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Project: Gretsch "Sunrise Burst"

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  • Project: Gretsch "Sunrise Burst"

    Earlier this year, I traded for a Gretsch Blackhawk acoustic kit. I've been planning to convert it into a stealthy electronic kit since day one. It's configuration is a bit rare with 12", 13", and 16" power tom sizes. I had no issues with the look of the kit, glossy black with chrome is always a winner in my book. However, an unseen flaw in the floor tom wrap, and a little temperature related help from mother nature resulted in a split in the floor tom wrap that went all the way around. (Cwrap!!) Here's the kit in stock form.



    I considered re-wrapping with a nice Rustic Pearl wrap ($$$), or just replacing the busted floor tom wrap ($$), but in the end I decided to finish the wood shells, making it a project all to itself. I had planned to use water based analine dyes and brushing lacquer, but my local home improvement stores don't carry either. So, I decided to use Rit fabric dyes and finish with polyurethane. (Unless I find some lacquer really quick) These pics show the dying stages, but I have yet to apply any type of finish coats.



    And finally, I present to you, "Sunrise Burst"



    I'm planning to sand once more with 320 grit and begin applying the finish coats.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by bwilburn79; 02-21-14, 08:27 AM.
    Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

  • #2
    Wow, lots of nice work. I would already be content at the 'Yellow-Orange' stage!

    Please continue to report!




    "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

    http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by hairmetal-81 View Post
      Wow, lots of nice work. I would already be content at the 'Yellow-Orange' stage!

      Please continue to report!


      Content, or bored of the process?

      Looking pretty awesome though - really want to see these puppys finished.
      --
      West London, UK.
      TD-11 module | DTXplorer rack | 3 x tp65 | 12" millenuim mesh head snare | cy-5, pcy65s and pcy150 cymbals | fd8 hh | krigg kick trigger w/ mapex raptor pedal.

      Comment


      • #4
        Having never done any type of wood finishing, let alone dying, I was initially very timid. I used heavily diluted dyes and tried to "fade" from yellow, through orange, into red within the same wet coat. Red is such a strong dye color that it always overpowered any attempt at keeping a bright yellow (as you can see from the progress pics). So I'd have to sand back to raw and try again, and again. To achieve this finish, only 4 basic steps are necessary. 1.) Prepare the raw shell using sandpaper. I recommend starting with 220 grit and progressing to 320. If your shells were previously wrapped, you might need to use 180 grit to get through the adhesive and into raw wood. 2.) Apply the yellow die, strong in the center, allowing it to fade as you work toward the outside. 3.) You can literally mix up some orange, or just apply red toward the outside and work toward the center, allowing the colors to blend and fade as you go. To "aide your fade", you can use a damp rag to blend the transitions. (which between red and yellow will result in orange) 4.) Apply the black to suit you or leave it off as HM suggested. Personally, I chose the black to give the chrome hardware and hoops something to contrast with. Hopefully, I won't regret the choice.
        Last edited by bwilburn79; 01-23-14, 02:54 PM. Reason: In retrospect, the "steps" needed revision
        Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

        Comment


        • #5
          A word about using Rit brand fabric dyes on raw wood: I tried mixing the dye with vinegar, denatured alcohol, and hot water independently. Hot water yielded the best results for me. I didn't set out with this exact look in mind, merely the idea of using the brilliant colors of a "sunset". I didn't know how the dye would react with the wood until I jumped in with both feet. Dye in general, especially Rit, is going to penetrate into, and highlight, the grain pattern of the wood. Even with additional coats, the grain is always more vibrant than the surrounding wood. I happen to like this effect. However, if you want uniform coloring, but a translucent finish to show the wood grain, using Rit dye on the raw wood isn't the right choice. In that case you might want to consider using dye (maybe even Rit) to tint the lacquer or polyurethane you will use for top coats instead.
          Last edited by bwilburn79; 12-10-13, 03:20 PM.
          Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some time ago another member posted something that truly inspired me. ChupaChups, aka Ezio, posted a build thread in which he placed an entire PC, monitor, and sound module setup, inside a floor tom. Freaking stealth genius I say. I've wanted to hide a module inside a drum since I first saw this thread: http://www.vdrums.com/forum/forum/ad...xm?view=thread

            I was searching today to find the thread as I'd forgotten who posted it, and when I read through it again, I was surprised to see that his kit has a finish very similar to the "Sunrise Burst" that I'm currently working on. His pics give an idea of what my kit might look like when it is reassembled. Perhaps I was subconsciously inspired by more than a floor tom that day. Lol.
            Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

            Comment


            • Greg The Groove
              Greg The Groove commented
              Editing a comment
              That was an awesome design. One of the best ever!

              PS The kit color looks great. Should look sweet with a nice thick coat of laquer on the shells!

          • #7
            Excellent! Truly beautiful. Great Job!
            8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
            http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Cheddies View Post

              Content, or bored of the process?

              Hehehe...!
              Content - with the end-result!


              "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

              http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

              Comment


              • #9
                Update: I applied the polyurethane finish over the weekend. I set my expectations reasonably low and I actually exceeded them. I must admit it was an intimidating challenge and I had many moments of doubt along the way. The problem with exceeding your expectations is you give yourself permission to raise them as you go. In my mind three things are necessary to make this a successful project: 1.) The burst finish must be repeated within reason across all four drums. 2.) The beautiful, vibrant colors should show through and stand out. 3.) The polyurethane finish needs to be very glossy and look wet at all times. I have achieved items 2 and 3 at this point. I haven't started the other drums yet, so the jury is still out on item 1. However, there is a fourth item that would really send this project into orbit. While the poly finish has the wet, glossy look I want, it isn't perfectly smooth and flat. So I have a conundrum on my hands. Do I stay with an imperfect finish that has a nice wet look from 6 feet away? Or do I attempt to rub out the finish using "black magic" techniques discovered on "the YouTube" and "interwebs" to have a finish you could run your hand across and say "Oooohhh!" The risk of hand rubbing the finish is that I might not be able to bring back the liquid gloss look, and a satin gloss will be the best I can manage. I'm not sure I'm ready to go into the 1500-2000 grit sandpaper zone. I welcome your comments about this, but for now, on to the progress pics.

