Removing a Ludwig cortex finish

Discussion in 'Resto and Rehab tips' started by XVIII Airborne, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. XVIII Airborne

    XVIII Airborne DFO Veteran

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    Has anyone successfully removed a Ludwig cortex finish? I bought an old Ludwig marching drum that has a red cortex wrap that is badly chipped off in places, likely from someone trying to remove it. I know they are virtually impossible to remove but does anyone have any tips or should I just leave it as is?
     
  2. mfryed2112

    mfryed2112 DFO Master

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    Heat gun, go slow. If you live in a hot weather climate, sit the drum out in the hot sun, it will help to soften the glue up
     
  3. grumpy409

    grumpy409 Very well Known Member

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    Greetings Everyone, Cortex is the worst wrap to remove. Even with a heat gun the wrap wants to break off in small pieces. It is a tedious task requiring much patience.
     
  4. bonzoleum

    bonzoleum BONZOLEUM

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    Yes-it's impossible to get off without damaging the exterior ply.
     
  5. XVIII Airborne

    XVIII Airborne DFO Veteran

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    Thanks for the responses so far. This might sound crazy, I've never done it, but can you wrap over a cortex finish, will the heads still fit? The drum isn't horrible but I would like it to be more cosmetically appealling, if not I'll just leave as is and play it (and love it) anyway.
     
  6. rondrums51

    rondrums51 rondrums51

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    I doubt it. Cortex is actually vertical grade Formica, and it's pretty thick.
     
  7. indedrum

    indedrum DFO Sponsor Sponsor

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    That depends- usually the cortex is molded into the shell, just like an extra ply. In that case the outside diameter is the same as an unfinished shell. Not always the case throughout Ludwig's history, but it is likely. You should be able to tell by looking at the seam- if there is no overlap, it may work. Your best option is to measure and see if there is clearance between the head collar and shell. Typical Delmar wrap is around .030-.040", (glass glitter is thicker).
     
  8. CaptainCrunch

    CaptainCrunch DFO Veteran

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    FWIW, I've got about a dozen Cortex shells in my basement, and they're all the non-molded-in construction. They're clear or Granitone 70's stuff, though, so it's the same as the regular wraps of the time. Only difference being that they didn't need to use more than one piece of wrap for the big drums.

    I don't know anything about white-interior Cortex and how they did it at that time.
     
  9. latzanimal

    latzanimal Very well Known Member

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    Not true, it can be done with lots of patience...
     
  10. mfryed2112

    mfryed2112 DFO Master

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    The cortex I have removed came off nice and underneath was a really nice maple grain. Just take your time.
     
  11. utdrummer

    utdrummer DFO Veteran

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    Heat gun, wear gloves!, and use a plastic scraper. Slow and steady gets the job done.
     
  12. K.O.

    K.O. DFO Master

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    +1. I've done it. Not a lot of fun as it comes off in small sharp pieces but I got it off. The 3ply shell remained intact and ready to rewrap.
     
  13. green glass drum

    green glass drum Very well Known Member

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    Yes..........gloves.
    I got some painful cuts stripping a thick yellow wrap off of a Blaemire 18 FT.
    The putty knife moves forward when the piece finally lifts, and your fingers go right into the next jagged piece to remove.
    Oh and one more thing.......(Columbo)....thick gloves.
     
  14. tnsquint

    tnsquint Backline Rental Guru

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    Plus, the pieces in question will probably be pretty darn hot as well. Gloves are a great idea.
     
  15. K.O.

    K.O. DFO Master

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    On the plus side you can get cortex really hot to seriously soften the glue without worrying about it bursting into flame the way pearl and sparkle wraps will. I never use anything more powerful than a hair dryer on those regular wraps but you can safely use a heat gun on cortex. Another reason that gloves are a must though...sharp shards at high temperatures.
     
  16. green glass drum

    green glass drum Very well Known Member

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    I saw "Sharp Shards at High Temperature" in concert.
     
  17. slinginit

    slinginit Shake, bump, and shake again...

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    Acetone?
     
  18. FloydZKing

    FloydZKing fire bad!

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    The key cautions have been noted - hot shards sums it up well.

    BUT, it's not difficult. Just more dangerous. Be careful, yes, but as is often the case, my message is, "you've got this."
     
  19. CharlieTooth

    CharlieTooth New Member

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    I just finished a 24" bass drum cortex removal. Everyone here is correct. I did a little bit every other night after work . I started with a hair dryer, then went to a heat gun . I did go outside when using the heat gun , one for fumes . And second for safety . Be aware that you will be left with the contact cement still on the shell after cortex is off. I used a hair dryer and rubbed it off by hand which took extremely long . From what I have been told The only other way to get the cement off is with a solvent . I opted to be very patient . Took me weeks to strip
     
  20. Mitch

    Mitch Very well Known Member

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    Agree with all saying "it can be done". Heat gun. gloves. plastic scraper, lots of patience.
     

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