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refinishing drum shells?


ian1642605905

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Ive had a question presented to me RE: taking damaged wrap off old shells and applying stain or lacquer.

Has anyone had any experience at this?I've seen it done with excellent results but wanted to hear some input before teaching the guy to ruin his drums!!!

ian*

ian*
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Boy, I'd like to see an answer, too. In the past, I have found that drums that are wrapped frequently do not match in terms of the wood--they're different shades of darkness from drum to drum or there are knots in the wood, or the wood is damaged when you take the wrap off. In the past, hoping to finish the wood, I have given up and wrapped the drums again. That process is a huge pain in the patootie, ya darn tootin'!!!! Sorry about the outbreak of nasty language, but whoa--it's a TOUGH process to wrap a drum and make it look like new again. You really need to be patient and heavily invested in industrial-strength glue and a couple of six-packs of beer!!
I can't complain, but sometimes I still do... --Joe Walsh
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As a former drum shop owner, closet drum repairman, and one who has had custom work done on vintage drums ... here's my thoughts.

 

I would NOT recommend (to anyone) to ever stain or lacquer a drum that was originally wrapped. The reason being is that the ply layers are not very pretty underneath all that wrap. Typically, if a drum is intended to be lacquered or stained, the wood plys are laid out in such a way as to hide the seams. For instance, on a kick drum, the seam would be under the drum, the part that touches the floor. On a tom, the seam would be on place in such a way so that it was not visible to the audience. Actually it has a lot to do with where the lugs are placed in relation to the seam. Great care is taken on drums which will not be wrapped. If the drum is going to be wrapped, the manufacture doesn't give a flyin' flip where or how the seam looks on the shell; it's going to be covered up.

 

If you choose to stain or lacquer your drum anyway, you will want to plan on using some flashing lights to try and distract your audience from staring at the drum seams. Stain and lacquer will ENHANCE the seam; BIG TIME. So do yourself a favor ... don't do it guys. Just find yourself a nice drum wrap and re-wrap the drums.

 

If you get nice results from staining a previously wrapped drum, you are one of the few. Perhaps a really dark stain might help, but I wouldn't do it.

 

I was going to stain my Gretsch 4-pc kit (c. 1968) which was originally wrapped ... and the wrap was coming off. I stripped it down, cleaned all the old glue off and lightly sanded the plys. What I noticed was some uneveness in the grain as well as the texture. I would have had to sand for a long, long, long time and would have sanded right through and entire ply just to get past the nasty look. Fortunately, my buddy who does custom drum repair set me straight ... telling me to just re-wrap the drums.

 

http://bartelliott.com/images/Gretsch_Kit.jpg

 

See what you can do with a nice wood wrap?! It's African Bubinga; the same stuff Sonor used to use on their Signature Kits. Jack DeJohnette used to play a kit with this look.

 

I removed the old tom holders and rail console, plugged the holes and refinished the drums. Now everything is off the kick drum and the toms incorporate R.I.M.S.

 

NOTE: If you decide to re-wrap the drums yourself, make sure that you use the proper glue ... and most importantly ... don't mix the glues! When I was in high school I thought I could re-wrap my old 1964 "Red Sparkle" Ludwig kit with this cheap Black wrap. I used one kind of glue (the wrong kind) and when the wrap wasn't staying, I used another kind of glue (again, the wrong kind). Needless to say that my drums got these big boils where the glues had a chemical reaction. They bubbled up so bad that it burst and all this "flubber" slim oozed out ... just like popping a zit. It was nasty and I ruined the drums in my opinion. LOL

 

*** WARNING ***

Only use 3M Fastbound (30-NF Neutral) Contact Cement adhesive. It's the only glue I recommend for cementing plastic to drum shells.

 

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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ian*:

 

Having run a couple of drum companies, I can say that there are some very valid opinions being offered here.

 

Shells that are chosen for wrap are selected because they have a outer ply characteristic (a flaw) that makes them best suited for wrap.

 

A solid paint finish is an option.

 

If you are not handy with things like home repair projects, etc. ... DO NOT TAKE ON THIS PROJECT!! You will be sorry!

 

If you need someone to re-wrap or restore you drums, may I suggest you go to www.forksdrumcloset.com and send an e-mail requesting that SAM BACCO contact you. He is the repair person I would most recommend for drum refinishing. He does most of the pros work in town as well.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Thanks,

DJ

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(posted by Bart Elliott): "They bubbled up so bad that it burst and all this "flubber" slim(e) oozed out ... just like popping a zit."

 

Oh, THANKS for THAT image Bart! Here comes the pizza I just had for lunch! Guess I'll be re-wrapping my drums in USED CHEESE!

 

LMAO! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you've always had.
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It's been almost 10 years since I had the GRETSCH kit re-wrapped with the African Bubinga. I'll dig around and see if I still have the info.

 

You could check with just about any wood work shop or custom drum builder and they would have the info. You'll have to buy the wrap in large sheets ... and it isn't cheap. The African Bubinga is a type of red wood, and was one of the most expensive woods on the market.

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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...but you get to say bu-BING-ga!

 

C'mon, say it with me.

 

buBINGga

buBINGga

 

Now the girls

 

buBINGga

 

Now the boys

 

buBINGga

 

Now this side of the room....

 

This message has been edited by Mightydog on 07-25-2001 at 04:40 PM

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do... --Joe Walsh
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