Removing a Re-Ring from a Ludwig 3 ply shell

K.O.

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I'm in the process of cutting down an old Ludwig 3 ply 10x14" marching snare shell into a 6.5x14" that would be more practical to use with drum sets (this was a shell with yellowed and somewhat damaged Blue Sparkle wrap that I had picked up a few years back for $10). After cutting the shell down to 6.5 inches on a table saw (which did not go perfectly as I am not a woodworking pro by any means, but I did get a useable result) I was confronted with the problem of removing the upper re-ring from the cut off portion of the shell for re-use on the new upper edge of the shell. I asked a few folks for advice on what to do and was told by one it likely couldn't easily be done without destroying the ring. The other advice I got was to soak the shell portion in water until it started to delaminate. I figured that would work but I didn't think it would be especially good for the ring. I did some googling as well and found a few other suggestions. These were put together with hide glue which apparently will re-activate with the application of heat and moisture. Buried deep in a response on a forum thread (on a different drum forum that I had never been to before) where someone asked the same question was a suggestion to use a microwave to heat up the glue. That seemed to have some promise, at least enough to give it a try. The shell cutoff would just barely fit into our kitchen microwave....what did I have to lose? Well, maybe a major kitchen appliance that my wife is quite attached to. I put it in, crossed my fingers, and fired it up. Fire being the operative word in that sentence, the aluminum particles in the sparkle wrap that remained in the scarf joint started to spark almost immediately and the wrap itself started to flare up. I hit the stop button right away and the small flame went out. Okay, so that was a problem. After some thought I put the shell piece in the regular oven at 200 degrees to warm it up and see if conventional heat might do the same thing. After about 20 minutes I pulled it out and while I was not able to get the ring out I was able to pry the scarf joint apart and therefore remove the remaining piece of sparkle wrap. Now that it was "microwave safe" I decided to try that route again. First I let that edge of the shell sit in some water (I used an old 16" head as a water basin) to add some moisture. I zapped it for a few seconds to make sure it was truly okay with the microwaves and didn't notice any ill-effects. I zapped it again for about a minute and pulled it out to give it a pry. It was hot to the touch but I was able to pry up about 3-4 inches of the shell away from the ring. It came away cleanly but then the glue seemed to take hold again and the part I had pried up cracked and snapped off from the rest. Make no mistake, there would be no saving the shell cutoff using this method, which I didn't care about. I zapped the shell 3-4 more times for about 40 seconds per shot and each time was able to peel more of the shell away from the ring. Under the area I peeled the ring was sticky, but that went away as soon as the wood cooled. I ended up with most of the shell gone except for a long strip of the mahogany inner ply and two smaller pieces. I soaked the mahogany bits with water and zapped it once more for about 20 seconds. The long strip peeled right off at that point. The two smaller areas remained stubbornly attached but were easy enough to sand off.

So the result is I have a nice clean re-ring ready to glue back into what is now the batter side of the shortened shell. I still have to figure out what I'm going to do as far as cutting a new bearing edge. I do have access to a router but have never used one. I may see if there is anyone local with experience who can cut it for me but one way or another I will get it done. Then it will just be a matter of rewrapping the shell to match a set I just finished.

BTW: when looking at the edge profile of a cut down shell, minus the re-ring, you can see just how thin it is and how thin the mahogany (or maple) plies are in relation to the poplar core. I think this particular snare drum was made on a Monday as the two rows of lugs were drilled off center with each other by at least an eighth of an inch.

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JazzDrumGuy

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Wow! I need to do the same thing on a 9x13 shell - remove the rings to add to a 3x13 piccolo I just got......so, first of all, great timing for me! I have never microwaved a drum shell.....yet......so A for creativity there! Glad you pulled it off.....I don't get near my wife's appliances, so you're a better man than I.

I am interested in pics of your final product. Luckily, my shell has edges already. I did hand edges once, on a 10x12 Slingy I had a woodworker cut down to 8". It wasn't perfect, so I made it the bottom edge......
 

latzanimal

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Hide glue will crystalize with alcohol. This will allow the bond to break apart very easily. It will not dry out the wood as someone once argued with me. I've used this method for everything from removing rings, wrap, furniture repair, etc.

If the drum is newer, you can use vinegar to weaken the glue bond...

KO, if you can wait until the Chicago show, you can give the shell to me to cut a new bearing edge on and I can ship it back to you...
 

burgundy

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I have done this a few times, but you do need a table saw and rotor table with fence, after deciding on my depth of new shell, I set table saw fence at the size as well as removing an extra 1/4". I then cut the ring off the scrap piece on table saw. I now set the rotor fence to remove the exact thickness of the shell , I set the height of the rotor bit ( its a flute bit) the height of the re-ring minus 1/4", slowely turn the ring against the fence and bit to remove the shell you don't want. now I can glue the re-ring back into the new shell, the 1/4" that I left on re-ring acts as a stop, keeps every thing level, plus I don't need to cut a new bearing edge. works like a dream.
 

K.O.

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I have done this a few times, but you do need a table saw and rotor table with fence, after deciding on my depth of new shell, I set table saw fence at the size as well as removing an extra 1/4". I then cut the ring off the scrap piece on table saw. I now set the rotor fence to remove the exact thickness of the shell , I set the height of the rotor bit ( its a flute bit) the height of the re-ring minus 1/4", slowely turn the ring against the fence and bit to remove the shell you don't want. now I can glue the re-ring back into the new shell, the 1/4" that I left on re-ring acts as a stop, keeps every thing level, plus I don't need to cut a new bearing edge. works like a dream.
That's a neat idea. Many different ways to skin this particular cat.
 

JDA

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Can see briefly, some 'rubber hammering' going on..
Maybe if that portion of the shell with the ring isn't to be used again; you can slide something (between ring and shell) and gently, Tap it out..? Anyway cool video Check it:

 

jccabinets

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Well, my way was the best,LOL. Just kidding Kevin!
 


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