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Drum Refinishing Project

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  • Drum Refinishing Project

    Hi all

    Thought some of you might want to see a project nearing completion to salvage some damaged drums.

    I had lent my old set of Mapex mars Pro drums to a sister who had them set up in a room which then had a bad fire, starting at the other side of the room. There was some interesting damage to the drums!

    When the firemen got there, the room was ablaze to the extent that the sheetrock was melting. When they hit the flaming walls and ceiling with their hoses, it splattered molten sheetrock all over the kit. Here is a picture of the kick - the toms and snare were worse!

    http://www.pbase.com/image/6683939

    The resulting splatters were rock-hard and would not chip off. I needed to soak the metal hardware in hot water with sodium phosphate detergent for weeks to get them ready to be scraped clean.

    Interestingly, even though plastic collars in the lug tubes actually melted from the heat, the lacquer finishes were undamaged and the drum heads were intact, although dried out and brittle feeling.

    The shells were sanded down, primed and painted with a gold spray enamel, and then a tan tinted decorative glaze was used to produce a marble effect with gold highlights. Three coats of polyurethane were added for protection. They came out pretty decent - here are some photos of the small rack tom:

    http://www.pbase.com/image/6684567
    http://www.pbase.com/image/6684560
    http://www.pbase.com/image/6684564

    The snare is a Pearl Maple 7' x 12". I sanded it all the way to bare wood, and then tried to stain it with strong tea, which didn't work. So I stained it with a walnut stain, and then lots of applications of tung oil with a final sanding. It is smooth as a baby's bottom, but staining maple is difficult. Here is a picture of the drum nearing completion:

    http://www.pbase.com/image/6685967/large

    I went through the toms and redid the bearing edges by hand - not a great idea! They look alright, but the shells themselves are not real true. I'm not sure if it is from the fire, or just the way the always were. It'll be interesting to see just how good - or bad - they sound!

    Thanks for looking - any suggestions are greatfully appreciated.
    Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

  • #2
    Man, that's gonna be a beautiful kit when you are done. I really admire your perseverance - not to mention craftsmanship!

    BTW: Nice photography as well. Ranman is impressed.
    My website...
    VCustom kit,
    TD8 + Aphex Impulse,
    HDI Cymbals.
    A great site: eDrumming.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, Ranman - you made my day!
      Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Drum Refinishing Project

        Originally posted by gingerbaker

        The snare is a Pearl Maple 7' x 12". I sanded it all the way to bare wood, and then tried to stain it with strong tea, which didn't work. So I stained it with a walnut stain, and then lots of applications of tung oil with a final sanding. It is smooth as a baby's bottom, but staining maple is difficult. Here is a picture of the drum nearing completion:

        Thanks for looking - any suggestions are greatfully appreciated.
        Not that the snare looks that bad or anything...

        For your maple snare, you should have used a "stain sealer" before applying the stain (you can buy it anywhere). It is a clear liquid that you apply so that the stain can be applied evenly. If you notice, the grain of the maple is blackened. This would not have happened if you used the sealer. It is not too late. You can start again, but you'll have to use "stain stripper" to get stain out of the wood. Then start the process again but ensure you put a few coats of the "stain sealer" on first. You'll be amazed in the difference.

        I made this same exact mistake on a peice of furniture I made out of tiger maple. The "tiger" marks became black! I stripped it, applied the sealer and it turned out beutiful.

        I'd also use polyeurathane instead of the tung oil. You can get satin, semi-gloss or high-gloss. Much stronger and will protect your wood much better. You also will only have to apply it once (vs. with tung oil, it is a never ending reapplication).
        My Hart Dynamics GigaPro (vintage 1999)

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for your reply, Antinucci!

          You know, I have a can of sanding sealer and I actually stared at it hard. Then, in typical fashion, I took what is now obviously the wrong road.

          I have the drum all together now and I'm going to have to think hard about starting all over again. One of the screws which secured a lug broke off in the lug, which required a tap and die fix. I'm not sure if the "repair" can withstand the process again.

          I can live with the way the drum looks now - assembled with all the lugs it doesn't show the grain as much. I definitely will go with the sealer next time though, thanks to you.

          PS - You are also dead on re the tung oil. What a PITA!!! I must have put 20 coats of that stuff on. Bet the sealer would have helped with that too. Thanks again.
          Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

          Comment


          • #6
            Beauty, eh?

            Regardless of what finishing faux pas you might've made, looks damned good to me!
            -Danny

            Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

            Comment


            • #7
              Looks great!

              Make sure you discarded the material you used to apply the oil properly too. I personally know of two cases where people have set their house on fire by throwing oil soaked rags in the garbage directly.

              The Verathane line is what I've used for a lot of refinishing:

              http://www.acousticdrums.com/members/refinish.html

              Strangely, these products can react with some plastics. I once left a screwdriver sitting on a piece of furniture finished with this for a couple of weeks and it left a glossy ghost of the screwdriver. Tung oil is a great choice if you're up for the elbow grease involved.
              William Reeves - President
              Logistix Productions, Inc

              http://www.logiztix.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by logiztix

                [/B]
                Guys, please take this bantering to your private messages!
                My Hart Dynamics GigaPro (vintage 1999)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Gingerbaker, hopefully you don't have a pile of oily rags in your garage left from your project. If you do, you should get rid of them.

                  http://www.usbr.gov/power/data/fist/fist5~2/5~2_5.htm

                  Anyone reading this thread and thinking about refinishing drums should be aware of this potential disaster from using oil as a finish. Throwing your used rags in a box and going about your business is a bad idea.


                  Enjoy your project!
                  William Reeves - President
                  Logistix Productions, Inc

                  http://www.logiztix.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Fartnokker and Logiztix

                    Thanks for the kind words and advice!

                    Well, i set up the kit last night ( all the drums refinshed but the kick) and they look pretty good. They also sound quite nice as well. The rack toms have a nice clear fudamental with complimentary overtones and lots of sustain when held by hand. When attached to the mounts, the sustain is much less, but there you go--its a midrange kit with no isolating suspension. The snare has a good crack along with a nice ring, which I like and is musical at the edges. So far so good.

                    You should see the cymbals! ( Hey, guess I should photograph them so you COULD see them). They have an unbelievable patina on them now. Essentially, they were hickory smoked!

                    They have a reddish brown surface now--as if they were buried for a month in a peat bog. There are also ares which look like heat-treated steel - makes sense - green and red discolorations. They also were splattered with sheetrock and also something which looked like plastic, so I took a dremel tool to them and brass brush to them last night and spot cleaned them. This left them with a kind of hand-hammered look. Overall, I can't decide if they look supercool or just plain trashed. They sound fine.

                    Speaking of sound. While it was fun to hit real drums, and hear the sound coming directly from them - get this - I PREFER THE VDRUMS!

                    I like the overall balance of the sound - my poor technique showing on the acousics no doubt, it's been a LONG time since I touched an acoustic kit. I also like the fact that you don't have to hit the drums as hard to get a fine round tone. I also like the fact that the snare is not attacking your left eardrum! On the other hand, there IS a falseness to rapid snare (single) rolls on the Vdrum snare - not a machinegunning but something else, which made the acoustic snare sing by comparison.

                    So now I have my acoustic kit at my band practice space, and my Vdrums at home. Woo-Woo! Forcing myself to relearn acoustic technique is a good thing though. I've passed up too many opportunities to sit in because of rustiness. Onward and hopefully upward, my friends!
                    Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

                    Comment

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