I was asked by a friend of mine to cut down her pair of 12″ Wuhan China (or “Lion” cymbals, as they call them) into a smaller set to use as hand cymbals.
There was one slight problem. Years ago when I first got into repairing cymbals I took my own version of the Hippocratic oath where I swore to “do no harm” to a set of undamaged cymbals. I was a little conflicted but I figured that since these cymbals aren’t for me and that the owner really wanted this to be done, I was okay to do this procedure. Plus, she had been using these as a set of hand cymbals already and they sounded truly awful. Therefore, I was only making improvements. Much like adding rivets to a cymbal.
I started by putting both cymbals on my cutting jig and finding the best diameter to use. I wanted to retain as much of the cymbal as I could but eliminate the flare. Once a diameter was decided upon I started cutting.
The cutting went pretty smoothly although the imperfect nature of Wuhan cymbals tends to affect how balanced the cut-down cymbal is. For example, the mounting hole was off-center on each cymbal which really caused a lot of warping and vibration. You can see this in some of the pictures.
After they were cut down I mounted them on my buffing wheel and de-burred the edges. My friend also wanted me to polish them and remove the logos. This was more trouble than it usually is since these cymbals are so out of balance. I used both a coarse and fine grained sanding sponge then finished up with 0000 steel wool. I finished that up with a thin coat of polyurethane to protect them and they are ready to go.
The finished product ended up being 8 1/4″ in diameter. They look cool and they sound a lot better.
Let me know in the comment section below if this was helpful and if you have any questions. Also, if you cut down your own cymbals, feel free to share your techniques.