Opinion needed on Keller Maple shells

natchomamma

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I recently purchased maple keller shells 6 ply. I have received them and noticed on two of them there is a gap on the inner ply where they did not get a good glue joint. It creates about a ~1/32"-1/16" gap in the middle of the plies that runs from one end to another. Is this acceptable?

I called Keller and they said that it "acceptable tolerance" and they suggested to fill it with a "toothpick" or scrap piece of wood. I didn't question it, but thought, now I have a hollow spot running thru the entire drum.

Thoughts? Have others filled and moved on? Should I insist on replacements be sent out?
 

esooy

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This is totally normal for Keller shells. I wouldn't bother trying to get replacements, because they might have the same thing.
 

natchomamma

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Sure. This is the 12" tom. That hole runs from one end to the other and it is basically in the middle of my bearing edge. The problem is when they manufactured it. They cut the inner plies too short. I called the place I purchased them from, but they said all the 12" shells they had were this way.

The first kit I built (green) about 9 years ago..... Those shells are perfect. Evidently quality control has slipped or non-existent.
 

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JazzDrumGuy

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I'd be annoyed, too. It's not like Joe Schmoe made the shells.....it's freakin' Keller! That's disappointing QC.......

With that said, try to poke a toothpick in there.....I'd be curious to know how deep it goes. I doubt that hole runs the entire height of the shell, but I'd like to know. I think I'd just stuff it with wood filler and be done with it if it is shallow.........if not, I'd consider returning them if it in fact runs the entire length.
 

natchomamma

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Just verified. That hole runs thru 3/4 of the shell width. Its a 8" deep shell and it runs 5-6"
 

Old Dog

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I just purchased a single Keller recently. Had the same question for the seller. I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's a normal thing.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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That is freaking weird! I feel like I should go home and check my 2 Keller shells (both 5" deep) - one's a DW clone and one's a Ludwig Jazz Fest clone. Both sound fine, though. I suppose maybe get a wire hanger, and cut it, and use the rod portion of it to ram wood filler into this cavity to solidify it......but I think I'd do that after you've built it out - if it sounds good as is, then let it slide. But good to know if I ever go that route and buy a raw K. shell.

I've seen this on vintage RB/SSB Gretsch shells - I've always just plugged up the holes but never checked to see if they ran all the way down.....I guess I need to do that, too.
 

Tommy D

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Sadly this is 100% normal with Keller shells. You can fill the gap with wood stir sticks from your local Starbucks or coffee house. I see gaps like this in most manufacturer's shells. Gretsch is notorious for ply gaps.
 

jaymandude

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Yep it's normal. But yep it may bother you. Up to you what to do, keep buying 12" shells until you get one without gaps ?
 

GeeDeeEmm

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Unacceptable, but normal. At the prices they charge, this kind of thing should never happen.

Knowing that, if it were mine, I'd fill the gap with two-part epoxy cement in the syringe, then cap it off with the suggested toothpick wood. The repair will be stronger than the wood surrounding it, so no sweat.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Beefsurgeon

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As others have said, yes this is normal for Keller (and some other shell makers). Wood putty + sanding should yield a smooth edge without any structural or sonic issues.
 

Fat Drummer

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As others have said, yes this is normal for Keller (and some other shell makers). Wood putty + sanding should yield a smooth edge without any structural or sonic issues.
This!

When we switched to Keller 30 years ago from our own lay up, Tom told us this was a by product of their plywood manufacturing process. I never gave it a second thought, just puttied the relief gaps , sanded and cut my edges. Just never bothered me as it's not visible once finished (the edged putted and sanded).
 
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Angelo Zollo

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I bought 5 sets of shells around 2004. I have 2 sets left. There is a seam but no gap. I have those 2 shell sets for sale
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I tried to inspect a bare Gretsch RB 12" tom shell I have - the gap was there but it was not deep or all the way thru. I will simply plug it with filler and fix the issue to finish the drum.
 

Jazzhead

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my keller shell 12” tom made by a reputable drum shop, and by someone who knows drums very well, has the same little gap. I would doubt the quality of my drums and the sound is affected by this little gap in the bearing edge. Completely normal!
 

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