Walopus Fool-Proof Drum Wrap Instructions
Your new Drum Wrap will arrive tightly rolled for shipping purposes. Even if you don’t intend to wrap your drums right away, the wrap needs to be unpacked and allowed to “unwind” as soon as you receive it. Simply remove the packaging material and let the wrap unwind itself to it’s own comfortable state.
These instructions cover two methods of wrapping; Seam-Bonded (Recommended for novice wrappers and the less handy.) and Fully Adhered. Both methods will yield excellent results even if you’ve never wrapped drums before. Walopus’ method for fully adhered wrap is almost as fool-proof as the seam-bonded method. Walopus’ Seam-Bonded method allows for future removal of wrap as if it was never there.
Seam-Bonded Drum Wrap Instructions
Step 1 – Prepare the Wrap
Because drum shell depths vary, Walopus Drum Wrap is made slightly over-sized. A 14″ X 14″ floor tom can vary in depth from 13-3/4″ to slightly deeper than 14″. For this reason the wrap must first be trimmed to the correct width.
Measure the actual total depth of the shell and deduct 1/2″ This will yield a piece of wrap that reaches 1/4″ shy of the shell edge which is recommended. Make marks at each end of the wrap corresponding to your measurement less 1/2″. Connect the marks with a straight line using a straight-edge or other long, straight object.
Cut along the line with regular household scissors.
Apply a strip of strong double-sided tape to one end. This example uses D/S tape intended for carpet installation. This tape can be found in the flooring section of any Home-Improvement centre or Flooring Store. Any strong D/S tape will work, but avoid the flimsier types intended for scrap-booking and photo albums.
In this example we have cut the tape down to half the width. This is not necessary but because we wrap a lot of drums, it’s worth it to make a roll go twice the distance.
Step 2 – Wrap the Shell
Determine the position of the seam. Usually the seam will face the drummer rather than the audience. Place the same directly over a row of lug-holes. This way the lugs secure the wrap and help hide the seam.
Place the end of the wrap without D/S tape over the lug-hole line and line it up somewhat straight with the shell’s edge. secure with two spring clamps, a couple of inches from the end, as pictured. Roll the wrap around the shell and make a mental note of the alignment. Unroll and adjust alignment as necessary. Repeat until wrap is perfectly aligned and meets up with itself in a straight line. Take your time with this step.
Once the end is aligned straight, wrap the drum wrap tightly around the shell and secure the other end with clamps, also a couple of inches from the end. Go back to the first end and work your way around the shell again, pressing the wrap down firmly against the shell while moving your hand along the entire surface. If there was any slack this step will cause a slight bulge to form near the second pair of clamps. Momentarily release the clamps to tighten the wrap down and remove the bulge. Repeat until no bulge appears at the end.
Remove the liner strip from the Double-Sided tape and press down from the middle and out toward the edges.
That’s all there is to it. The drum shell is wrapped.
The holes can be made either with a sharp utility knife, (Be careful, you don’t want to cut into your new wrap or your fingers.) or with a drill. We prefer using a drill from the inside for the cleanest results. Make sure to make the holes in the wrap as large as the holes in the shell so the lugs and/or hardware isn’t pushing against the wrap.
This particular wrap is called “Walopus Figured Maple Drum Wrap”.
When re-installing the lugs, take care not to over-tighten the screws. Screw-posts in lugs are prone to cracking and the threads strip easily. We have also encountered stripped lug scres and even the odd snapped one. The screws should be tightened a bit past “snug”. Right around “firm”, but not “tight”.
This method is also illustrated in the video below.
Fully Glued Drum Wrap Instructions
Prepare the wrap in the same manner as above. You can choose whether you want to use double-sided tape for the seam or glue the seam as well. Once trimmed to size, give the backside a quick scuffing with sand paper. If you will be glueing the seam, also scuff the front side of the bottom end at the seam.
Follow the steps for the seam bonded method above, until the wrap is straight and tight around the shell.
Undo the first pair of clamps and move them approximately 1/4 of the circumference away from the other clamps. Allow the now unsecured piece of wrap to unroll from the shell. Place a sponge or rag between the shell and the opposite end of the wrap.
Walopus Drum Wrap has proven to be resistant to every solvent based contact cement we’ve tested. We do however recommend testing your adhesive on a small inconspicuous area prior to proceeding. Water based contact cement or flooring adhesive has also shown good results. In this example we are using regular solvent based contact cement.
