removing nonflammable contact cement

egw

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So, I'm trying to get the nonflammable contact cement off of the shell of a drum I built about 20 years ago. I was able to get the wrap off fairly easily, and now the dried contact cement is all that remains.

As far as I can tell, it's just plain old latex. It feels and smells just like a balloon (or a rubber). I can peel it off bit by bit rubbing it with my thumb, but it's taking forever. I can remove about a half inch or so of the stuff with an hour's work. Plus, my finger can't take much more than an hour at a time. For what it's worth, while slow-going, it comes of very cleanly and doesn't leave any residue as far as I can tell.

So far, I've tried heating it with a hair dryer, using solvent, and using an eraser instead of my thumb. Nothing I've tried seems to speed the process up at all.

Anybody have any ideas of an easier way to get this done? I couldn't possibly be the first guy on earth who's ever had to do this. Thanks in advance.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Go to Home Depot and buy Citrus-trip. Tape the inside of the lug holes and other holes with blue painter's tape. Apply a generous amount of this stuff. Give it 30-60 minutes and then use a plastic putty knife and scrape it off. If there are residual small pieces, try using a cotton towel to spot clean. If it's still bad (but I doubt it), do a 2nd coat......this should be easy peasy.......I've taken off 40-50+ year old glue from Gretsch, Ludwig, Slingy & Rogers and gotten shells down to bare clean wood.
 
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egw

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Thanks for your advice, vintagedrumguy. Though I can't help but wonder if you're confusing what I'm asking about (the nonflammable type of contact cement), with the regular stuff. I don't doubt that citrus strip would work to get the flammable type off.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I don't think it would make a difference. What is the significance of it being non-flammable? I can't imagine the big 4 brands above all used flammable cement, but maybe.....
 
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egw

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You're probably right. I'm far from an expert on this stuff (which is why I asked in the first place) and maybe am confusing flammable vs nonflammable with water-based vs oil-based. I just figured that since lacquer thinner doesn't do anything for it, citrus strip and similar products wouldn't work either. I guess I should just try it. As I said though, with the nonflammable stuff, once it dries, it basically just becomes a thin layer of latex.

Thanks again.
 

egw

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And for what it's worth, I guarantee Ludwig, Gretsch et al were using the flammable stuff. I mean, it was the 60's for crying out loud.

I've never stripped a vintage shell myself, but I've handled enough of them over the years. It's different from the more modern nonflammable cement.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Maybe try a hot air gun to warm it up, then a terry cloth towel. I did that with part of the cement on a Ludwig shell when 90% of it came off with Citrustrip. Instead of using your fingers, circular motions with an old towel did the job.....
 
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egw

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Great advice. Thanks again, brother!
 


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