English Rogers - Shells

The English Rogers catalogues give the following description of how the shells were made :-
“The shells are produced by dielectric heating, i.e. by placing the laminations coated with glue between the electrodes which are circular. Thus the shells so made have no lap joints, each lamination being butted, but the butt joints being staggered radially around the shell. A considerably higher degree of circularity results; furthermore since the timber itself is not subject to steaming or excessive heating, it retains it’s natural resilience with no tendency to warp. The shells have superior strength since the outer lamination is no more highly stressed than the inner and the structure is intrinsically stable.”
A small number of shells were manufactured this way, but the majority were not. None the less this description appears in all four of the catalogues from 1961 to 1967.

By far the most common ER shell is made of 3 ply birch plywood which is bent into a cylinder with an overlap to form a scarf joint and has laminated birch glued reinforcement rings. Eddie has refered to this as an “Edgware shell”. The grain direction of the inner most and outer most plies runs from bearing edge to bearing edge rather than around the drum. The inside of the shell is lightly lacquered.
However there are variations. Beech was occasionally used instead of birch especially it would seem for snare drums and 13x9 and 14x14 tom toms but could be used for a whole kit.
Rerings were occasionally solid beech or of 3 thick beech plies and occasionally the rerings are nailed as well as glued. Eddie refered to this as an “Ajax shell”. These variations occurred right up until the end of production and probably just reflected availability of materials at the time.
Bearing edges.
The bearing edges on the early shells were simply rounded over in common with many drums of the time, including their contemporary Rogers USA cousins.
However by 1962 Ajax were spindling their edges with a sharper Powertone-like bearing edge. This consisted of a 45 degree internal chamfer and a small radius externally. However this too was subject to variation, and some of the drums were still sold with the rounded over edge. From approx. 1965 the internal chamfer angle reduced to approx. 30 degrees.
The above photo I think shows the quality of workmanship of many of these drums.