With a brush apply a coat thick enough to evenly cover the surface but still thin enough to go on evenly. Cover the exposed portion of the shell and corresponding area of the wrap. Allow to dry as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Carefully roll the wrap back in place pressing firmly as you go. Once back in place, rub the wrap down across the entire surface. Leave to fully cure for the time specified by the glue manufacturer.
With the first 1/4 glued in place the clamps are no longer needed. Gently fold back the remaining flap of wrap and brush on the contact cement on both surfaces in the same manner as before. Leave to dry as per manufacturer’s recommendation. Apply the wrap to the shell in the same way we did the first 1/4. Rub the entire surface firmly against the shell.
That’s all there is to it. This is a slightly more time consuming method but vastly safer than applying the entire wrap in one fell swoop.
It seems we’ve been affected by a mild case of drum wrap fever here at CompactDrums.com. In this article we’re going to illustrate four methods of installing Drum Wrap from Walopus. 1 – Walopus Thick Drum Wrap fully adhered to the shell and trimmed to size prior to installation, 2 – Walopus Standard Wrap fully adhered to the shell and trimmed after installation. 3 – Walopus Thin wrap affixed with adhesive strip over existing wrap and 4 – Walopus Standard wrap affixed with adhesive strip.
Method 4 is by far the most common and also the most recommended by suppliers of drum wrap. It’s also the easiest. Methods 1 & 2 are often adopted on high end drums and are considered the “traditional” methods. Proponents of the traditional methods argue that simply blanketing the drum as in method 4 has a slight choking effect on the sound. Proponents of the simpler, more modern method 4, argue that any choking effect it may have is not distinguishable by the human ear.
In case you’re interested in CompactDrums.com’s “official” opinion; I agree that method 4 likely doesn’t have any negative impact that can be recognized by mine or most other people’s ears. I sometimes adopt methods 1 & 2 anyway simply for added “pride of workmanship”. Also for recording purposes, there may not be differences that can be heard acoustically, however, there may be differences that a recording technician can enhance post recording.
Personally I would avoid method 3 altogether. While it’s a convenience that some wrap suppliers provide wrap thin enough to go over existing wrap, I can only think of one reason to do so; to preserve the original wrap for the future. With heat and patience just about any old wrap can be removed without damaging the outer ply, and even if the adhesive used is so stubborn that some damage is unavoidable, it’s gonna’ get wrapped anyway.
Deciding on Wrap Thickness
I would say the “Standard” (approximately 20 mil) thickness is the wisest choice for most wrap jobs. It has the same amount of “glossy clear” top layer as the “Thick” variety” but is a little more manageable to work with. 20 mil is about the common thickness for most drum wrap, the exception being the traditional glass glitters that are about the same as Walopus’ “Thick” wrap. (About 35 mil.) In some cases the thick wrap isn’t even an option. before ordering take a look at the clearance between the flesh of the drumhead and the existing wrap. make sure to check where the clearance is the least. As mentioned above, there are very few cases where I think the “Thin” wrap is recommended.
Disassembly and Wrap Removal
Assuming all the “easy” parts are removed, let’s move on to the first challenge. The air vent grommet. Often these are just one-sided in which case they usually pop out quite easily with the help of an appropriate size socket. 6 mm seems to work more often than not. If it does turn out to be too stubborn for the socket, prying a bit at the inside edges with a small screwdriver may be necessary.
6 mm socket
There are two additional types of air vent grommets. The threaded style doesn’t require any further instructions. The rivet type on the other hand is the most dreaded variety. These can be removed by either mutilating the inside flange with pliers, or by grinding out the inside flange. A Dremel type tool is suitable for the latter method.
Once the grommets are removed the turn has come to the old boring, generic wrap. On entry level kits the wrap is usually adhered to the shell with a strip of adhesive at the leading edge and another strip at the overlap of the seam. Sometimes these can just be pulled right off after a bit of prying. To be safe though, heating up the adhesive makes for a clean removal without tearing off any wood in the process.
A heat gun is the best source of heat, but a blow dryer does an adequate job too. Simply heat up the entire area of the seam and pry up the edge, followed by pulling the wrap. Use caution. The heat brings out an odour which likely is an indication of toxic fumes. The wrap and adhesive also catches on fire if the heat level gets too high. If the wrap is adhered along the entire shell, a heat-pull-repeat process will be necessary.
That’s all there is to it. With a bit of patience and careful prying the wrap should come off clean without damage to the wood.
