If the bearing edge/top of snare is not flat...

Balance

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If the bearing edge/top of snare is not perfectly flat then how much imperfection before it affects the tone?

Example, when I place the top part of the snare on a flat surface, there are two areas opposite each other that sit slightly higher. One side sits about 1mm higher, the other 0.5mm but the change is gradual.

All my snares are like that to an extent, so I've no point of reference. I actually flattened a cheaper snare but when I re-routed the edge it didn't go too well.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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Does the snare sound the way you want as it is? If so, don't worry about it. I'd change it only if the drum is hard to tune.

I don't know about Australia, but here in the States it's possible to find large sheets of fabric-backed sandpaper used in industry. This makes it very easy to attach the sheets to a large pane of glass and gradually move the drum shell around on the sandpaper till it is perfectly flat. Considering how little correction is needed on your snare, once the flattening is done, you could likely rework the edges by hand without need for a router.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Balance

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Does the snare sound the way you want as it is? If so, don't worry about it. I'd change it only if the drum is hard to tune.
Hard to say as I don't have a snare that I know is perfectly flat, but it/they sound good tuned high, little too many overtones when tuned medium.

I don't know about Australia, but here in the States it's possible to find large sheets of fabric-backed sandpaper used in industry. This makes it very easy to attach the sheets to a large pane of glass and gradually move the drum shell around on the sandpaper till it is perfectly flat. Considering how little correction is needed on your snare, once the flattening is done, you could likely rework the edges by hand without need for a router.

GeeDeeEmm
I hear ya. I did exactly that with my cheap Mapex. There was only about 1mm (or so) in areas that were higher, sanded it flat using sand paper and a flat mirror. After sanding, there were areas on the edge that were now too flat, maybe about 4mm flat! Bit too much sanding for that so I used a router (didn't turn out well but got the job done).
 

GeeDeeEmm

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A router will do a wonderful job IF you have a router table and don't try to cut too deep. It's best to make small, incremental cuts until you build up to the profile you want. A lot of first-timers try to cut their profile on the first cut, and it ends up being too dramatic, for a number of reasons. (Ask me how I know. :banghead: )

GeeDeeEmm
 

Balance

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Basically what I'm asking is how bad is bad, regarding bearing edges?
 

repete

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In my experience the edges should not be flat. A common edge is a double 45 degree with less cut on the outer edge. For example if the drum has 6 plys the outer two would be cut and then the inner four. Not evenly in the middle. Or some like a rounder outside for more head contact but flat? Never heard of it.
 
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One of my kits is a Ludwig Hollywood '67 kit, so you know what that means bearing edge wise. I made a sanding board (180 grit--slower process) to "spin sand" the 13" tom's bottom edge which kept a wrinkle on the resonant head unless tune tight. I went on to do all the bearing edges of the kit and very carefully beveled in the inner and outer rims just a little bit by hand. The tuning range is better, although I may eventually remove the heads for further work and parts of those old hand carved rims may be just a whisper flatter. I know of no drum craft shops in the area, so I'm on my own. I advise extreme conservatism in approaching the work, but if the drum doesn't tune optimally, you should do well. My early-mid 60's Slingerlands have quite level "baseball bat" rims.
 

jeffh

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Just saw this, so it's probably too late, but...

"If the bearing edge/top of snare is not perfectly flat then how much imperfection before it affects the tone?

"Example, when I place the top part of the snare on a flat surface, there are two areas opposite each other that sit slightly higher. One side sits about 1mm higher, the other 0.5mm but the change is gradual.

"All my snares are like that to an extent, so I've no point of reference. I actually flattened a cheaper snare but when I re-routed the edge it didn't go too well."

Seems pretty clear that what the OP was looking at was snare beds. Either he's not realize there's a difference between top and bottom edges of a snare drum or somehow the drums have been assembled upside down, which is not too likely. OP, if you're still reading and those are the edges on the wire side of the drums, leave them alone. :)
 
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Yep, the snare beds would look like shallow depressions opposite one another, wide enough for the snares to ride on top of the (bottom) resonant head. That’s not your typical bearing edge irregularity.
 

Balance

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Jeez guys, I know what a snare bed is. Don't tell me you guys have nothing but perfect bearing edges and us Australians get all the rejects...? Actually, I wouldn't be surprised, happens a lot in the global marketplace.

I read somewhere about the paper test, if you can slide more than three A4 sheets of paper under the gap, it's too much. All my snares have that variable, some very expensive, some cheap.
 

jeffh

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OK, then if all of your snares have this issue to some extent, my next guess would be that the flat surface you use to examine them is not truly flat. Not sure what you're using, but granite countertops and mirrors, let alone tabletops, are not generally reliable for flatness.
 

viaduck

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If you have 2 of the same diameter, put them edge-to-edge and see if you have the same kind of gaps. That'll tell if it's the surface you were using or if it's real.
 

Elvis

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OK, then if all of your snares have this issue to some extent, my next guess would be that the flat surface you use to examine them is not truly flat. Not sure what you're using, but granite countertops and mirrors, let alone tabletops, are not generally reliable for flatness.
Laying an edge on a mirror to check for flatness is a classic operation that's been suggested for many, many years.
...so if a mirror doesn't work, then what would the average drummer use?
 

jeffh

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Laying an edge on a mirror to check for flatness is a classic operation that's been suggested for many, many years.
...so if a mirror doesn't work, then what would the average drummer use?
In that situation, I'd probably seek out a friend who has a table saw with a cast iron top. Not necessarily perfect, but it might be more likely to be closer tolerances, especially if it's a cabinet-grade tool.

The good news is that 1mm - 0.5mm (2/100 to 4/100 of an inch) won't affect your tuning enough to be discernible, to be honest. I'm not saying it shouldn't be precise, but it's a pretty minor inconsistency.
 
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Balance

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I've been using a mirror to check and it's accurate. Even if it wasn't you can still check on an uneven surface by turning the snare and seeing if the unevenness is in the same position or not. But don't get too hung up on that, I can assure you the mirror that I've been using is flat.

Unfortunately, the global market dictates where inferior versions of the same product go. Lucky for you North Americans, you guys seem to get the better products (I've purchased a lot from online stores and individuals from the US). What I heard is companies don't like it when stores ship back sub-standard products (back to the manufacturer) just because of a certain flaw so they will rather ship it oversees to a country like Australia, a smaller market base. It certainly seems that way from my experience.

I'm yet to own a snare that has a perfect bearing edge... maybe one that is close. Minor imperfections I'm not too bothered about. It's the snares that are way out that annoy me.
 
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