Maintaining & Repairing Drum Hardware
The focus here is on maintaining what you already have.
Although the assortment of hardware available is huge and very varied, there are a few basic questions which can be addressed and applied to hardware. These include:
Does it move?
Does the item have 'add-ons' such as rubber feet?
Does it have a special finish?
What about rack systems?
Let's consider these in order.
Does It Move?
'Movement' can include ball-and-socket joints,
angle joints, nuts, bolts, screws and rotation about pivots or
bearings (such as pedals). Where there is repeated movement,
lubrication should be considered.
ALWAYS CHECK that threads, pivots etc are lubricated. Some manufacturers use BRASS threads which are self-lubricating and therefore, DO NOT need any extra lubrication. Check them for cleanliness and for cross-threading or other thread problems. Clean them with a soft cloth or tissue.
Screw threads on nuts and bolts can be lubricated with either clean oil (around 20w/50w used for cars is fine) or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline™)applied SPARINGLY. Work the nut/bolt in and out a few times to lubricate both the 'male' and 'female' threads. This will prolong the life of the thread. Please note that if brass inserts are used, these are 'self-lubricating' and therefore, DO NOT require any additional lubrication.
More specialised joints such as ball-and-socket or pivot joints are designed to be moved and then LOCKED to prevent any further movement. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should these be lubricated, or their function will be lost and your drums etc will NOT be held where you want them (this also applies to plastic or nylon 'bushes' used as part of a locking mechanism). To maintain their life, DO NOT USE excessive force as they are designed to lock with relatively little effort. TOO MUCH force and they will wear-out very quickly. Replacement can be time consuming and expensive.
Check pivot points such as on pedals, listen for 'squeaking' or 'grating' noises, and IF NECESSARY lubricate SPARINGLY with a light oil. For ball races and bearings, such as on bass drum pedals, check that they are well lubricated. A slightly heavier oil is better here. Check that any chain-drives are lubricated, again using a heavier oil or a purpose-designed chain lubricant (available from motorcycle or mountain bike shops) applied SPARINGLY. Springs may have an internal felt pad to which a light grade lubricating oil can be added. This facilitates smooth action and helps to prevent corrosion.
Where tubes slide into one-another (telescopic) such as on cymbal stands, check the tubes for damage or distortion which may stop or impair how well they slide into each other. Many of these slide through plastic locking collars which can be damaged by deep scratches on the tubing. Gentle filing and smoothing can be used to remove 'burrs' and other sharp edges on scratches.
With cymbal tilters, check that the internal spring and washer assembly is greased. If not, use a standard grease or petroleum jelly on all components. Try to avoid getting any grease on surfaces which may lock the cymbal in place, although this is less of a problem on tilters which use interlocking teeth (a ratchet) to secure the tilter in place (select thumbnail below to view image more clearly).
'Exploded View' of Cymbal Tilter Assembly
(click image to enlarge)
For snare drum stands of the 'basket-type', there is no need to lubricate collars which may slide over another tube when raising or lowering the basket (unless you want oil on your hands and clothes each time you pick the stand up or adjust it!). However, a small amount of petroleum jelly can be applied into the pivots on the arms of the basket if desired. Once again USE SPARINGLY.
Photograph of Snare Stand with Grease Points
(click image to enlarge)
stands have a sprung 'pulling mechanism' which translates movement of the
foot plate into an 'up and down'
movement of the hi-hat cymbals. There is NO NEED to lubricate
where the top section of the rod slides through the plastic
guide/bottom hi-hat holder. Check other moving parts and
lubricate as necessary. Springs may have an internal felt pad to
which a light grade lubricating oil can be added. This
facilitates smooth action and helps to prevent corrosion.
Also check the presence and condition of the fibre 'washer' and the cymbal felt which sit between the tilter mechanism and the lower hi-hat cymbal.
Check that all aspects of the hi-hat clutch work. It is very common for the hi-hat clutch assembly PROTECTION around the central spindle to have worn-through. If worn, replace with 2 or 3 turns of PTFE plumbing tape around the central metal spindle in the position that the cymbals will be when secured onto the clutch, by the felts. One can be limited as to materials to give this protection, due to the diameter of central hi-hat spindle.
Photograph of Hi-Hat Assembly
(click image to enlarge)
Does the Item have 'Add-Ons'?
The term 'add-on'
is used here to describe any
separate piece of equipment which helps the hardware to perform
the function for which it was designed. These can include rubber
feet, protective cymbal felts, sleeves or plastic
holders/protectors, snare support clamps or plastic inserts for
Cymbal stands usually have rubber feet on their base. Check that these are firmly attached. In addition check that all of the plastic inserts are in place (if present) and working properly. Ensure that there is PLASTIC between the cymbals and metal rod on the tilter mechanism, and that there are TWO CYMBAL FELTS present on the tilter. Cymbals are often protected from metal-to-metal contact by either a plastic 'sleeve' which slides over the metal rod of the tilter assembly, or via a plastic 'casting' which performs a dual function of protection against metal-to-metal contact and holding the cymbal felts.
On Snare Drum Stands check for the presence of rubber feet and plastic inserts (if present), ensure that all rubber/plastic supports are securely in place on the arms of the snare stand 'basket' assembly.
On the Hi-Hat Stand check for the presence of all rubber feet and plastic inserts (if present) and for the presence of a fibre 'washer' (which sits between the tilter mechanism for the lower hi-hat cymbal and the cymbal felt) and the cymbal felt. In addition, check that all aspects of the hi-hat clutch work. It is very common for the hi-hat clutch assembly to have DAMAGE to the PROTECTION between cymbal and the metal of the clutch assembly. Try putting a couple or 3 turns of PTFE plumbing tape around the central metal spindle at the level where the cymbals will be when secured onto the clutch, by the felts. One can be limited as to materials to give this protection, due the diameter of central hi-hat spindle.
For Other Stands or Holders, check that all rubber feet and protectors are present and secure (if applicable) and be sure to check for the presence of cymbal felts and protection from metal-to-metal contact on cymbal arms/boom arms.
Does It have a Special Finish?
Most hardware has some sort of special finish e.g., chromium plating, black chrome, paint or enamelling. Use an appropriate commercially-produced cleaner or polish for the type of finish in question. HOWEVER, dust and general 'light-weight' dirt can be easily removed by rubbing over the surface with a dry (or slightly damp, followed by dry) cloth. Where special finishes have been used, AVOID the use of abrasive cleaners such as steel wool, unless removing corrosion. If you have steel 'unfinished' stands or clamps protect them with a very thin coating of light oil, applied with a cloth. The product WD-40™ is good for this purpose and is less 'greasy'.
A Word about Rack Systems
Rack systems are quite popular. These consist of
a main 'frame' or 'rack' onto which mounting clamps are fixed.
These clamps in-turn, secure the various holders, cymbal arms,
accessory clamps etc in a fixed position. Racks are very good
for 'memory locking' i.e., remembering where everything goes, for
rapid setting-up and consistency of set-up. Check over the rack
and clamps as you would for a new stand, concentrating on moving
parts and 'add-ons' as above.
Avoid using any lubrication where friction is required to hold clamps in place or where the clamps themselves, hold other items in place. This is especially important with racks which use round, tubular frames such as those manufactured by Gibraltar.
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