Drum Wrap Instructions Method 1
Walopus Thick Drum Wrap Completely Adhered to the Shell
Walopus’ Thick Drum Wrap is indeed quite thick. Some 35 mil or so. As such I wouldn’t want to attempt to trim it down after adhering it to the shell. Thus our first method will be the traditional one with the wrap trimmed to about 1/4″ shy of either edge and then installed with contact cement across the entire surface.
Purists consider this method to be superior to the alternatives. The reason being that adhering the wrap throughout the surface in essence results in the wrap becoming an additional ply, while simply wrapping the drum shell like a blanket would result in the minuscule air gap and wrap combined would muffle the drum. Others argue that there is no difference that a human ear can recognize.
Just in case it really is superior, we’ll use this method for the snare drum. After all, it is the drum that gets the most use by far.
Walopus Drum Wrap comes slightly oversized depth-wise. This is for two reasons.
A – To accommodate for any choice of installation method.
2 – To ensure perfect fit even with slight variances in shell depths.
Thus we need to trim the wrap to the exact depth required. For method 1, we will be trimming it to 1/2″ shy of the shell depth. This is often referred to as 1/4″ cutback. Walopus’ thick variety of drum wrap is white plastic on the back which makes for easy marking of cut-lines with a marker suitable for plastic.
Simply measure the total depth of the shell, subtract 1/2″ from that depth and mark a few spots at that measurement on the backside of the wrap. Use a straight-edge to mark a line connecting the dots. Cut along the line with regular household scissors.
Assuming you cut the wrap exactly 1/2″ shallower than the total depth of the shell you will need three items of 1/4″ thickness.
I happened to have some laminate floor off-cuts, but magazines, stacks of paper, or whatever will work as long as they are the same thickness and the thickness corresponds to the cut-back of your wrap.
Place the shell on a flat surface and place your three “shims” as shown in the picture to the left.
Next use the shims as guides to test-wrap the shell with the drum wrap. Hold the wrap tight around the shell and trace lines around the shell on either side. Practice the process of wrapping the shell with the wrap a few times. Once we have contact cement applied, we only get one shot at it.
Next step is to scuff the back of the wrap with sandpaper. Simply place the wrap face down on a soft surface and give it a quick sanding. Also scuff about 1/2″ along one edge on the front for where the seam will overlap.
Time for contact cement. Before we get carried away though, test the contact cement on a small patch of your cut off first. Walopus wrap should be fine with any contact cement including the solvent based ones, but as it’s impossible to test every variety of contact cement available it’s best to make sure. Leave your test patch for some 20 minutes or so. As long as it didn’t cause any strange events, we can go ahead with applying it to the shell and the back of the wrap.
Simply brush it on evenly and rather thin with a regular paint brush. We want it as thin as possible, while maintaining a somewhat even coat. Let the contact cement dry for roughly 20 minutes, or as per the manufacturers instructions. Also apply a strip of contact cement on the front side of the wrap at the end that will be the “lower” side of the seam. Contact cement is gooey, stringy and overall frustrating to work with, so take care not to get it on the front of the wrap, in your hair, or anywhere else it’s not supposed to be.
Hopefully you practised wrapping the shell enough times that you feel confident that you have developed a repeatable process. Identify and mark where you want the overlapping seam to be positioned on the drum and place the shell on your flat surface so that the spot where the seam will be is in the right position for your process.
For me it means facing the seam away from me and wrapping the shell starting from the center of the wrap. Not everyone does it like this though and it really doesn’t matter as long as you have practised your process and the wrap ends up inside the guidelines consistently.
When we do it for real, we only have one shot at it. A contact cement bond is close to impossible to separate once the surfaces touch.
I start with placing the wrap around the shell, leaving about an inch between the shell and the wrap at the closest spot. (Roughly the center of the wrap.)
Then with one eye on the guidelines slowly slide the wrap closer to the shell ensuring that it remains resting equally on the shims. once the wrap makes contact with the shell at the center, start firmly pressing the wrap down against the shell in the direction of the end with contact cement on the front side. repeat in the opposite direction.
Once wrapped, Take a deep breath. Step back and admire your work. Feel the tension release from your shoulders and anxiety levels start to dissipate. Apply pressure all around the shell to ensure a tight bond. leave to fully cure for a minimum of 48 hours.
