Vintage Tama - Imperialstar - Perfect Percussion

EvEnStEvEn

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An outer ply of luan doesn't signify the shell makeup as "mostly Luan"
Again, I owned a set of these same shells, please see my posts above.
 

thin shell

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An outer ply of luan doesn't signify the shell makeup as "mostly Luan"
Again, I owned a set of these same shells, please see my posts above.
Have any pictures? All of the Japanese manufacturers had been using Luan for their entire shells. The Re-rings were pine or some other softwood. Star started taking the drum business more seriously and stepped up their game. Adding inner plies of Birch to their existing shells using plied Re-rings was a logical next step. That's the part everyone sees and it looks a lot better than the vertical grain luan that everyone associated with cheap, Japanese drums. On top of this the later Imperialstar drums with the zolacoat finish on the inside were all Luan. Now could their be another ply or two of Birch in there? Sure, but from what I have seen the bulk of the shells were made from Luan just dressed up with a Birch ply.
 

Ralf

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Hello Gentlemen,

Glad that member EvEnStEvEn gave me hint to this thread - thank you. I've already answered BeatMachine's request to my web site's email.
The discussion above contains information, and some of it with crosslinks either to my web site (www.star-drums.de) or to my Star catalog, which is on my web site, too, or can be found here: www.drumarchive.com/Star
I'm glad that Star, or - in this case - the earliest Tama drums, find so much interest. Indeed, they are excellent craftsmanship, beyond the radar of most of us, as they are so rare - and Tama didn't repeat the shell construction lateron at any other series again.

Now, coming to the essential point of the wooden layers. I've talked to local carpenters and most probably, their inner layer is Birch.
In between maybe Mahogany, they stated. But the outer ply ... - I'm really not sure about this. Here are two photos from 'stripped' Royal Star shells, which mates have sent me in the past years. Maybe someone can identify what Star has used there ... ?

I would also be eager to learn, from where member 'thin shell' took the information that the layers in between are definitely Luan?
As this specific shell construction is totally different. From what Star had manufactured before and Tama, after the time of shells with 'Perfect Percussion' badges.

Cheers,
Ralf

Royal_Star_stripped_1.JPG

Royal_Star_stripped_2.JPG
 

EvEnStEvEn

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Have any pictures?
Only one snapshot from long ago, and it only shows the drums set-up onstage with no interior views.

Ralf from star-drums.de is considered the foremost authority regarding these early Tama shells and sets.
I've made him aware of this topic and I look forward to his reply & opinion on the shell makeup of these particular drums.
 

BeatMachine

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Thank you for your mail and your answer in this feed Ralf. I would like to say thanks to all of you who are writing your thoughts here.
About the wooden layers... I’m not sure I want to take the copper metal wrap of my drums ;) Haha!
They are stunning and very well built and so far I’m glad for all I’ve learned about the kit in the last two days :)
 

thin shell

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Thank you for your mail and your answer in this feed Ralf. I would like to say thanks to all of you who are writing your thoughts here.
About the wooden layers... I’m not sure I want to take the copper metal wrap of my drums ;) Haha!
They are stunning and very well built and so far I’m glad for all I’ve learned about the kit in the last two days :)
There is no need to remove the copper wrap. That outer ply on your drum is Luan. I can spot Luan a mile away. I actually just finished a low budget conversion of a MIJ bass drum into a gong drum so I have been looking at it for the past few days.

If you could post some clear close ups of the edges looking straight down on them that would be helpful for this discussion.
 

thin shell

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Hello Gentlemen,

Glad that member EvEnStEvEn gave me hint to this thread - thank you. I've already answered BeatMachine's request to my web site's email.
The discussion above contains information, and some of it with crosslinks either to my web site (www.star-drums.de) or to my Star catalog, which is on my web site, too, or can be found here: www.drumarchive.com/Star
I'm glad that Star, or - in this case - the earliest Tama drums, find so much interest. Indeed, they are excellent craftsmanship, beyond the radar of most of us, as they are so rare - and Tama didn't repeat the shell construction lateron at any other series again.

