CYMBAL REPAIRS / MODS

lankyman

Junior Member
In the week since I have repaired my cymbal (pictured below) I have made a few interesting observations. Cymbals are machined through a process of rolling, spinning and hammering, which work-hardens the bronze making it strong and durable (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK8XHULfllo). Also, Copper alloys behave in the opposite way to iron alloys, in that when they are heated to red hot and then cooled quickly, it softens the metal (as apposed to the hardening that occurs in iron alloys such as steel). After I finished braising my cymbal, it cooled very quickly because it is such a thin sheet of metal. This has effectively annealed the area that I braised, meaning it is now much softer than the surrounding bronze. As the wave form travels through the cymbal after i strike it, it causes this soft area to bend upwards over the course of a practice/gig, and I can hear the sound of the cymbal deteriorate over this time. Also, after last weekends gig in Auckland, I noticed another crack appearing within the softened area of the cymbal, which will now need repairing also. Oh well, I got an extra gig out of my $550 NZD cymbal!
 
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onedevilsst

Senior Member
Funny enough, I use a guy here in the U.K. to fix cymbals. 2 years ago I picked up a Kcrash ride with a hairline crack for 30 quid and sent it to him to be slotted and had three rivets added. It's become a mainstay sound for me. Unfortunately I found another crack last month, but have sent it to be fixed and it can back yesterday. Lovely bit of work.

While I was paying postage I had an old cracked China fixed and riveted too. It sounds immense, now.

Long story short I love the stuff this guy can do, repairing old cymbals and making a unique sound. I'm hooked, it's like tattoos for cymbals.

Can't link me video files on Instagram, but if you wanna look, I'm @thecaptaingretsch
 

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CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I turned my edge cracked 18" Sabian AA medium crash into a 16" Sabian Rocktagon. Printed the 8 sided vertical lines, marked the horizontal lines above the crack, took to the band saw and got it shaped.
A 3M abrasion wheel to debur it & I'm good to go!
 
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CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Have any of you ever flipped a cymbal so the bell is punched in and the edges are up? I watched Chris Coleman do this to one of his 10" cymbals at a clinic in Ohio and I tried it with a 12" splash. It sounded great to my suprise!
I could see this working very well for cheaper splashes. Great for making an extra effects china in a set up.

I have a cheap 10" that I'll do this with just to see how it goes.
 

mwobuddy

Junior Member
I'm thinking about hammering out some minor bends in the center hole of a few cymbals my friend has. Amazingly, there's one that's beat to hell and the bell is basically gone, yet its not cracked and its not actually keyholed. it's more like if you stretched a bagel dough from the center. There's another which is far less along and just barely bending in around the rim of the center role. Would hammering either of these out undo some of the damage? Is it worth it or should it be left alone? Is a hammered center hole more likely to crack due to reduced malleability? Would a brass hammer be appropriate for this kind of repair work or should you work with a hammer that has as hard a face as possible?
 

ZildjianLover

Senior Member
I'm thinking about hammering out some minor bends in the center hole of a few cymbals my friend has. Amazingly, there's one that's beat to hell and the bell is basically gone, yet its not cracked and its not actually keyholed. it's more like if you stretched a bagel dough from the center. There's another which is far less along and just barely bending in around the rim of the center role. Would hammering either of these out undo some of the damage? Is it worth it or should it be left alone? Is a hammered center hole more likely to crack due to reduced malleability? Would a brass hammer be appropriate for this kind of repair work or should you work with a hammer that has as hard a face as possible?
I would not recommend hammering it, as counter-hammering on a center hole may make it more likely to crack, and if the center hole cracks, the cymbal is as good as dead.
 

K Chez

Member
A while back I picked up a Meinl Gen X Filter China for cheap with some cracks starting at some of the holes. The seller said "cracks are minor and don't affect the sound, but I was definitely hearing the choked metal on metal sizzle that you usually get from a broken cymbal. Figured the easy fix was to use a step drill and enlarge the holes to take out the cracks. Fortunately, the broken ones were on evenly spaced holes, so keeping everything symetrical was no issue. Ten minutes at the drill press and a few more with a de-burring tool & it now sounds clean and sizzle free and has a slightly more trashier sound.Meinl-GenX-repair-1.jpg

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iCe

Senior Member
A while back I picked up a Meinl Gen X Filter China for cheap with some cracks starting at some of the holes. The seller said "cracks are minor and don't affect the sound, but I was definitely hearing the choked metal on metal sizzle that you usually get from a broken cymbal. Figured the easy fix was to use a step drill and enlarge the holes to take out the cracks. Fortunately, the broken ones were on evenly spaced holes, so keeping everything symetrical was no issue. Ten minutes at the drill press and a few more with a de-burring tool & it now sounds clean and sizzle free and has a slightly more trashier sound.View attachment 87969

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Almost looks like crossover between the 12/14 Trash hat bottom and the regular 14" china haha
 

johnjssmith

Junior Member
Some time ago I spent the whopping sum of €48, shipping included, to buy a 16" paiste sig dark energy mkI crash that had been cracked and subsequently reduced in diameter "professionally"; the cymbal arrives and I note that, regrettably, it has another crack forming from the outer edge, I let the seller know and they profusely apologize, sending me back the money I paid (but not the shipping charges).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago I decide that it's a waste to have the cymbal sit there unused and broken, so I go about reducing it to 14" to use it as a top hat over a paiste innovations top hat and make a signature dark innovations extra light hat set.

Here's a video detailing the process with lots of pictures and an audio demo at the end:
 

arpic75

Well-known member
Such an interesting thread. Being a metal worker and fabricator by trade, I had never given much thought to what everyone else goes through with a cracked cymbal because I've been repairing them for years by brazing. As noted in a previous post, when brazing it must be allowed to cool slowly or the end result will be next to worthless. I have an old oven I bought off CL that I use to keep the cymbal at about 100 deg F and then braze and return to the oven to allow it to slowly return to room temp. It made sense for me as I can use the oven for many other tasks (powdercoating for one) but I wouldn't recommend it unless you break a lot of cymbals. (if you do, maybe check the technique?)
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I just made my old 13" Sabian AA hats into "fast hats" with the 8 holes drilled near the edge. No real sound change, but it does make them "fast" by letting the air out.

I found a pair of red Avanti 14" B20 hi-hats and made a 13" rocktagon effects cymbal from it. Fast & trashy. Not sure what I'll do with the other one, but for now, I have options.
 

ZDrumMan

Active member
I just sent two cymbals off to Jake in Florida who does repairs. I am waiting to hear what they are like when I get them back but he is very affordable and has checked with me on the repairs with every adjustment.
 

ZDrumMan

Active member
I just got my cymbals back from Jake's Cymbal Repair in Florida. He did a great job and was $40 per cymbal. I have two China Highboys I can use again. I found him (of all places) on Facebook.
 
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