Walopus Thick wrap will require drilling the holes out. Make sure to pick drill bits that fit snugly in the holes of the shell. We need to ensure the holes in the wrap are as large as the holes in the shell. The screws and-or posts will otherwise be supported by the wrap, rather than the drum shell. If possible I drill from the inside as it’s faster. If the drill won’t fit inside the shell, make a pilot hole in the wrap from the inside and drill from the outside.
Make sure not to tighten the lugs too tight. Just a bit past snug is adequate. Too tight lugs can result in snapped screws, stripped threads and bulging wrap.
Drum Wrap Instructions Method 2
Walopus Standard Wrap Adhered to the Shell & Trimmed Post Installation
The “Standard” wrap from Walopus is substantially thinner than the “Thick” variety. At roughly 20 mil it’s about average as far as wrap goes. Even though method 2 involves trimming the wrap after adhering it to the shell, I like to cut it down to just a smidge wider than the shell depth before I start slopping on the contact cement. Mostly because it’s a bit more manageable but also to cut down on surface area covered with sticky contact cement. Following the same process of trimming as with “Method 1″, mark dots at about 1/8″ wider than the shell depth. The shell in this case being the 12″ rack tom. Connect the dots using a straight edge as a guide and cut with scissors. Although substantially thinner than the “Thick” wrap, it’s about as tough to cut through.
Once the wrap is cut we proceed with a quick sanding of the back and painting the contact cement on the shell and the back of the wrap in the same manner as with “Method 1″. Apply as thin as possible while still maintaining a nice, even coat. Remember to paint a line on the front side of the wrap on one end for the seam. Leave to dry for 20 minutes, or as per the manufacturers instructions.
Applying the wrap to the shell is done in a similar manner as in “Method 1″ but much less nerve-wrecking and substantially more forgiving. Since we’ll be trimming the wrap after application, there is no need for the shims. In addition it doesn’t have to go on 100% perfectly straight since we have a little over 1/8″ margin. More if you didn’t bother trimming some of the excess prior to slopping on the contact cement.
Simply place the shell on the floor, place the wrap in a semi-circle around the shell leaving about 1″ distance between the wrap and the shell at the closest point. Slowly and gently move the wrap closer to the shell while ensuring the wrap is resting evenly against the floor along it’s length. Once contact is made smooth the wrap against the shell in the direction of the end with a strip of contact cement on the front edge first. Repeat for the other end and apply pressure around the entire shell paying extra attention at the seam. Leave to cure fully for a minimum of 48 hours. Good thing we had some margin as the ends didn’t quite meet up 100% perfectly.
Once the adhesive is fully cured, trim off the excess wrap by inserting an Exacto-knife parallel with the angle of the outside bearing edge, through the wrap. Trace along the edge of the shell keeping the blade parallel to the bearing edge counter-cut.
Depending on whether you prefer to drill, or cut the holes out with an Exacto knife, continue as per the instructions for “Method 1″ (Drill), or “Method 4″ (Cut)
Drum Wrap Instructions Method 3
Walopus Thin Wrap Installed over Existing Wrap
First a noteworthy observation. Walopus calls their drum wrap “Gloriously Gleaming”. The Thick and Standard wraps from Walopus are most certainly the most gleaming and glossy wrap I have seen. However the thin variety is more “regular”. On par with the glossy, “gleaming” factor of average drum wrap. I’m not sure if the difference is visible in these pictures. Of course under normal circumstances one wouldn’t mix wrap thickness on a drum kit, but for the purpose of these instructions we kinda’ have to.
The reason, I found out, is that the clear top layer of the “Thick” and “Standard” varieties is thicker than the entire thickness of the “Thin” wrap.
The process of wrapping the thin Walopus wraap over existing wrap is almost identical to the process described in “Method 4″. The only exception being that the seam of the existing wrap serves as a guide to line up the “bottom” edge of the new wrap to. This makes it a simple task to get the wrap aligned and straight at the first attempt. Simply “butt” the “bottom” end of the wrap up to the overlap of the old wrap, secure with two clamps and then proceed exactly as in “Method 4″. I would recommend the knife for cutting the holes.
Drum Wrap Instructions Method 4
Walopus Standard Wrap Affixed with Adhesive Strip
Some claim that the traditional method (Method 1) is the superior approach and the only one that doesn’t have a negative impact on a drum’s sound. However for every person that makes that claim, there’s someone claiming that the the human ear can’t hear the difference anyway. Simply “blanketing” the shell with the wrap and securing with a strip of adhesive at the overlap is by far the most common method. Also it’s the easiest and fastest way to get the wrap installed. Further, it is the method recommended by the bulk of drum wrap suppliers. We’ll use the 13″ tom for this example.