                Sanding sealer coat: 50% polyurethane, 50% Thinner



                I let the sealer coat dry for about 2 hours, then I scuffed it up very lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. Then I applied two more coats of straight polyurethane sanding lightly between coats. Even through the second coat there were areas that soaked in to the point that the finish looked flat like the picture above.



                With the third coat it began to take on a glossy sheen but it had some light runs and brush marks, etc. I was worried at this point because I assumed the addition of more layers would help to even out the surface....wrong. So I made an executive decision to sand this baby into submission. I would either end up at square one, or even out the finish before the final coat. I hand sanded using small circles all the way around the drum, twice, using 220, 320, and 400 grit sand paper. This is the best decision I've made so far.



                The fourth coat laid down as smooth as I could've hoped for. I stood around and rotated the drum in half turns to help prevent any potential runs.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by bwilburn79; 12-09-13, 12:57 PM.
                Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

                Comment


                • #10
                  I'm still at work on this project. Unfortunately, I've experienced a self imposed setback. When I began working on the 12" and 13" mounted toms, I followed the same process I did with the 16" floor tom. I removed the wrap, used GooGone to remove as much of the adhesive from the shell as possible, then began sanding with 180 grit sandpaper. I thought I had thoroughly removed all of the adhesive, but apparently I was wrong. The area where the adhesive had been didn't receive the dye as well as the wood around it. At first I thought it was subtle enough that it wouldn't be noticeable in the finished product but after a few coats of polyurethane, I determined that it wouldn't be acceptable. So I loaded up some 80 grit paper and sanded back to bare wood. I'm sure I'll be happy that I did when all is said and done. Just thought I'd give an update. I hope to have the finishing portion of the project wrapped up before Christmas so I can focus on the conversion aspect.
                  Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    That adheisive really sucks to remove completely. It actually swayed my decision to "rewrap" my first DIY project rather than refinish it as I had planned. You are doing a spectacular job! Well done. The results will be well worth the time and effort you are expending.
                    8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
                    http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      This has truly been a humbling project. I should be posting pictures of a finished 5 piece kit right now but...I'm about to take the 12" and 13" toms back to bare wood, again. Each time, my impatience has lead to disaster during the finishing process. I've been applying the polyurethane with a foam brush. It goes on super thin and I found out early that additional coats of poly will not even out the imperfections left in previous coats. So I've been attempting to sand out any imperfections between coats to help the next coat go on smoother. Unfortunately, each time I've managed to sand through the poly and into the color. It happens so fast and once you hit the color, you're done. So obviously that plan isn't working. This time around I'm going to apply at least 3-4 coats of poly before doing any sanding. Hopefully I'll have built up enough thickness to let me sand out any imperfections. If not, I'll stop and apply more coats. When I'm finally able to smooth out the imperfections using 220 grit, I'll sand through 600 grit and then attempt a very thin, very slick, final coat. In spite of the setbacks, I'm really enjoying the process. I've tried to reason with myself that no one will see that, or the rim will cover that, etc. but I can't allow myself to finish it with imperfections that I know I could prevent. If I did, I'd regret not doing it right each time I look at it.
                      Roland TD12 module / DIY Kit in progress, Gretsch Blackhawk A (soon to be E) kit.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I have never painted drums before , but I did paint a motorcycle once. I never sanded betewwn coats of paint even when others had. I only made sure there wasn't any dust of fluffy polin stuff stuck to the finish before I sprayed the next coat. After about 5 coats of clear, I wet sanded with 1000 and 2000 grit paper. Took out all the orange peel until it was all a smooth, but hazy surface. Hit it up with rubbing compound then polishing compound and it looked like a mirror.
                        I think my work is done here.

                        Comment


                        • bwilburn79
                          bwilburn79 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Any suggestions on rubbing / polishing compounds?

                        • Tommy_D
                          Tommy_D commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I used 3M Rubbing Compound and their Machine Polish. After that you can apply cleaner wax. Done and Done.

                      • #14
                        No matter how many attempts you will have to go through eventually, I'm sure the end-result will be satifying, worth the effort and most of all: simply awesome!



                        "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

                        http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          I agree with Tommy here for the most part. Sounds like you are using too heavy a grit for your finishing. Wood and metal are a bit different though. Have you tried some 00steel wool between coats? I'v e found that this helps to promote a nice smooth glossy finish when doing woodwork. I also normally use a sander sealer before applying any stain. This allows the stain to cover evenly. The I urethane and steel wool between coats until I get that "glassy" finish I'm looking for.
                          8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
                          http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

                          Comment


                          • bwilburn79
                            bwilburn79 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I've found that fine grits and even steel wool work great for evening out the "sheen" of the finish but aren't sufficient to remove any real imperfections. I've heard it said to start with the coarsest grit necessary to remove the imperfections. I've found 320 grit to be the starting point to remove the small imperfections, 220 if you encounter runs and brush marks. I've also found that you must progress with each successive grit: 220, 320, 400, 600 etc. to successfully remove the scratches left behind by the previous grit. The hurdle that keeps tripping me up is resisting the urge to fix the imperfections between coats, and just apply enough coats of finish to build a sufficient thickness to withstand the necessary sanding later. That's what I did with the 16" floor tom initially, and I've been unsuccessfully trying to improve on that process ever since. Lol.
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