A reader wrote:
I recently picked up an old rope drum that I planned on restoring. After I got it, I came to realize it was an Oliver Ditson drum. I've never owned a rope drum before, let alone a 95+ years old and possibly collectable rope drum. My original problem was just buying the leather ears for it, but now I'm wondering how I should restore it safely without damaging its appearance or value. I definitely need some advice about what to clean, what to clean with, what to not do, what to look for, etc. To my untrained eye, I'm fairly confident that it was stored well and that all parts will hold up under tension if I changed out the rope and bought some ears. I'm also curious as to how special this drum really is. I've attached as many useful photos as I could.
I realized after I disassembled it that I never took a picture of the snare tension mechanism. It was a long rod with threads on the end that spanned from the top rim to the bottom rim. There was a key that stood next to the top rim that could be turned to tighten or loosen the snares.
Thank you for any advice.