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Ask the Drum Guy: Hope for my bent steel snare?

Our new friend Steve wrote with the following question:

Hey Guys,
Just wondering what your advice would be in fixing up a steel snare that is out of round. To be more specific, it’s an older Pearl snare – on the low end for sure, but it has sentimental value and there’s no reason it shouldn’t get played, right? It’s not terribly warped and I’m aware that with some care and patience, it’s possible to re-round a snare like this with a little pressure in the right places. I’ve even read a bit about some rigs people make with ropes tied around the shell, etc – yikes. I’ve worked on this one manually and have gotten it 90% of the way there, but the last 10% is where the steel is joined. Because it’s in one spot (right where a damn lug is!) I can’t really pull along that axis and straighten it out – the drum is otherwise round and doing this affects the opposite side more than the problem side.

Is this a job for a specialist? I’m a pretty handy guy, but I don’t want to make things worse and I figure there must be some method of addressing one point of a drum that is out of round like this.

Also, I understand rust on a chrome shell can’t be helped too much, but there are some great ways to clean it up. My question is, is there anything you can recommend to wax/finish a chrome shell so that further oxidization doesn’t occur – ie: once all of the effort has gone into cleaning the rust off, what’s the best way to keep it off for a long while?

I’d appreciate any advice you might have, Thanks!



Not being a metal worker and not having had any real experience with something like this, I deferred to my friend Henry (he’s the one manning the HVLP sprayer in this post) and here is his answer to question about the shell:

Hello, Steve-

There are two thoughts on how to approach this:

The first is to not try to adjust the steel but to adjust your expectation.  You could embrace the drum as is / warts and as part of it’s history and sentimentality. Let the imperfections be part of it’s unique sound shaped by the shell’s history.
If not, then be prepared to fork out some money and time it takes to get someone to tackle this type work. Preferably someone with experience and not on the learning curve with this particular shell. I’m thinking the desired tool is an English wheel, a metal-shaping tool that shrinks or stretches metal. In skilled hands it can do wonders. Not having done this I’m just making an educated guess. Using ropes and such would be like rebuilding an engine with a hand file and a rasp vs, using a machine shop.

This is an English wheel in action:


As for getting rust off of a chrome shell, I have had GREAT luck removing rust with a non-metallic abrasive pad (like a green Scotch brite pad) and Barkeeper’s Friend and a little warm water.  After that, I use a little Turtlewax chrome polish and the shell usually looks great.  The chrome polish will protect the shell from further oxidation as long as you touch it up once in a while!

You can get Barkeeper’s Friend from Amazon.  You can also get Turtlewax chrome polish from Amazon or at your local auto parts store!

I hope you find this helpful!


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