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  #1  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:12 PM
ElMoonlightDrummer ElMoonlightDrummer is offline
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Default Cutting down a cymbal...

Hello Friends...have any of you ever trimmed a cymbal down in diamater due to a crack? I'm getting this 18" Zildjian A crash in a deal, but it has a chunk missing where someone cut out a crack in the cymbal. The deal also comes with a 2nd Zildjian A 18" crash, so I was thinking of just cutting down the one with the chunk missing to make it a smaller crash. Anyone ever do this at home or know what kind of place would take on a job like this? I'm not even sure what type of tool could cut a cymbal down in a perfect circle or if there would be any negative effects of doing this. Any feedback is welcome.

Thanks!

Aaron
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:20 PM
Ron_M Ron_M is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

I think cutting down a cymbal is the worst solution to a crack/break problem. You're better off repairing the damaged area and leaving the rest alone. JMO.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:21 PM
billygoodtime billygoodtime is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElMoonlightDrummer View Post
Hello Friends...have any of you ever trimmed a cymbal down in diamater due to a crack? I'm getting this 18" Zildjian A crash in a deal, but it has a chunk missing where someone cut out a crack in the cymbal. The deal also comes with a 2nd Zildjian A 18" crash, so I was thinking of just cutting down the one with the chunk missing to make it a smaller crash. Anyone ever do this at home or know what kind of place would take on a job like this? I'm not even sure what type of tool could cut a cymbal down in a perfect circle or if there would be any negative effects of doing this. Any feedback is welcome.

Thanks!

Aaron
Well Aaron that's a job for someone with a lathe that'd swing at least 18". It'd be nice if they had a cymbal lathe much like they use to face and backside the cymbals when they make them.

But you could do it on a regular tool room lathe as long as it can swing that diameter or larger.

They would most likely use a cut off tool and have the cymbal mounted and supported on some sort face plate with the center hole as the holding point.

It's any easy job and it's not, if someone has the set up it wouldn't take much time. If someone had the equipment and not the set up then you're talking time to make or rig some sort of fixture and or faceplate to hold(back up) and support it so it doesn't chatter and make it worse.

It also could be done on a rotary table on a milling machine or a CNC milling machining center. Again you'd have to have an ability to hold and support that diameter or larger it while you went around the diameter with an end mill (cutter).

So if there are machine shops that you may know or have a friend that knows someone you could run it by them.

Until you cut it you can only guess what it's going to sound like, could be great or not or somewhere in between.

Good luck.

BGT
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:43 PM
tdennis tdennis is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

Cymbals have a profile that is tapered, so when one cuts down a cymbal, they are left w/ a thick core of a metal plate, that is nothing like the original voice. These cut down cymbals do not make good rides or crashes, but may make a decent hi hat. Most cut down cymbals have very little character, & sound like anvils.
There are some cymbalsmiths online who cut down cymbals re-lathe them, & reconfigure the taper, but this is an expensive service.

Last edited by tdennis; 07-09-2012 at 08:46 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:47 PM
Holliwood Holliwood is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

KK

It may be worth cutting down but there's no telling what you'll get till it's done. Some times sounds great, other times, not so hot.

Here's the DIY how to..

Get a piece of "no stretch" string.
Put a bolt the same size as the hole UP through. Make a loop in the string, over the bolt and spin on the nut. DO NOT make this bar tite. just tite enuf to hold it there but allow the string to spin.
This string is your gauge.

Get a felt tip pen like a Sharpie and loop the loose end of the string around the tip.
Measure out to the crack.
Now carefully draw your circle on the cymbal(this is best done on the top side) without letting the string slip.

You now have a perfect circle.

Carefully cut along the line with a jig saw with a NEW x fine hack saw blade.
Take your time. Be careful the cymbal doesn't start to vibrate. hold it firm.

When your finished your cut, dress the edges with a file and emery cloth. DO NOT use a grinding wheel.

