Radio King snare acquisition & advice

thejohnlec

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Hi all,

Pretty pumped for this project. Just picked up this solid shell RK this past weekend for $150. Looks to be late 1940s to 1950 going by the badge.

Oddly, the components that are normally missing or broken are intact: throw/butt, both hoops (engraved top), muffler, and badge all seem fine and/or restorable (note black paint on throw and butt). A Dawn soak and some polish on the components will be first up.

Looks like a little moisture issue inside but nothing serious. Bearing edges will need a little attention. Re-rings seem tight and the shell is in remarkable condition overall, given what I would assume to be a challenging life.

The lugs will be a challenge. Would love to get some period-correct beaver tails on there but I’d need 9 or 10, and I’m just not seeing too many show up in an admittedly cursory search. Plus I’m not sure how much I trust the remaining lugs, so I’m thinking repro there for the sake of playability. DFD has some that look pretty decent. Happily, the shell was NOT re-drilled to accommodate the replacement lugs on top (I’ve never seen that model lug before).

I have no shelf dwellers in my collection. Everything I have gets played, and that is the goal for this one as well. At this point, playability over potential worth is more important (although I’d be interested in knowing it’s value in original state). It would be nice to have it both reliable and period-correct as well :) But, it’ll be utilized either way. Pics below!

Thanks for checking it out. Comments and suggestions are always welcome!

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Fat Drummer

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Wow, what a great grab, congratulations! Nothing there you can't handle. I'm with Sequimite, the DFD lugs are pretty darn good.
 

hsosdrum

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If you're in possession of the drum, check the shell on the snare side near the seam. A couple of the photos make it look like there may be an out-of-round issue in that area.
 

rikkrebs

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Absolutely Awesome Score!

Here's what I would do.

Replace All the lugs with repo lugs and save the original. Sell the Gretsch to help offset the cost,

Clean and polish the hardware. Metal Rescue will safely remove the rust.

Clean the shell with simply green and polish it with a paste wax.

THIS THING WILL BE BEAUTIFUL
 

Tama CW

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Being "out of round" is over-stated on these snares. My best sounding early Radio King snare drum is 1/4" out of round at the worst point side to side. It needed oversized heads and TLC to get them to fit right.
Yet it sound as good or better than the "in round" ones I've had. This was also a highly distressed snare drum when I got it with old water stains and big gaps at the re-rings. So you never know how they will sound once all spruced up.
 

thejohnlec

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Here's what I would do.

Replace All the lugs with repo lugs and save the original. Sell the Gretsch to help offset the cost,

Clean and polish the hardware. Metal Rescue will safely remove the rust.

Clean the shell with simply green and polish it with a paste wax.

THIS THING WILL BE BEAUTIFUL
Thanks man! Would you recommend paint thinner to remove the paint on the throw and butt?
 

thejohnlec

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Being "out of round" is over-stated on these snares. My best sounding early Radio King snare drum is 1/4" out of round at the worst point side to side. It needed oversized heads and TLC to get them to fit right.
Yet it sound as good or better than the "in round" ones I've had. This was also a highly distressed snare drum when I got it with old water stains and big gaps at the re-rings. So you never know how they will sound once all spruced up.
I see what my picture is showing but it’s exaggerated there. The snare has 2 Evans heads on it and they fit well.

I have several instruments with dried moisture points and they are solid-sounding instruments!
 

1988fxlr

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Thanks man! Would you recommend paint thinner to remove the paint on the throw and butt?
Acetone is safe on nickel if its lacquer based. Otherwise it should flake off with a heat gun.probably stating the obvious, but remove them from the shell first
 

rikkrebs

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Acetone is safe on nickel if its lacquer based. Otherwise it should flake off with a heat gun.probably stating the obvious, but remove them from the shell first
Yep. I use fingernail polish remover from the dollar store. Works perfect
 

thejohnlec

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Clean the shell with simply green and polish it with a paste wax.
What product would you (or anyone else who may read this) recommend for a wax coat on that wood shell after cleaning? I’ve used various products on wraps and lacquers with solid results. Would like to avoid refinishing this shell (which I’ve also done successfully) simply to save time - other projects loom large. Thanks!
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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Being "out of round" is over-stated on these snares. My best sounding early Radio King snare drum is 1/4" out of round at the worst point side to side. It needed oversized heads and TLC to get them to fit right.
Yet it sound as good or better than the "in round" ones I've had. This was also a highly distressed snare drum when I got it with old water stains and big gaps at the re-rings. So you never know how they will sound once all spruced up.
I'm always amazed at how many drummers don't think - sound first, then aesthetics, measurements (in-round, bearing edges, etc etc), etc. First, play the drum as is. If it's magic, leave it. If not, then explore fixes, re-edging, etc.
 

pjmariner

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I like Johnson's paste wax, its my go too for quick wax jobs on wood. It does smell when applied but wears off fairly quickly. I also use it to coat all my cast iron tools after i have cleaned them.
 

rikkrebs

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What product would you (or anyone else who may read this) recommend for a wax coat on that wood shell after cleaning? I’ve used various products on wraps and lacquers with solid results. Would like to avoid refinishing this shell (which I’ve also done successfully) simply to save time - other projects loom large. Thanks!
JazzDrumGuy
That's a beautiful shell. I would just use a paste wax on the inside and maybe a Teak Oil or something similar on the outside.
 


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