Now, coming to the essential point of the wooden layers. I've talked to local carpenters and most probably, their inner layer is Birch.
In between maybe Mahogany, they stated. But the outer ply ... - I'm really not sure about this. Here are two photos from 'stripped' Royal Star shells, which mates have sent me in the past years. Maybe someone can identify what Star has used there ... ?

I would also be eager to learn, from where member 'thin shell' took the information that the layers in between are definitely Luan?
As this specific shell construction is totally different. From what Star had manufactured before and Tama, after the time of shells with 'Perfect Percussion' badges.

Cheers,
Ralf

View attachment 451212
View attachment 451213
Hello Ralf, I base my assertion about the Luan in at least the two pictures that I have posted based on my knowledge of wood and vintage USA and MIJ drums.

The OP's outer ply is Luan. No question. The outer ply and at least several next plies on the slilver shimmer drum appear to be Luan as well. Luan is a very soft wood with a very open grain which makes it unlike any other wood used in drum manufacturing. It behaves a certain way when you cut it with the grain and a different way when you cut against the grain.

What I see in the silver drum is what I have seen in every Luan shell I have ever seen. Tearout and just the very porous look of Luan end grain. I see this until the first light colored ply. This is the inner Birch ply. Beyond that I can't really tell because the lighting and focus don't allow that.

As for the pictures you posted. The first ones are not clear enough to make out anything about the plies. The outer ply looks like Pine or something very closely related. The grain pattern and knots are a giveaway. Are you saying that was under the wrap?

The last drum you posted is also Luan. Vertical orientation, long open grain is a giveaway. Someone has applied a varnish to it but Luan is really quite an unattractive wood so it never looks good when someone removes the wrap to give it a natural finish.

Luan is a term used for several related species of trees so there is some variation from species to species but they all are easily recognizable.

I can say this with certainty, there was no Mahogany used in these drums, at least not the two examples that I posted. Drum companies call Luan, Mahogany all the time but Luan is not mahogany.

People shouldn't get so defensive about Luan being used in drums. It is not a bad wood for drums. Espectially when combined with a couple of plies of a much harder wood like Birch a well built Luan shell can be strong enough and sound very nice.
 

BeatMachine

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Is it really copper? Not a plastic of some kind?
Ghostin one, to be honest I rally don’t know! I think it might be something like coated/colored aluminum or similar.
I hope that someone else know the answer.
 

thin shell

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Thanks. Those are great. This is what I see. Two thin plies of birch. One on the inside of the shell and one on the inside of the re-ring. The re-ring has the identical ply layup as the shell so the re-rings are made from a narrow cutoff of shell cut to fit. This very common and how all ply re-rings have been done since Rogers and just about everyone else including Tama today.

The birch plies are very thin whereas most of the Luan plies are thicker but they do vary in thickness.

The shells appear to be made very well and the edges are very smooth for a Luan shell.

early imperialstar birch plies.jpg


early imperialstar plies.jpg
 

thin shell

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Luan is an Asian wood from the Shorea family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorea

It is very inexpensive which is why it was used and is still used in economy drums. Probably the most common place it is used is on flat hollow core doors. While not that commonly used now, If you have been in a house built in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even 80's and it had flat interior doors, the chances they were either Birch or Luan on the front and back. Birch was the more expensive option so Luan is probably the most common to see. Luan hollow core doors are still made but most houses use those molded Masonite 6 panel doors these days. You can still buy a Luan hollow core door at your local big box home center.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/JELD-WEN-Flush-Unfinished-Flush-Hollow-Core-Veneer-Slab-Door-Common-36-in-x-80-in-Actual-36-in-x-80-in/4363179
 
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Ralf

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Thanks, thin shell, for bringing it to light. I was curious all the years about the shell construction of these great sounding drums.
You nailed it, obviously, and it makes sense. And no wonder, that the German carpenters didn't recognise the layers being of Luan wood. ;-)

Ralf
 

BeatMachine

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Thank you “thin shell”, Ralf, EvEnStEvEn & others. And you agree with each other!? ... cool :)
Would have been cool to “DNA”-testing the material in this one ;)
So the shells in these drums are 6-ply with a 6-ply re-ring made out of luan and birch (or maple).

Very happy for your interest in this kit, glad for the help!
 

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