Try out you "new" cymbal.

neat idea: I cut down an old Sabian B8 Pro like this once. Sounded like crap but used it for practices. The one day I hit it and it popped inside out.

WOW. It instantly turned into a fantastic sounding ice bell/fx cymbal. really hot, trashy with nice attack and quick decay. Not at all like the sad thing it was after the cut so.....if you do this and don't like the sound. try popping it inside out. You may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

good luck.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2012, 12:41 AM
ElMoonlightDrummer ElMoonlightDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

Thanks for the replies, Fellas. Upon receiving and looking at the cymbal today, I realized that it would definitely be left with a thick, smaller-diameter cymbal, which would probably not sound too good. It actually sounds good the way it is, but the chunk of cymbal bothers me, aesthetically. Oh, well...it was free, so I guess I'll just use it for practice. Plus...I got another crash that looks (and sounds) just fine! Thanks again!
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2012, 12:56 AM
tdennis tdennis is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

I've seen photos of some of the jazz masters playing a cymbal w/ a big chunk missing. They can be salvaged & sound great, but they simply have no resale value, that's all.
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2012, 01:43 AM
Drummerjohn333 Drummerjohn333 is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

Though I have yet to try to cut a cymbal down myself (eventually I will) I have been taught that whenever you drill or cut a cymbal you need to use lubricating oil of some sort. If you don't, the high temp will make the cymbal more brittle and more prone to future damage.

Just something to think about,

John
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2012, 03:17 PM
calfskin calfskin is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

I have never cut down a cymbal for my own use but I have done it about 10 times for people who have asked me. Each one has been severely damaged and in each case it made a different but ultmately usefull cymbal. In one case I cut a cracked 24" cymbal down to a 20 and it turned out to be a much better ride cymbal because the 24 had an uncontrollable wash.
Generally I have found that cymbals that began life as a sheet cut cymbal respond better. Cast and hammered ones are more vulnerable to losing there voice and have more variability over their diameter in thickness.
I make the circle by placing another cymbal of the desired size over the one to be cut, locked together with a hi-hat clutch or bolt and nut and scripe or draw a circle. You can do an uncomplicated cut on a garage bench by using parrot aviation snips( the ones that look like a parrot, with a right angle between the jaws and the handle),other angled snips with good sharp blades. Filing and a bit of buffing or light grinding finishes the job quite well and if you are carefull you won't even know it has been cut.
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  #10  
Old 07-11-2012, 04:01 PM
ElMoonlightDrummer ElMoonlightDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Cutting down a cymbal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by calfskin View Post
I have never cut down a cymbal for my own use but I have done it about 10 times for people who have asked me. Each one has been severely damaged and in each case it made a different but ultmately usefull cymbal. In one case I cut a cracked 24" cymbal down to a 20 and it turned out to be a much better ride cymbal because the 24 had an uncontrollable wash.
Generally I have found that cymbals that began life as a sheet cut cymbal respond better. Cast and hammered ones are more vulnerable to losing there voice and have more variability over their diameter in thickness.
I make the circle by placing another cymbal of the desired size over the one to be cut, locked together with a hi-hat clutch or bolt and nut and scripe or draw a circle. You can do an uncomplicated cut on a garage bench by using parrot aviation snips( the ones that look like a parrot, with a right angle between the jaws and the handle),other angled snips with good sharp blades. Filing and a bit of buffing or light grinding finishes the job quite well and if you are carefull you won't even know it has been cut.
Thanks for the tips, Calf. I think I am going to go ahead and try it using your methods described above. I simple can't stand looking at that chunk missing...sure bugs the crap out of me, even though it sounds fine! As a matter of fact...I have already traced out a 16" cymbal onto the damaged 18" using a hi-hat clutch and am going to purchase some snips like you suggested. If anything...I was thinking I could use it as a 16" ride for the micro kit that I made using a 16" floor tom as a kick. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Thanks for all the replies.
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