Interior "treatment" on shells...

gwbasley

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I recently had my '65 Ludwigs apart and, before reassembly, I redid the interior finishes which were originally painted white. I like a hard finish because, as another poster put it, it "wakes them up". After a light sanding I sprayed them with Rustoleum Appliance white...wow, what a big sound! Also, be sure to tape everything, including the bering edges, which should be waxed. Remember, this is the sound that I prefer, if you want a warm sound, then go for a soft or natural finish. If you want to use oil, then mix in a little Japan Drier to help it dry faster.
 

audiochurch

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thanks for this post! so you use tape to plug up the holes while painting, eh? thanks. i sincerely didn't know what to use.

also, what specific wax do you use on the bearing edges and how much? i've never done this before but would love to try it on a pearl forum kit i'm bringing back to life.
 

gwbasley

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thanks for this post! so you use tape to plug up the holes while painting, eh? thanks. i sincerely didn't know what to use.

also, what specific wax do you use on the bearing edges and how much? i've never done this before but would love to try it on a pearl forum kit i'm bringing back to life.
Almost any kind of paste wax will work fine. I use Minn Wax floor wax, but you could even rub a candle on it. You dont want a big build up, though, it could effect the sound so remember "wax on...wax off"!
 

dave.robertson

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Great thread. Like Imposing Will, I notice a sonic difference comparing the same drum before and after treating the interior. I would say the drums project a little better. They still sound like a family. I have done two sets with different treatments.

I used two coats of Danish Oil on the interiors of a Gretsch Catalina Club Mod set 12 / 16 / 22.

Danish Oil gives a nice golden amber tint and it was easy to wipe on.

I did two coats of an aluminum fence paint as a Silver Sealer on a Gretsch Catalina Club Rock set 13 / 16 / 24. I noticed the same sort of positive improvement using this enamel paint. (Looks like a spot on match for the silver sealer on my Gretsch Renown drums.)

As Imposing Will wrote, I would have treated the interiors of these two drum sets regardless of the sonic improvements, just to protect them from the nasty humidity and weather changes in the midwest USA.

...Tip of the hat to the late Tommy Wells for sharing his discoveries on 'hot rodding' low cost drums. RIP, Tommy. We miss you.
 

A_T_P

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Would just a clear coat of polyurethane on the inside affect the tone of the snare dramatically? I tried this on a maple snare and it sounds very flat. Just wondering if this is why.
 

Michael Beechey

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Kevin_S said:
I also believe that the interior finish can make a big difference. I built two maple stave snares of the same size; one with linseed oil and the other with shellac on the inside. The overtone (ring) was more pronounced with the shellaced drum while the linseed oil was warmer.

The smell of linseed oil can be a bit of an issue if you have completed a whole kit and the shells didn't have time to cure well. With one drum, it's not too bad. Most linseed oil is usually boiled linseed oil or BLO. This variety has "driers" in it to speed up the drying process, but it still takes a LONG time to cure. Do not use pure linseed oil as it will take FOREVER to dry.
I once had a band practice in a house with clay finish applied walls and linseed on the floors....wow...did that stink!
 

Patrick

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A_T_P said:
Would just a clear coat of polyurethane on the inside affect the tone of the snare dramatically? I tried this on a maple snare and it sounds very flat. Just wondering if this is why.
To my ears, my experience has been the opposite. Polyurethane enhances the highs and (maybe) projection. Not sure why your drum would have come out sounding so flat. And brings up a bunch of questions. What was there before the sound went flat? Did you sand the interiors? How did you go about applying the poly? Any changes to your bearing edges through all this, (light sanding, etc)?
 

EvEnStEvEn

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A_T_P said:
Would just a clear coat of polyurethane on the inside affect the tone of the snare dramatically?
I've done clear gloss poly coats to several drum interiors, and in my experience, no, the tone doesn't change dramatically. The difference is miniscule at best. But the interiors do look better.
 