Step 1 – Trim the wrap 1/2″ shy of the shell’s depth following the process outlined in “Method 1″.
Step 2 – Make a mark on the outside of the shell where you wish to position the overlapping seam.
Step 3 – Affix a strip of Adhesive along one edge of the wrap’s back. We recommend the type intended for installing carpet and vinyl floor. It is readily available in the flooring section of any home-improvement center. Any high quality double-sided tape will work though as long as it’s not too thick. I sliced it down the middle as it was excessively wide.
Step 4 – Practice wrapping the shell ensuring the wrap is tightly wound around the shell, straight and of uniform distance from the edge.
Step 5 – Once you have the wrap snugly wound around the shell, secure the “bottom” end (The end without adhesive.) with clamps about 3″ from the end. Make sure to use clamps with soft or “rubbery” grip surfaces.
Step 6 – Secure the “top” with clamps end in the same manner about 4″ from the end.
Step 7 – Remove the backing paper on the adhesive strip
Step 8 – While pulling the wrap tight around the shell press down the overlapping end and apply pressure along the entire seam to ensure a tight bond of the adhesive strip.
As with “Method 2″ Walopus standard wrap is thin enough that holes can be cut with an Exacto-knife. If preferred drilling from the inside works just as well. Personally I have a slight preference towards the knife method as I don’t need to change bits with hole sizes and I can sit at my work bench listening to tunes. Simply poke the knife through a hole from the inside, then trace the edge of the hole from the outside. Be careful! Keep in mind you have a sharp knife and a beautiful new wrap job!
Also make sure to make the holes as large as the holes in the shell. Otherwise the wrap will be supporting the tension from the screws and/or posts, rather than the shell.
As with the other methods, take care not to over-tighten the lugs.
Drum Wrap Instructions
We went ahead and wrapped the bass drum following method 4 as well. The bass drum hoop inlay can be installed using any of the above methods. I almost always use method 4. Should you wish to adhere it along the entire hoop I would suggest double sided tape, rather than contact cement.
The above instructions are provided with permission from CompactDrums.com
For anyone intent on the “Traditional” Method. here are a set of excellent YouTube videos with very detailed instructions.
Traditional Installation is only recommended for experienced drum wrap installers, or the very handy and patient.
Trimming the wrap to size may be done prior to, or after installation.
- Roll or brush contact cement on both the drum shell and back of wrap
- Wait for contact cement to partially dry as per manufacturer’s recommendation
- Lay wrap flat, back side up, along a straight guide, such as a wall
- Align drum shell with wall and roll drum shell into wrap while simultaneously applying pressure
- Apply pressure evenly around entire surface of wrap
There are many videos on YouTube describing this process. Here are links to a very detailed series. Some of the steps only apply to wraps that come in limited lengths. (Walopus wraps are long enough to cover the circumference of the drum shell with a single piece.)
The advantage of traditional installation is the wrap becomes the outermost ply of the drum shell. This minimizes or nullifies any effects the drum wrap may impose sonically on the drum. Purists insist that this is the only “proper” way to install drum wrap. In more recent years it is generally accepted that any sonic impact a drum wrap may have on the drum, glued or not, is not noticeable to the human ear.
The disadvantage of traditional installation is that contact cement is very unforgiving. Once contact is made between the surfaces it may be near impossible to separate them. Should they not be aligned at initial contact, attempting to separate them could result in damage to the wrap, drum shell or both.
In recent times simply installing drum wrap with double-sided tape is increasingly popular and common. This is a very low-risk method. Simply apply a strip of high quality, double-sided tape to the bottom side of the wrap along one end. Tape intended for carpet installation is suitable. Trimming the wrap to 1/4″ from the bearing edge, prior to installation is recommended. Align the wrap around the shell so the ends overlap in a straight line. Four clamps with rubber or soft plastic grip surface will be needed. Clamp the end without D/S tape a few inches from the end. Stretch the wrap around the drum shell and clamp the other end of the wrap, also a few inches from the end. remove the backing from the double-sided tape strip and apply on top of the initial end of the wrap.
Regardless of installation method, familiarize yourself with the entire process before proceeding with installation.
Practice wrapping without adhesive a few times before proceeding with installation.