Refinishing hardware / shell on snare drum.


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Hey, all -

I recently got gifted an old marching snare (Premier pipe band model - pre-free floating) that's in bad shape, cosmetically. Hardware's okay, but the wrap on the shell is showing its age.

I'd like to remove the wrap and stain the wood, as well as see if I couldn't laquer the hardware to change it to a gold/brass finish.

Has anyone done that before - is there an easily obtained (like Home Depot easy) paint / lacquer that would let me do that? I'm curious to hear from anyone that's done a custom job like this before. I'm also looking for some type of laquer or poly to protect the stained shell - any suggestions?

Thanks for any and all advice!

Mike

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Removing the wrap shouldn't be too terrible--you may need some glue solvent to do it. For the shell, sand it smooth and get all the glue off. If you desire, you may want to use sanding sealer like what is used for model aircraft and rockets, but that stuff stinks something fierce and would probably take several bottles to do a whole drum shell. I'd probably recommend a polyurethane laquer over the top, and several coats.

I'm not sure what to use on the metal hardware--if it's chrome, you may have a tough time getting the laquer to stick.

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The drums are wrapped for a reason. The grade of the outer ply is probably a terrible looking grain and wouldn't be suitable for finishing.

Using a blow dryer and a puddy knife to scrap the old wrap off the shell should work. Just make sure to take your time so you don't lift any of the outer ply wood up with the wrap, then you have a mess on your hands. Also sand the shell to remove any glue or marks left on the wood from the manufacturering process. If you sand too much you will go through the first ply. Also don't sand with anything higher than 320. You'll close the poures on the wood which won't allow the stain to saturate the shell as well as it should.

IF you MUST stain it might I suggest you use water based dyes from http://www.drumfoundry.com and their clear coats. The most important item is sanding sealer. If you want that ultra-smooth hi-gloss finish you must seal the wood first. Clear coat is just that, a top coat. It would take 20+ coats to slightly fill any bumps or nicks in the wood. Using a few coats of sanding sealer will fill any of those rough areas and level everything out so the top coat goes on nice and smooth.

The easier and most cost effective route would be to check out the wide array of wraps that can be custom cut for the size of your shell. They can be found at http://www.jamminsam.com Sam Bernard is a fine business man and will get you the product you want at a great cost. I've used him in the past for wraps.

He has sparkles, glass glitters, Pearls, Onyx, Solids, Satin Flames (COOL!!!), and the list goes on. For 1 14" marching snare I couldn't see the cost of the wrap being that much at all. It does get pricey for an entire drumset though, but you don't have to worry about that.

Anymore questions don't hesitate to contact me through PM, or visit http://forum.drumshed.org It's a forum full of custom drum builders and hobby builders such as myself.

Edited by TenorsForWorldDomination
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Ditto on the above (though Bernard's prices on wrap are sometimes a little on the high side vs the competition). Depending on what vintage the Premier is, the outer ply could be mahogany ; if it is, just wrap it and forget it, since the mahogany usually isn't worth re-finishing unless it's in perfect condition to begin with. If they had a maple or birch outer ply, it can be stripped and stained/lacquered, though it can be a lot of work.

Refinishing the hardware is something that would be difficult, and even if you could find someone to do it, chances are the cost would be in the several hundreds of dollars.

Just finished re-wrapping an old TDR in new copper wrap ala SCV's drums in the 70s. Looks great, but it was several hours working at the buffing machine to get a mirror finish on the copper and the lacquering job is much touchier than with a wood finish. At least I know now how much to charge if anyone I re-wrap for me asks for the same finish... :P

Edited by mobrien
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On the hardware side, Rustoleum makes some metallic finishes. It's a little ghetto but can look nice if chosen and applied carefully. Gilberto Serna at Century Mallet is doing a lot of hardware refinishing of metal parts with this stuff and it looks ok. There are gloss metallic finishes that look annodized, and textured and "hammered" finishes that fill scratches and dings. If the hardware is really bad it could be an improvement. Just keep it off the threads and moving parts and use a color that is similar to the original finish so scratches won't show.

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I DO NOT suggest you paint your hardware. It will chip off very easy even from regular use and moving it around. You can re-apply to those chipped spots but that is much more hassle than it's worth.

If you really want to change the look of the hardware it's worth the money to get it POWDERCOATED. This will last MUCH longer than paint.

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I do not have a lot to add myself to this, as the only complete overhaul of a drum I ever did myself was an old 1940 Ludwig snare with wooden hoops I have, which came out beautiful without sanding needed.

There is a fellow on our snare line however that bought 10 old beaten up drums one by one off eBay, and went a bit beyond restoration, which we use for our group, as seen in the pic below. He's taken TDR's totally restored them, including recovering as discussed above, as well as restoring all the hardware, replacing it where necessary, and added a Ludwig HV-model twist to them, as well as to our rudimental bass drums, and the snares and basses sound awesome, though my opinion is slightly slanted toward the sound of the older drums. Not to go off in a tangent, in my opinion, all highly cranked high-tension drums now sound like a piece of wood, instead of an acoustical percussion instrument. I'm sure you can get all the answers you need here from what I've read, but if you need questions answered from this guy, his userID is vschaff on our forum accessible via our site, gnodca.org, though he is not always actively accessing the forum, but I can get in touch with him if you need.

Here's the pic of the restored drums, I just have to share with y'all.

GNODCA (Echoes Drum & Bugle Corps) Mardi Gras 2006

Edited by Jumpin2drums
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  • 3 weeks later...
The drums are wrapped for a reason. The grade of the outer ply is probably a terrible looking grain and wouldn't be suitable for finishing.

Using a blow dryer and a puddy knife to scrap the old wrap off the shell should work. Just make sure to take your time so you don't lift any of the outer ply wood up with the wrap, then you have a mess on your hands. Also sand the shell to remove any glue or marks left on the wood from the manufacturering process. If you sand too much you will go through the first ply. Also don't sand with anything higher than 320. You'll close the poures on the wood which won't allow the stain to saturate the shell as well as it should.

IF you MUST stain it might I suggest you use water based dyes from http://www.drumfoundry.com and their clear coats. The most important item is sanding sealer. If you want that ultra-smooth hi-gloss finish you must seal the wood first. Clear coat is just that, a top coat. It would take 20+ coats to slightly fill any bumps or nicks in the wood. Using a few coats of sanding sealer will fill any of those rough areas and level everything out so the top coat goes on nice and smooth.

The easier and most cost effective route would be to check out the wide array of wraps that can be custom cut for the size of your shell. They can be found at http://www.jamminsam.com Sam Bernard is a fine business man and will get you the product you want at a great cost. I've used him in the past for wraps.

He has sparkles, glass glitters, Pearls, Onyx, Solids, Satin Flames (COOL!!!), and the list goes on. For 1 14" marching snare I couldn't see the cost of the wrap being that much at all. It does get pricey for an entire drumset though, but you don't have to worry about that.

Anymore questions don't hesitate to contact me through PM, or visit http://forum.drumshed.org It's a forum full of custom drum builders and hobby builders such as myself.

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