A_T_P

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Sorry, should have mentioned those details...It's an 8-ply Keller shell (5.5 x 14). I lightly sanded the interior, can't recall the grit, though it definitely wasn't anything too coarse. Applied the polyurethane with a foam brush, and didn't touch the bearing edges since they already had 45 degree cuts in them. There's a vent hole. Thing sounds like I'm hitting a thin piece of cardboard.



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RIDDIM

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On polyurethane: multiple coats of polyurethane were the secret behind Hayman (after Ivor Arbiter found metal shell liners weren't cost effective), which were built to compete with Ludwig, which pretty much had the rock market in the 60's and 70's.

Bob Grauso stated in his MD interview that the genesis of Fibes was his having applied multiple polyurethane coats to the inside of his Radio King. This gave it more definition and projection. His friends heard it and asked him to do theirs.
 

SteveB

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Kevin_S said:
I also believe that the interior finish can make a big difference. I built two maple stave snares of the same size; one with linseed oil and the other with shellac on the inside. The overtone (ring) was more pronounced with the shellaced drum while the linseed oil was warmer.

The smell of linseed oil can be a bit of an issue if you have completed a whole kit and the shells didn't have time to cure well. With one drum, it's not too bad. Most linseed oil is usually boiled linseed oil or BLO. This variety has "driers" in it to speed up the drying process, but it still takes a LONG time to cure. Do not use pure linseed oil as it will take FOREVER to dry.
I was going to mention this myself as not being the best choice. I use this on my exterior staging (roofer) and it tends to remain slightly wet, which is why it works for this purpose so well. The tung oil seems like the better solution because it is as hard as a rock and seeps in so deeply if sanded beforehand.

I can't think of any other good sealers that haven't been mentioned thus far.
 

BrianOwens

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SteveB said:
I also believe that the interior finish can make a big difference. I built two maple stave snares of the same size; one with linseed oil and the other with shellac on the inside. The overtone (ring) was more pronounced with the shellaced drum while the linseed oil was warmer.

The smell of linseed oil can be a bit of an issue if you have completed a whole kit and the shells didn't have time to cure well. With one drum, it's not too bad. Most linseed oil is usually boiled linseed oil or BLO. This variety has "driers" in it to speed up the drying process, but it still takes a LONG time to cure. Do not use pure linseed oil as it will take FOREVER to dry.
I was going to mention this myself as not being the best choice. I use this on my exterior staging (roofer) and it tends to remain slightly wet, which is why it works for this purpose so well. The tung oil seems like the better solution because it is as hard as a rock and seeps in so deeply if sanded beforehand.

I can't think of any other good sealers that haven't been mentioned thus far.
Yes, oils are a poor choice especially for wood interiors.
 

1up2dn

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i've used shellac...recently did the interior of a lower end snare drum....i did notice a difference in the sound of the drum...more high end...

shellac is real easy to use and leaves a good hard finish w/o changing the color of the wood...dries fast too...
 

rascalseven

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i dont know where the wood came from. the swingstar shells were the same with different lugs. some big name drummers like Dave Holland played the imperialstars.
Just wanted to pop in with a slight correction/clarification here. Yes, Tama's Swingstar shells of the 1980s were, like the Imperialstar shells, 9-ply construction of the same Philippine Mahogany/Lauan wood veneer, but the Swingstar shells were made from scraps (for lack of a kinder word in my brain at the moment) of this veneer combined to form a 9-ply shell (though containing more than 9 pieces of wood!).

Put another way, if you inspect the interior of an Imperialstar shell from the 1980s you will find a single seam for the inner ply (which IS visible even with the Zola coat finish). In a Swingstar shell, however, you will most often find two seams (meaning two separate veneers joined together to make that one interior ply). How many pieces used for each of the other plies? I have no idea, but it makes good sense that Tama would combine the smaller bits of veneer remaining from the construction of Imperialstar shells to produce the Swingstar shells as a way to save money and make their entry-level line more affordable (while still being able to correctly state in marketing material that they are 9-ply shells).

