brass drum maintenance

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
permanent hearing damage
buyin' gear
Posts: 564
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:55 pm
Location: philly
Contact:

brass drum maintenance

Post by permanent hearing damage » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:46 am

so i've had this amazing dw brass shell snare for quite some time now. it has been on many tours and airplanes with me and probably been played on 2/3 of the records i've recorded for others. it sounds amazing. unfortunately, i haven't taken the best care of it and it sorta looks like it came from the titanic. shell is pretty tarnished. rims and tension rods are rusted pretty seriously in some spots.

in the past, i've disassembled this guy and used Brasso on the shell with okay results. i figured it's high time i clean this thing up. is there any kind of soak anyone would recommend for the tension rods and rims? additionally, is there anything i should be doing differently with Brasso or any other cleaner that could get this thing looking nice and shiny again? i usually just use a rag to try and buff it a bit, but maybe i should use something more serious?

i'm not worried about resale or anything - i'll keep this thing til i die. besides, i've had to replace a bunch of the lugs that i've managed to bust over the years.

thanks in advance

cgarges
zen recordist
Posts: 10844
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:26 am
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Post by cgarges » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:25 am

If the rust isn't too bad, you can use light grade steel wool on the rims and lugs and that might take care of it. Lug screws are harder. If the rust is bad on the lug screws, I'd just replace them.

I also wouldn't go heavier on cleaning the brass, like buffing it. If the shell was in good shape and you were wanting to maintain it, I'd suggest using a brass cleaner for a polished finished and a band instrument cleaning cloth on a lacquer finish. But cleaning it with some regularity is the best way to maintain the finish.

I just bought a snare drum that was EXTREMELY used. The shell was in good shape, but there was a lot of corrosion and rust on the lug screws and throw-off. I just bought new ones, which maybe added $50 to the cost of the drum, but now I have a great-sounding, great looking snare drum that I didn't have before.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

User avatar
Gregg Juke
cryogenically thawing
Posts: 3509
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Contact:

Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:50 am

A couple other tips:

I have found one of the best cymbal cleaners (and this applies equally to metal snare drums in my experience) to be (believe it or not; drumroll please)-- Amway Metal Cleaner. So if you can find a distributor, you may want to try some of that.

+1 on "Don't do anything crazy" with a buffing machine or anything... Try elbow grease first.

When I do get around to doing maintenance/repair/restoration on stuff like this (and that's not nearly as often as I should-- I've still got that Black Beauty languishing out in the garage!), I've taken to using a little trick on my lug screws that I picked-up 1,000 years ago playing soccer with some older players that used screw-in spikes-- before returning or replacing lugs back into casings, I'll dip it in a little vaselline/petro jelly to seal and protect a bit. Seems to work well, and with the jelly, some decent lugs, and a set of LT LugLocks (tm), I haven't had to really retune my main snare drum for years (other than when other people try to "help" me in the studio, as has been happening so maddeningly often these days).

GJ

The Scum
resurrected
Posts: 2427
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:26 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Contact:

Post by The Scum » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:42 pm

For rust, there's a product called "naval jelly" that you can use to try to remove & neutralize it. It's usually a precursor to repainting or replating - if the steel remains exposed to the elements, it's prone to keep rusting. Loctite make one brand of it...probably in the spraypaint aisle of the hardware store.

Not that $25 won't buy you a new rim, if it comes down to it.

The thread oil or vaseline is a reasonable idea, but it tends to pick up dirt, and eventually the grime gums up the threads. Then they have to be cleaned...if it's a petroleum-based lubricant, gasoline is a reasonable solvent, and hot water & detergent should also be able to break it up. A toothbrush (or even better, a fingernail brush) is useful for scrubbing them.

White vinegar can be useful for some tarnish situations...the ol' "hot sauce cleaning a penny" trick. Rinse well with water when you're done, so the acid doesn't continue to eat away at things, neutralize with baking soda if you're paranoid.
"What fer?"
"Cat fur, to make kitten britches."

permanent hearing damage
buyin' gear
Posts: 564
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2003 3:55 pm
Location: philly
Contact:

Post by permanent hearing damage » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:43 pm

thanks, folks. after tracking this weekend, i am going to try and give it a shot.

i have actually had terrible luck with luglocks on my two C&C snares. they might slow them down a little from falling out of the drums, but it still happens.

While, we're on it - I've had awful luck with the DW and the C&Cs with screws inside the shell getting loose and popping out. Even Locktite doesn't help that much. Any suggestions? I guess the black Locktite might do a better job, but maybe that's a little too crazy? I am seriously considering it on my kick drum pedals, though (stupid DW hinges coming loose all the time!)

User avatar
digitaldrummer
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2111
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:09 pm

+1 on using steel wool for the chrome parts. then follow up with a coat of car wax (I like the Meguiar's cleaning wax) and I use plain old Vaseline to lube the lug bolts.

i also used some of this (from Lowe's):

http://www.lowes.com/pd_54851-75269-CL- ... facetInfo=

to soak badly corroded or rusted chrome parts. It helps but the steel wool does a better job if you can get to it.

Mike

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 6717
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:23 pm

Goopy things on tension rods drives me crazy. Pencil graphite or liquid graphite (which is really dust and not liquid) is a great lubricant for tension rods.

Nate Dort
tinnitus
Posts: 1039
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:07 pm
Location: Detroit
Contact:

Post by Nate Dort » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:38 pm

Steel wool on chrome will scratch it. Use one of those 3M green synthetic scrubber pads instead.

BarKeeper's Friend works well for soaking rusted/dirty metal. Available at pretty much any grocery store.

As for lubrication, I like "dry lube" which is teflon suspended in an aerosol spray. The liquid dries, leaving a coating of the teflon behind. Liquid Wrench makes a version that I've had around for a while (it's good for lubing Rhodes felt pads).

User avatar
Marc Alan Goodman
george martin
Posts: 1400
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:14 pm

Elmer's makes my favorite dry lubricant

http://www.elmers.com/product/detail/E450

chorga1
pushin' record
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:48 pm
Contact:

Post by chorga1 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:02 pm

DO NOT use vaseline on your lugs! In hot temperatures it melts, all over your drums.

If you want something of that consistency then you should use white lithium grease.

User avatar
Gregg Juke
cryogenically thawing
Posts: 3509
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Contact:

Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:21 pm

NEVER had that problem once, but I'm not advocating for a whole shell immersion...

A _tiny_ dip of the _lug_ before placing in the _lug casing_. "Screw grease," if you will.

GJ

User avatar
digitaldrummer
dead but not forgotten
Posts: 2111
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Post by digitaldrummer » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:46 pm

same here. I live in Texas and sometimes play outside in the summer and in the (very) hot sun. I have never created an oil slick.

if you were to cake on the Vaseline, then yeah, I could see that happening. but you only need a small amount anyway. if I have excess after threading it, I wipe it off.

Mike

dwelle
buyin' a studio
Posts: 944
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 7:16 am
Location: atownsouthoffresno
Contact:

Post by dwelle » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:52 am

fine steel wool will *not* scratch chrome, but it does a helluva job at removing oxidation/rust. i use #000 extra fine regularly on chrome bits from drums and motorcycles. takes a little elbow grease.

the scotch pads are like sandpaper!...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests