2012 Lawton Drum Company

Removing Old Wrap

Q: What is the best way to remove old wrap (especially the really hard ones like Ludwig cortex)? Using a heat gun or freezing? Which is better to use to apply a new wrap: doubled sided high bond tape or contact cement?

A: Ludwig cortex finishes, as well as several Rogers finishes from the mid 1970's, are actually a thin grade of FORMICA, known as "post forming" grade. The best method we've found to remove these wraps is by using a good quality heat gun (500/1020 degrees For 260/550 degrees C. These finishes are not flammable and will withstand the heat necessary to soften the glue. You'll need a putty-knife with a wide blade to insert between the finish and the shell in order to pry off the wrap. You should have a pair of heavy leather gloves to not only protect from burning your hands, but also to protect them from possible cuts, as the edge of the wrap can be quite sharp. Also, make sure you clear your work area of any flammable objects or solutions that could come in contact with the heat gun. As far as freezing shells, I've tried it a few times with no luck at all, but the heat gun works every time.
For the second part of your question, my personal preference is to use good quality contact cement (such as 3M FastBond), rather than the double-sided tape. I don't think the double-sided high bond tape would have any adverse effect on the cortex wrap, but, I have heard some horror stories about what it can do to some plastic wraps. Also, since the original wraps were applied with a contact cement, I like the idea of doing it as close to factory as possible.