What is "cortex"?

slinginit

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I've seen both vintage Ludwig kits and new Ludwig kits in a white or black wrap surnamed "cortex". Can someone please tell me what exactly cortex is and what distinguishes it from a standard white or black wrap?

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mlayton

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others will certainly know better than i. but its been my understanding that it is a more durable finish. maybe its a little thicker?


mike
 

DanC

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'Regular' black and white wrap is just a thin sheet of plastic. 'Cortex' is a Formica-like material that is composed of different layers. Very durable, it won't tear like the other stuff, but it will chip...
 

franke

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Cortex, for all means and purposes, is Formica, a hard plastic sheet with a backing sheet designed for counter tops, noted for it's durability and scratch/UV resistance. Such was chosen by Ludwig (and Rogers for their wood finishes) because of the aforementioned as well as its lower cost and that it could be bought in lengths up to 12' - plenty of length to wrap a bass drum without having to have two seems.

Only drawback was the limited amount of colors available: white (doctor's office), black (high school biology lab), and butcher-block (Carol Brady's kitchen), as well as the Roger's wood colors, which all looked like the paneling inside James Rockford's trailer or perhaps even Frank Cannon's Lincoln. Also note that it is a real female dog to remove from a drum.
 

mlayton

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from jack lawton:

The Ludwig cortex
finishes included Blue, Red,
Yellow, Black, White, Marble,
Mahogany, Maple, Walnut,
and everybodys favorite,
Butcherblock. Rogers also
used this same type of finish
in the 1970s, including such
colors as New England White,
Ebony, Block, Koa, New
Mahogany, New Blond, and
Pacific Blue.


mike
 

TomN

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This is a good question. I have an 80s Ludwig set in Black Cortex and the finish is downright dull compared to my other sets in Gloss Black. But it's fine for gigging and the seams are tight.
 

slinginit

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Hey Tomn,

That's a good point. I've noticed the cortex kits on ebay tend to have a more "flat" look to them, not glossy. I figured that cortex was a fancy way of saying "flat black" or "flat white", but it's apparent from this forum the material has different merits.

I appreciate the info. While on the topic, can anyone comment on the cortex appearance? Yay or nay?? Does Ludwig select for a "flat" color or does the inherant surface texture of cortex lend itself to a flat finish? Or is it shiny at first but dulls over time? I imagine a flat or subtly-textured white or black surface can present a striking image contrasted with shiny chromed hardware.
 

TomN

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I was surprised a few years ago when I noticed Black Cortex AND Black Gloss wrapped finishes in the 1985 Ludwig catalog. Also White Cortex and White Gloss.

I had always assumed that the Cortex finishes were just Ludwig's proprietary name for black or white wraps, not realizing that they were different from the glossy finishes.

From the 1985 catalog, the available Cortex finishes listed as "Cortex Contemporaries" are:

--Blue
--Red
--Black
--Whit
--Mahogany
--Butcher Block.

Tom N
 

TomN

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mfryed2112 said:
when new, cortex is nice and shiny.
So what do you think, Mike. Should I try some Novus on the Black Cortex? I never tried it since I thought it was a lost cause.
 

Rob G.

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franke said:
Only drawback was the limited amount of colors available: white (doctor's office), black (high school biology lab), and butcher-block (Carol Brady's kitchen), as well as the Roger's wood colors, which all looked like the paneling inside James Rockford's trailer or perhaps even Frank Cannon's Lincoln.
:lol:
 

agogobil

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Bonzoholic said:
Wasn't the flat black cortex called Black Panther?


Ludwig Black Panther wrap is like a textured vinyl car top, almost like leather. Not at all like the smooth cortex finish.
 

Slidemanic

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The textured vinyl top stuff is Naugahyde (named after Naugatuck, CT., which is near Waterbury). The Naugatuck-based U.S. Rubber Company, which became Uniroyal in 1961, even had a cartoon character, the Nauga...you could actually buy a Nauga in the 1960s. You can see a lot of Naugahyde on the seats of the cars of the 1960s...
 

rondrums51

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franke said:
Cortex, for all means and purposes, is Formica, a hard plastic sheet with a backing sheet designed for counter tops, noted for it's durability and scratch/UV resistance. Such was chosen by Ludwig (and Rogers for their wood finishes) because of the aforementioned as well as its lower cost and that it could be bought in lengths up to 12' - plenty of length to wrap a bass drum without having to have two seems.

Only drawback was the limited amount of colors available: white (doctor's office), black (high school biology lab), and butcher-block (Carol Brady's kitchen), as well as the Roger's wood colors, which all looked like the paneling inside James Rockford's trailer or perhaps even Frank Cannon's Lincoln. Also note that it is a real female dog to remove from a drum.


A minor correction: Cortex was "vertical grade" Formica, which was thinner than the stuff used for countertops. I copped some in a gloss white at a lumber store to recover a set of Fibes back in the 80's. It was thicker than the usual pearl, so it went onto the drums very easily, without wrinkling, etc. But I think it deadened the sound a bit.

And yes, it wasn't a shiny as the regular white pearl you would get from Precision Drum or one of the original pearl suppliers.
 

Vipercussionist

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Y'know, it IS 2009, you would think wrap companies could make a damn wrap that would LOOK good AND wear like a Cortex wrap.

it's rather silly that wraps are so easily ruined NOW and all those years ago they could make a wrap that would take the abuse and still stick to the shell and look good doing it.

I got a 1970's cortex wrapped kit that looks GREAT!! and my 1999 WMP kit peeled like a bag of bad oranges in just 2 years. Pissed me off I'll tell ya!!!!

[rant]
 


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