Where’s Britain?

…was the question I asked the waitress in Les Loups des Mers (Sea Bass), a very nice little cafe on the Avenue de la Plage in Bourgenay. Strange question? Look at this…


See what I mean? Brittany’s missed off too. The owner explained that when they were redecorating, they wanted an old looking world map for the wall. They found this on the internet, had a huge poster made and put it up. Only later did customers start to comment. Apparently, the map dates from a time when the French and English were constantly fighting each other (surely not), and whoever made the map simply left off the countries he didn’t like.

If the English made a map of the world using those criteria, ie, leave out all those with whom you’ve ever picked a fight, the world map would only have England on it.

Finally; Drum Assembly

The turntable worked very well. In this picture…


…you can see that I can stand upright, so no back strain. Also, the drum has to be turned incrementally as the hardware is put back on. The swivel means that the rims are not being scraped and, of course, the whole operation is a lot less effort.

I began with the Bass Drum…

  

Then both toms…

  

 

…and finally, the snare drum. This took a whole afternoon just for that. Assembling the Lugs was easy. First, a couple of finger turns on each screw…

 

Once all the lugs were loosely attached, I used a small hand drill to take up the bulk of the slack…

 

…then finished with a screwdriver…

 

You can imagine how the turntable made this operation very quick. I reckon half an hour for each drum. Assembling the snare mechanism took a good couple of hours. This was where I discovered that, although I thought I was being diligent with my photography during dismantling, there were still key areas where I didn’t have enough images to help me. Quite a bit of time had to be spent comparing different images, just to get a sense of where a tiny part goes. Maybe I have to rethink my process a bit; it’s obviously slightly deficient. Here’s a picture of the snare drum completed…


…and a couple of before and afters…



Each lug had to have a new piece of foam inserted in it before it could be attached. The foam stops the rods and springs rattling, a common fault with cheaper drums. I destroyed the original foam on removal of all the lugs, but it had deteriorated anyway. I made new foam blocks from kitchen cleaning pads…


First, I marked them up. The green line is the centre cut line. The black line is a “this way up” line…


Dividing….


Peeling off the scourer…


Cutting… 

  

…and fitted in a group of lugs…


I bought new skins for all the drums. 30 years ago, I obviously preferred Remo, but now Evans has the best website and the most choice, so I went with them…


Nearly done.

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Years of smoke…

…filled gigs have made these drums yellow. I remember at a lot of these smoke filled pubs and clubs, I sometimes struggled to get a breath whilst playing and my eyes would sting and stream from the toxins. It must seem incredulous to the young uns that smoking was once allowed indoors in pubs and clubs. On the occasions that we played open air gigs, I could tell the difference. Surely my lungs have healed by now?

This is the drum as it came out of its case after 25 years in storage…

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All the chrome work has a dullness and a roughness to it. You can tell by the density of the stick impact marks that the Remo Pinstripe skin has been well used. I last played this kit in the summer of 1990 whilst rehearsing with a band called “Auldenbald” (I got kicked out for wanting to go on a flying course just as they wanted to start gigging) and I think this skin was new sometime before 1988. So this skin is old – at least 27 years – obsolete, worn out and has been under tension for all this time.

So I made the decision to replace all the skins on all the drums. Start afresh. This drum was, at the time and probably still is, the best money could buy. It deserves top quality new skins.

Anyway, if I’m going to take the hoops off to replace the skins, I might as well clean the drum. If I’m going to clean the drum, I might as well take it apart to do a thorough job. Also, the wood needs time to get used to its new centrally heated environment.

Woohoo! Refurbishment Time!!

I need help…

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…so I turned to a hand cranked drill because I can’t find any of my drum keys. I’ve just ordered one off ebay. By the way, that’s the workshop in it’s tidy state. Workshops are never big enough, are they? Once the hoops are off, I can unscrew the lugs…

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…and the mounting bracket…

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Within each lug there is a splurge of anti rattle foam…

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This had deteriorated. If one squeezed it, it stayed compressed. So useless. When I cleaned the outer shell – using sugar soap – I cleaned them all off. I’ll replace them all during reassembly. The completely stripped and cleaned shell…

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I expected using a strong cleaner would remove the yellow – but it didn’t. Perhaps the discolouration has nothing to do with smoke at all? Maybe just a consequence of age? Or UV light? Ah, who cares.

All the metal parts except the lugs were given the GUNK treatment. The lugs were individually polished using chrome polish. This took a while, but was actually therapeutic. Talked on the phone the whole time. This picture attempts to show a before and after; the before – dull and rough feeling – lug is on the right…

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All the cleaned metalwork ready for reassembly…

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The only other tom I’ve got is a 16″ by 18″ floor standing one. I used the same method to clean that one. Both drums are now in the spare room in which they’ll live and be played, to acclimatise for a couple of weeks…

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The floor toms leg’s can be seen stacked against the wall. Just visible between the drums and the hoops is the boxes containing each drum’s metalwork.

Next…

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