Filling a major hole in the bass drum (HELP!)

Cosh

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about a month back i got my hands on a couple of shells from an older gentleman in my town, which was strange because i live in a small community with only about a dozen or so working drummers , so needless to say, i thought i knew about all the old kits around here.
anyway, i went to look at the drums he had for sale marked as an "vintage ludwig kit from the 60's" i checked the serial numbers on the drums and found out they were from 1962. they were blue sparkle but theres NO SAVING this wrap haha.
the hightop was in great condition, even still had the baseball bat muffler attached but the bass drum... well lets just say years ago the mans son was driving his truck and put it off the road with the drums in the back, bass drum was only in a soft shell case so she get pretty mucked up.
i just started working on this project to be used as a players kit, but i still want it to look good. originally the drum had the rail mount on it but since the gentleman was south paw he put a centre poll mount on the bass which led it to go straight through the drum.
my question is does anyone have experience fill holes this large. if this drum wasn't a piece of history in our local music scene i would probably have just done away with it and kept the hardware but id really like to preserve this drum. and don't worry, i got a good deal on them ;) haha
please help!!!!!!!!!!

-Mark
 

Big Beat

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The way I have done this in the past was to take a scrap shell and cut out an evenly sized plug. You might wish to enlarge the hole a bit so that you are working with clean, straight edges. After gluing it in, sand it smooth. The repair might need to be reinforced on the inside. The way I have done that is to cut a square piece of metal plate to the size of the top 4 lugs and use the existing lug holes to hold it in place. If the lug screws are not long enough, find slightly longer ones. Better than drilling extra holes. The plexiglas repair on your drum was the right idea, but wrong material and wrong execution. If you are better at woodworking, there are ways to do that and not use a reinforcing plate. However, these days I'd probably just find a replacement shell and transfer all the parts, especially if it's to be recovered anyway.
 

JCKOriollo

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That's pretty bad. That's where it gets tricky because it's so large it becomes more difficult to restore the structural integrity of the shell with a large plug like that. Looking for a replacement shell is def the easiest route to go...but finding a scrap shell and cutting a piece to fit is an option if you want to try and save it.
 

K.O.

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Fiberglass would probably do the trick,
I filled some pretty good sized holes on a couple of drums with fiberglass (cloth and matte + resin). Nothing quite that big but it should still work.

I covered the hole on the outside of the drum with a thick layer of masking tape then I applied the fiberglass to the inside of the shell in multiple layers until it was as thick as the shell. The tape acted as a "mold" to help make the FG flush to the outside of the shell. Once the FG set up I was able to pull off the tape and sand the outside smooth (easy) and then the inside (not as easy but I got it nice and smooth). You can pick up a fiberglass kit in the auto department at WalMart that should have more than enough materials for filling that hole. Probably costs about $15.

Not sure of the sonic ramifications but structurally it is very sound and I can't believe that it would cause any more problems than a blob of bondo (which tends to be brittle and not good for spanning large holes, although it would be good for smoothing out the FG if you get any low spots) or even a chunk of wood glued into place.
 

amosguy

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Another thought is fill the hole using one of the already mentioned methods. . Then flip the shell over and put the hole on the bottom. Gonna be a players drum anyway, and spur holes are much easier to fill and hide. That way the strength of the shell will support the tom mounts. Good luck with the project.
 

retrosonic

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I have hole to fill on my Gretsch RB bass drum shell, as well, bu nothing as big as that.

Do you guys reco Bondo over wood filler/putty? I was told Bondo would work well.
 

K.O.

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I have hole to fill on my Gretsch RB bass drum shell, as well, bu nothing as big as that.

Do you guys reco Bondo over wood filler/putty? I was told Bondo would work well.
Bondo is okay for small holes but not ideal for larger ones. The problem with bondo is it has no structural integrity. It's really made to fill low spots and intended to be used in thin layers over a supporting substrate, not for bridging large gaps. I think the same would apply to wood putty. I'd say a better bet would be either a wood plug or fiberglass (as I recommended above).

I have seen a version of Bondo with glass fibers in it and that would likely be better than regular Bondo if you're set on that method. The fibers add support to the plastic (as they do in fiberglass which is equally brittle if you just have the resin without the reinforcing glass). If the hole is round you can use a wood dowel of the correct size to cut a plug from. Just wood glue it into place and sand smooth.
 

FloydZKing

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I use straight Bondo resin on drum repairs all the time. It's not as strong as metal but it's a fair sight stronger than the wood it's replacing. If a tom mount will be added after the repair, a couple layers of cloth would be a good idea, but seriously, resin is plenty strong enough for drum repairs without needing glass. It's only replacing plywood.
 

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