2012 Lawton Drum Company

Lifted Seams on Wrapped Drums

Q: What is the best method to repair lifted seams on wrapped drums? What adhesive compound works best for this repair?

A: Lifted seams is a fairly common problem to many vintage drum collectors. There are two main reasons why seams lift. The first and obvious reason is from a failure of the original adhesive, which can be caused by exposure to heat, such as leaving your drums in your car on a hot summer day, or storing them in a garage or attic, where the temperature can easily rise to over 100 degrees F on hot days. The heat will soften the glue and cause the seams to open. The second reason for this problem to occur, is due to shrinkage of the pearl or sparkle wrap. As the material shrinks, it pulls away from the seam, causing it to open and curl. When this happens, you'll also notice a slight gap between the bearing edge and the edge of the finish, along with bulges in the finish at the top of the lugs. Regardless of the cause, you should address the problem before it gets any worse. Most times, it's best to open the seam up a few inches so you can clean any of the old adhesive off the back side of the wrap, as well as the shell and the end of the wrap that is being overlapped. A good method is to use lacquer thinner and a small brush. Carefully brush the lacquer thinner on the old glue and then scrape it off, followed by a light sanding. Once all of the old glue has been removed and both surfaces have been sanded, you'll be ready to reglue. The adhesive that works well for us is 3M FastBond.You must apply the adhesive to the back of the wrap and also to the shell, along with the portion of the wrap that is being overlapped. Then, allow the glue to dry completely (usually 10 to 20 minutes), and if the finish is curled, you should also slightly heat the finish (with a hand-held hair dryer). The low heat will help the glue to dry as it also makes the finish more pliable. Now you're ready to press the finish back down to close the seam. Once this is completed, it's a good idea to clamp the seam with a piece of wood (which is the same length as the seam), and a pair of C-clamps, and allow it to set while the finish cools. You might be tempted to just squeeze some model airplane glue into the opening, clamp it down and hope for the best, but, the new glue probably won't stick to the old glue, and you'll just end up with a worse problem , which will make it that much more difficult to correct later.