2012 Lawton Drum Company

Removing Cover without Damage

Q: What is the best way to remove old covering from a drum without damaging the shell? Mike Balkom, Roanoke VA

A: One of the best ways to remove old finish is with a heat gun. CAUTION: Many of the old drum finishes are VERY FLAMMABLE!! If you're using an industrial strength heat gun (500 - 1020 degrees F), keep the heat gun moving at all times, so as not to over heat an area causing it to ignite. Also, it's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher or container of water handy, just in case. The most flammable finishes were used prior to the early 1970's. It's a good idea to remove a small sliver of finish and expose it to some extreme heat to see what happens. If it just droops or melts, it's probably the safer type of finish from the 70's. If it goes up in a poof of smoke, then you know to be extra careful. Other finishes you might encounter are the cortex wraps, or the actual metal wraps, such as the chome-o-woods. These finishes can withstand a considerable amount of heat and won't ignite. It is advisable to protect your hands with heavy leather work gloves to avoid possible burns. Also, on the drums where the wrap goes into the seam, make sure you score along the edge of the overlap with a sharp utility knife and metal straight edge, so you don't accidentally open the seam when you remove the wrap.