Leedy Snare Drum

DonS

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To all,
A friend gave me this Leedy snare drum, yeah a REALLY GREAT friend! I'm going to restore it and use it as a player. I've got Cook's Leedy book, have done a few internet searches and here's what I came up with. I cannot pin down the specific model but looks like the drum dates to the mid-20's given the lug design and strainer. The finish is black over walnut and the hardware appears to be nickel plated. I've read in a few places this drum should have/might have come with gold plated hardware, there seems to be no evidence anywhere the hardware on this drum was ever gold.
I used a bit of Turtle Chrome Polish on a section of one rim and it came up shiny with little effort. Apparently this drum suffers most from never being cleaned for 50 plus years. The black finish looks in fine shape under the gunk. Now some questions;
1] should I continue using Turtle Chrome Polish or should I go to Cape Cod cloths or something else?
2] What should I use to clean the shell?? Diluted Dawn??
3] Once the shell is clean, should I use a protective coat of wax or polish?
4] once cleaned up I will need about 4 or 5 tension rods, anyone know any sources for these?
5] The snare wires are trashed, snare bed looks narrow so I'm thinking 16 strand Puresounds or Canopus?
6] Heads; spiritually I'm thinking those goat heads, name escapes me but fiberskyn would do, of course what actually fits might be the deciding factor.
7] The strainer seems it will work with a few adjustments, on the handle there is what appears a small screw hole perhaps to adjust the height of the handle, am I correct? The screw if it were there is gone.
Thanks for any responses ahead of time and if anyone fluent in Leedy would like to PM me that'd be great.
Regards
DonS
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vintagemore2000

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First of this leedy will probably become your favorite snare drum hands down, this is a solid shell model, from the late 20's if my memory serves me correct, here is a pic of what you strainer is suppose to look like!
 

DonS

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Hey Vintagemoore,
Thanks for the photo, so there is a missing thumbscrew on the handle afterall. I do like solid wood drums, I've got a '38 Slingerland RK and a '65 Slingerland Artist, I'm interested in the how different the walnut will sound. Thanks again
REgards
DonS
 

vintagemore2000

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Hey Vintagemoore,
Thanks for the photo, so there is a missing thumbscrew on the handle afterall. I do like solid wood drums, I've got a '38 Slingerland RK and a '65 Slingerland Artist, I'm interested in the how different the walnut will sound. Thanks again
REgards
DonS
Certainly, Yeah I'll like to hear your take also on the tone differences?
 

Leedyman

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Don,Those are nice drums....Leedy Professional model..Your drum was made between 1925-1929 as you can tell by the 4 screw lug.....it gonna take some searching for the tension rods as they are 10/24 thread.....but for now after the clean up get some 10/24 allen head cap screws(allen wrench to tighten) so you can play it..For the clean up I use simichrome polish...great stuff....and for the wood shell I use Guardsman furniture polish (wax Free) and you should be good to go......good luck.......Vinny
 

DonS

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Vinny,

THANKS! I will get the Allen screws as per your suggestion. I had a feeling slotted tension rods would be a tough and no doubt expensive find. Somewhere in the drums past a few tension rods were replaced with slotted screws. I was worried they might have been jammed in there but I backed them out and one of the original rods went in with ease; no apparent thread damage.
The drum is missing the butt plate. The hole pattern and ghost outline of the plate in the grunge on the shell appears to be very similar to a Slingerland, see photo. I seem to remember somewhere Slingerland copied the Leedy butt plate so a Slingerland replacement might work? If that's the case I've got a Slingerland Student I'll pirate the butt plate off till I can get another.
There's a pencil notation inside the shell, any idea what that might be??
Again thanks so much for your help.
Regards
DonS
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Rich K.

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Nickel was the common finish...gold colored was an option. Often, if the drum had nickel hardware, the grommet would be painted silver, if the hardware was gold, the grommet would be painted gold.

John Aldridge used to have repro slotted tension rods...they may still be available from NSMD.

You can easily take some modern generic rods and tap them to 10/24 and still be able to use your drum key. I just did that with two rods for a '30s Leedy.

Another easy solution is getting zinc plated or steeel 10/24 fillister bolts...Leedy actually used those in the earlier 20s, and you can use a regular screw driver (or a dime).
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FN807W/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000N8NXNA&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1GNMS7VGJ6SSQ6E667GA
I would also recommend the Aquarian "vintage" heads.
Cape Cod cloths do a great job on the hardware.
For that little extension lever screw, you can get one of those little screws they use to hold lighting fixture domes on their bass. They have them in every lighting place and home depot. Same thread and the cap looks close to the original. I like to find older used ones...
Also, those butt plates were used by everyone and are pretty easy to find.
 

DonS

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Hi Rich,
Thanks for all your useful information. I got the thumb screw at Ace and ordered the rods from Amazon; easy and good pinch hitting for originals. I've been amazed at how this drum is cleaning up; 50+ years of gunk has protected a surprisingly fine finish. The black lacquer is shiny with a few scratches; someone in its past cared for this drum. The nickel is cleaning up nicely too. I've got the strainer working, a little straightening of bent parts and it's good to go. Incredibly simple and well engineered throw off and a nice surprise to see an embossed Leedy logo appear on top of the strainer adjustment knob as the gunk sloughed off! I figured Aquarian the choice of heads. I'll take a few in-progress photos tomorrow, it's coming together in no small part to this Forum, Thanks to everyone who responded!
Regards
Don
 


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