It’s done. I embarked on a journey I wasn’t sure I’d finish with any degree of success. I did what some drummers would refer to as drum sacrilege by cutting up a 1984 Yamaha Recording Custom tom to convert it to a snare drum. The tom started life as a 14″x10″ (14″ diameter) drum that for me was almost useless. It’s too big to be a mounted tom and too small to be a floor tom. As a result, I never played it. I sometimes set it on a snare stand and used it as a tom at home on my practice kit but that would be the extent of its musical usefulness. I considered auctioning it on Ebay but the finish had significant road rash and deep gouges in 2 places through the piano black lacquer finish. It was a worthless drum as far as I was concerned.
So what exactly did I do?
The first big step was taking a saw to the original shell and cutting it down from 10″ to 4.5″. I stripped the original piano black lacquer finish down to the birch wood veneer (which is beautiful by the way), cut new 45 degree bearing edges along with a 3/8″ strip for the inlay.
I stained the shell with about 6 coats of black dye before rubbing it with 8 coats of tung oil finish and ultimately 2 coats of wax. New holes were drilled for the new 2″ lugs as well as the throw-off and butt plate.
I glued the white marine pearl inlay from Precision Drum Company and then installed the hardware. I chose 2″ brass tube lugs, 2.5mm brass hoops and tension rods from the ever so helpful Andy over at Drum Maker. The gold DW Mag throw-off and 3-way butt plate are courtesy of the Memphis Drum Shop. The wires are Puresound Blasters (20 strand) and the heads are Evans.
With all the hardware installed and the heads tuned, the drum sounds as good as any snare I’ve ever played and I couldn’t be happier with the results both aesthetically and sonically. This drum represents many firsts for me; my first shell cut, my first bearing edge cuts and my first inlay cut. This drum has a new lease on life and is in the snare rotation for every gig.