cymbal between each twist.


M.
 

owr

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Do you have a recommendation for a good reamer / link? I just posted the Amazon one because they came out first in my search. Its probably the one I have or similar, and it worked fine, but I like nice tools.

I slightly enlarged holes with mine on a few trans stamps, never looked back. It really is like 10 - 20 min of slow methodical work. Trim, try on stand, rinse and repeat if it doesnt fit. I generally am a "do not modify" kind of guy, but draw the line on these. If you're careful with it you aren't going to do anything to change the tonality of the cymbal and no one is going to notice. If I had a perfectly NOS collectors piece / never played / hang on the wall cymbal, then I get it. But I don't own any of those.

I know that I've posted this opinion before, but the question keeps on being asked ......... !

DO NOT try to use a drill bit to do this; even with a drill press, it can be hard to avoid the tip of the drill flutes catching in the thin bronze (which actually can be surprisingly hard). If this happens, it can tear the cymbal out of your grasp and .... worse! .... create a lovely elongated hole larger than you wanted in the first place! Or even ....... crack the cymbal.

I personally consider the step drill to be a bit of overkill ...... but better than a standard bit by miles. You will still have the awkwardness of drilling thin sheet metal and having the drill bit suddenly plunge down.

The tapered reamer is the tool to use; it helps to buy a high-quality tool and be realistic about getting a new one when the first one gets dull. I use mine a lot - mostly NOT on cymbals. As has been stated: be patient, watch your alignment, don't try to cut too much with one pass ....... keep it light and consistent. And remember that the reamer is TAPERED; work from the top, try the fit, and reverse on the next pass - that is, from the bottom. I use a reciprocating twist of the wrist instead of trying to go a full 360 degrees at a time, moving the cymbal between each twist.


M.
 

Ptrick

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I’m sure there are expensive ones out there that are meant to last and be used for commercial type work. For reaming a few cymbals, I’d think any of these would serve the purpose.

Btw, I’ve reamed many cymbals with no trouble at all…including an old stamp k. And it sold for an incredible price, with two additional Rivet holes (drilled by me), an edge ding that was filed out. And all was disclosed. Just made for a cymbal that was MUCH more user friendly. The goal is to play them, right?

 

drumgadget

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Do you have a recommendation for a good reamer / link?

I'll have to be completely honest here and say that I've used the two reamers that I've bought at the local Ace Hardware store these last few years. I'm sure they are relatively generic Chinese-manufactured tools. That said, they had (and still have) sharp cutting edges ..... you can check this before you buy because as I recall, these tools are "carded" but not covered with a bulletproof plastic bubble.

What I would caution against is buying any tool you see in a bin next to the checkout counter ..... especially a cutting tool. Same goes for a certain ubiquitous tool-selling chain ..... no names ......; there are some real bargains to be had in these stores, but I'd avoid cutting tools.

Mike
 
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drumgadget

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I’m sure there are expensive ones out there that are meant to last and be used for commercial type work. For reaming a few cymbals, I’d think any of these would serve the purpose.

Btw, I’ve reamed many cymbals with no trouble at all…including an old stamp k. And it sold for an incredible price, with two additional Rivet holes (drilled by me), an edge ding that was filed out. And all was disclosed. Just made for a cymbal that was MUCH more user friendly. The goal is to play them, right?


Great, Ptrick ........ thanks for this!

My Ace-sourced reamers are General Tools branded ..... and they are fine. I can't believe how much good ol' Amazon can undersell on these items ..... compared to the in-store price. I like actually going down to my local brick 'n mortar and getting ...... instant gratification, and no shipping charge!

The adjustable "straight sided" reamers are incredibly useful, but they are really machine shop tools, best used in a milling machine for those applications that require extreme precision, such as a bearing seat or a shaft bore. They would be awkward for enlarging a cymbal bell hole, plus you might need two (or more!) of them.

Mike
 

Markkuliini

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Cutting off your head damages something very valuable permanently. Changing your hat is 4 bucks at Walmart

I was just not agreeing that modifying a hole to make cymbals playable equals to a what essentially is a suicide.
Felt that comparison was bit hysterical.:)
 

Tama CW

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One of them is a bottom cymbal. I play backline kits at rehearsals and gigs. I would prefer not to schlep my only hihat stand that they fit on. Do you have another suggestion?

Bottom cymbals imo don't contribute as much to the sound as the top one. A trans stamp bottom cymbal can replaced by many available A's that will closely replicate the "bottom" tone.
It would be different if the trans stamp were the top cymbal. I'll do whatever I can to avoid enlarging the hole on any K or a 50's or earlier A.

If one sold an old K Istanbul with an enlarged hole and multiple rivet holes drilled for really strong money.....it would have brought even MORE without those modifications....possibly another
10-15%.

Tama 1980's or earlier hi hat stands and clutches work fine on 7/16" (11 mm) bell holes . But you do have to watch out for the ones that are even smaller at 13/32 (10 mm) and even 8 mm (micro hole).
 
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Ptrick

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If one sold an old K Istanbul with an enlarged hole and multiple rivet holes drilled for really strong money.....it would have brought even MORE without those modifications....possibly another
10-15%.
I didn’t buy it to sell it, bought it to play it. Got many great years with it, was much more user friendly, and point is, had zero trouble selling it when the time came.
 

hardbat

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I've used a simple reamer too, on several cymbals and it's very easy. Just go slow and gentle.
 

Tama CW

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I didn’t buy it to sell it, bought it to play it. Got many great years with it, was much more user friendly, and point is, had zero trouble selling it when the time came.

That's all good. But, my point was that you (or anyone else who owned a similar cymbal) would have ended up with significantly MORE money for the cymbal w/o those extra holes. Each person can decide for themselves to drill or not to drill. It's a personal choice. And there's NEVER a problem selling any cymbal.....it's just a matter of finding that price point where it moves quickly. That verifies nothing else other than the cymbal was priced right for the overall quality.
 


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