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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
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AK Drums

AK Drums is a simple one-man operation!

All of the components are manufactured in-house:
  • drum shells
  • hoops
  • throw-offs & butt plates
  • lugs
  • tension rods
  • snare wires
  • drum keys & other accessory (w-w-s snares adapters, drum head calipers, flesh hoops,...)
  • custom hand engraving
  • natural drum heads (calf & goat) in all possible sizes (tucked on brass flesh hoops)
delivery time

Delivery time depends on the current order situation.

- custom drums: current average delivery time (as of August 2022) is 24 months from order placement.
All orders are processed in chronological order.

- accessories: are in stock and ready for shipping (unless otherwise noted in the item description)

Price lists with additional information: LINK

Contact for inquiries / detailed quotes: info@ak-drums.com

quote requests

If you'd like to get a detailed quote (no obligation to place an order!), please send me an email with the following info:

- desired hardware / shell finish
- hardware type (lugs, hoops, throw-off,...)
- number of lugs 
- additional requests (engraving, ecc..)
- shipping destination country (for calculating the shipping costs)

2-piece shells

2-piece shell construction (brass+brass / copper+copper / copper+brass):

These shells consist of two halves (top- + bottom portion) that are overlapped at the center and connected permanently by a rolled in reinforcement bead over/around that joint.
In addition, the two halves are soldered (soft solder/tin) at that bead around the inside of the shell.
This strengthens the joint to a maximum and it prevents any kind of distortion.

Material thickness suitable for 2-piece shell construction:
brass:   0.7mm
copper: 0.8mm 

sound:
2-piece shell drums sound a tad louder and more focussed due to the additional weight (double thickness around the center bead).
Sustain is a bit shorter (additional soft solder around the center bead).

BUT it's all quite relative when a drum is assembled, with all the hardware mounted and the heads installed.
The difference to a similar drum with a 1-piece shell remains quite subtle.
Drums with both shell types definitely belong to the same sound family!

 

2-piece copper/brass shell

sample: 2-piece shell (copper/brass)
top half overlapping the bottom... permanently joined with the center bead

engraving

All the engraving work is done strictly by hand, using the traditional "wriggle" method.

This engraving technique is the essential of musical instruments (brass wind, metal shell drums,..) engraving since the late 1800. It is featured on many of the classical vintage engraved snare drums (Slingerland Black Beauties / Lud&Lud Triumphals & DeLuxes / Leedy Black Elites / Conn Victor models,...).

 

some sample photos of my engraving:


class. scrolls on GunMetal finished brass shell


matt/polished "wild rose" pattern + waves hoop pattern / 24K gold plated


"triumphal scrolls" + roses on brushed patina finished copper shell / oil sealed


matt/polished triumphal engraving - silver plated brass shell


"triumphal scrolls" on class. GunMetal finished brass shell


"triumphal scrolls" on blue tint brushed patina finished brass shell


"two-tone" feathers engraving on brushed patina finished / oil sealed CoBra shell


matt/polished Art Déco engraving - 24K gold plated


"two-tone" finished engraving on brushed patina/oil sealed brass shell 

 

 

plating options
  • 24K Gold (matt or polished)
  • Nickel (matt or polished)
  • Chrome
  • Copper
  • Vintage ArtGold / Nobby Gold
AK Brushed Patina finish
My copper and brass drums just have a raw finish (artificial patina / hand brushed) that's oiled as a last step.
The oil finishing procedure just slows down the patina process, but it doesn’t prevent it!  
 
Appearing fingerprints for example are the typical tarnish/patina where the shell has been touched with bare hands at one point.
 
Natural patina always develops depending on how the instrument is treated (touching with perspiring hands, drops of spilled drinks,…) as well as on the environmental conditions (air moisture, salty sea air, acidic liquids, etc... ).  
 
I don’t clear coat the shells, because I like the natural feeling and patina development. 
And EVEN IF clear coated, patina spots will develop with time under the coating in those spots where the lacquer wears off or where it gets scratches from handling/playing).
While first fingerprints may appear shocking at first to some… the shells will generally darken over the years, showing a nice patina (and with it, the drums’ real life and live experience!)  
 
Clear coated shells look way too shiny and “industrial” IMO and every single scratch in a clear lacquered shell would cause a similar issue.  
 
I found the oil sealing procedure my best way to go.  
transport and snare wires

ALWAYS leave the throw-offs in the "ON" position when transporting your drum.

This prevents snare wires damage… they'll last for a lifetime!

periodical lubrication of moving parts (throw-offs) and tension rods
DO it!!  
 
Most issues with old strainers and threaded parts that came through my hands when restoring vintage drums came from insufficient maintenance over all the years the instruments were in use.
AK Drums cleaning
Shells: I’d strongly suggest NOT to clean these drums’ shells (brushed patina finishes), as this could really damage the surface of the shell and the natural finish in general.  

Hardware (..same goes for plated shells / engraved- or non-engraved): wiping off the fingerprints or dust signs with a soft cotton cloth should do it to preserve a shiny finish!
In order to avoid finish damage: never use any kind of abrasive cleaner or steel wool to clean shells or hardware parts!
informal videos

link to video page

restoration service / reproduction parts

I’m sorry, but I don’t offer restoration service / reproduction parts anymore.