Hawkes and Sons Bass Drum (Job No: 1148)


This drum came in to have calf heads fitted. Unfortunately, the previous owner had attached plastic heads to the flesh hoops with a mixture of super glue, araldite, staples, nails and metal epoxy.  I did get them off, but it would have taken hours to clean up the hoops.

When measuring up so I could roll new flesh hoops, I saw that the counter hoops would not pass over the drum shell, mainly due to the hideous paint job which had been slapped presumably with a flip flop, but they were also hindered by the metal epoxy.  I can visualise the person struggling with joining plastic to wood, slapping on the epoxy and trying to seat the newly made drum head onto the drum whilst wet and the gooey mess dribbling out and going everywhere!

So it all that black mess had to come off.

The undercoat scraped off easily, because it was painted directly onto varnish.

It was probably painted to hide the repair
But even in its raw state the drum now looks so much better, and the counter hoops will now work properly. Now the shell and hoops can be refinished and reassembled. I have opted for oil on the shell, and gloss varnish on the hoops. The fittings are cleaned and shined, and finally the new flesh hoops can be rolled.
After the flesh hoops have been plated (to prevent rusting), the heads can be lapped and the drum assembled.

2 comments on “Hawkes and Sons Bass Drum (Job No: 1148)

  1. Michelle Wait

    Hi I have just been cleaning out my house ready to move and I have found one of these drums 10/10/1928 with label still on the inside, however no skin . Have you got any more info on them please. We have a metal plate on ours too.

    • pauljefferies

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your comment, but I can’t really give any more information than you already have. There are simply not enough hours in the day as it stands for me to do all the things I have to do to be an instrument maker. If I were to also spend my evenings researching the history of percussion instruments, I think I would become obsessive and ultimately divorced and lonely! So my life is spent getting my hands dirty working on instruments and the knowledge I gain is mainly due to (over)exposure and observation.
      Having a label inside your drum is a good start as I rarely see manufacturing dates.
      Sorry I can’t really help much.
      Paul Jefferies


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