The result of this construction difference is noticeable when tapping shells to hear their pitches. Imperialstar shells have a pitch. Swingstar shells (all the ones I have tested) have more than one pitch, either based on where you tap, or simultaneously (with smaller diameter shells), and they are often (always?) dissonant to one another.

This was done with by other manufacturers as well, and likely continues to this day as a cost saving measure (even with shells made from 'better' woods like maple and birch). Hmmm....

I love my Imperialstar drums, BTW!
 

backtodrum

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what do you use to temporarily fill in the lug holes while painting the inside?
On My kits I just used really good 3M masking tape. I say 3m because that is what good quality automotive finishers use because it seals well and leaves no residue. I taped over each set of lug holes on the outside of the shell, and took really good care to push the tape into the holes slightly so as to seal them around their outer edges the best I could. It worked beautifully and I had no bleed through anywhere. just take your time and carefully apply it and you should be good to go. But I cant emphasize the use of good quality 3M masking tape, its more expensive but worth it for all the reasons I stated. I've learned this the hard way over the years of painting cars, boats and race cars. Your finished paint or finish work is only as good as your prep work and materials used.
 
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backtodrum

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I've done clear gloss poly coats to several drum interiors, and in my experience, no, the tone doesn't change dramatically. The difference is miniscule at best. But the interiors do look better.
i've done this to all of my kits over the years. I do it for aesthetic reasons more than anything else. They just look higher end, higher quality perhaps... I've never really heard any perceptible difference. I feel like you can talk yourself into thinking they sound different, better, brighter, warmer, whatever, after you've spent hours prepping and finishing the interiors of your shells. But in my experience it really doesn't change them over all. But that is just me, I'm not one that tries to over think this stuff... After all they are just drums! lol! I say that with all the respect due to those that think differently about it. Everyone has their opinion about this stuff and as I've said before that is what makes this forum so interesting to me. I like to read everyone's perspective on this stuff and I get a kick out of how much thought we all put into the subject of drums!
 
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premierplayer

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Back when... 65 -66 I painted the interiors of my first kit (MIJ) with gloss white alkyd house paint. My buddies Ludwigs had white interiors and I needed to step up my game. I thought they sounded better, looked better, and they made me want Luddies like my buddies even more. My first new to me Luddies (with white interiors :) ) came in `69 - '70 I think.
So... recently I picked up a Ludwig BreakBeats Bop Kit, raw interiors, sounded meh out of the box, the snare just wouldn't tune and I could feel the heads grabbing on the edges as I turned the drum keys.
First thoughts were new USA heads will help this, then I thought back to the White Interiors.
Then I remembered I'm now RDG (red drum guy), so I went with Red Mahogony stain, + 2 coats Satin Gloss Poly (alkyd). Even the offshore Remo heads sound pretty good, and they tune up smooth and even. I will up grade the heads soon, that should make things even better. Yes, they are more focused and brighter, and they look awesome. Not another one around like it I bet.
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backtodrum

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Back when... 65 -66 I painted the interiors of my first kit (MIJ) with gloss white alkyd house paint. My buddies Ludwigs had white interiors and I needed to step up my game. I thought they sounded better, looked better, and they made me want Luddies like my buddies even more. My first new to me Luddies (with white interiors :) ) came in `69 - '70 I think.
So... recently I picked up a Ludwig BreakBeats Bop Kit, raw interiors, sounded meh out of the box, the snare just wouldn't tune and I could feel the heads grabbing on the edges as I turned the drum keys.
First thoughts were new USA heads will help this, then I thought back to the White Interiors.
Then I remembered I'm now RDG (red drum guy), so I went with Red Mahogony stain, + 2 coats Satin Gloss Poly (alkyd). Even the offshore Remo heads sound pretty good, and they tune up smooth and even. I will up grade the heads soon, that should make things even better. Yes, they are more focused and brighter, and they look awesome. Not another one around like it I bet.
View attachment 495064 View attachment 495065 View attachment 495066 View attachment 495067
They look great!
 


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