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Old 07-03-2018, 04:23 AM
f15c f15c is offline
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Default Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

Hi there, just picked up a 2009 Mapex Meridian Birch kit (12/13/16/22) in Transparent Midnight Black (excellent condition for $200...good deal I think...)

I've been wanting to experiment with a 13 up and two 16's down...I'm on a tight budget, so I picked up a 1999 Tama Swingstar 16" FT for $20. Wrap is crinkled, hardware dirty, but perfect for my purposes.

When cleaning this Tama FT up, I decided to have some DIY fun with it--I'm going to *try* to color match it with my Mapex kit, and welcome any suggestions or advice. Here's what I've done so far:

1. Removed all hardware, went to town with some 0000 steel wool, looking good now.

2. Removed the wrap. Pleasantly surprised to only find adhesive/tape at the seam, so not too hard to get it off (a few rounds of mineral spirits and sanding with 320 grit).

3. Also pleasantly surprised with the wood grain. Mapex website says this is "Philippine Mahogany," aka Luan I believe.

My plan: I'm going to stain this Luan shell to get as close as I can to my Birch Transparent Midnight Black drums. Going to be tricky as not only is it different wood, but these Mapex shells seem to change color depending on the light you shine on them. Low light looks totally black. In warm light, can easily see the wood grain, and looks like a gray based black. At some sun angles, almost looks like a dark green hue in the black.

I emailed Mapex to ask if they can give me any staining tips to try to match. Assuming no luck there, here's what I'm going to do:

1. Sand again with 120 grit, then 22 grit, then apply some pre-stain/conditioner to maximize chance of shell taking the stain evenly...minimize blotchy stain.

2. Stain it black/ebony. Currently researching various brands of water/oil/gel stains, and flirting with idea of a dark green base coat, then ebony on top until I get it as dark as I want. I'd like to get that same hint of green in the sunlight, but ultimately, so long as it's generally black, I'm not really concerned. All the drums will look plain black in dark bar gig anyway.

3. Apply poly or epoxy coating when stain is done. Looking at both spray and brush on options.

I welcome any comments or advice you may have on stain and clear coat. I'm sure when it's all said and done, I may have been able to just buy another matching tom for less money... but I've always wanted to do some DIY drum work, and thought this would be a fun project...figured a $20 FT was a good one to fiddle with. Happy to share pics and results if anyone is interested. Here are some starting pics: Tama FT, shell with adhesive still on, cleaned up shell, and my 12" Mapex tom for color comparison... more to follow.

Thank you all for your time, rock on.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:35 PM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

MinnWax sells an Ebony 2718 stain. I have used it for picture frames. And like any stain, the stain will be darker the longer you leave it on before wiping. After it dries for at least 24 hours in a not humid environment, you can wipe on a coat of semi or gloss clear. Steel wool lightly and clear agin. Good luck, have fun.
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:29 PM
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Tommy_D Tommy_D is offline
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Default Re: Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

Does the Mapex tom have any underlying color tones other than the black? My Saturn kit in Transparent black has hues of green under the black which is achieved by having a "tealish-blue" stain applied to the shell (probably sprayed for uniformity, not hand applied with a rag), then the transparent black is likely sprayed on as part of the lacquer process because the level of transparency can be controlled much better spraying it on in layers than staining by hand. There is then likely a clear lacquer that goes on after all of this. After all, Mapex states that their finishes are done with 8 coats, so there's lots of steps to achieve the final finish.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:07 PM
Macarina Macarina is offline
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Default Re: Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

Most definitely you have very little to loose. Give it a shot.

I've done my fair share of staining wood. I love the end result working with woods, veneers, stains and finishes.

I think your project is going to be complex trying to match an existing product. When I've used color stains, the final result usually turns out way different than I envisioned. Tag on trying to replicate a color stained wood will be... interesting.

since youtube... I always consult video's to give me major support on what to do and what NOT to do.

Brad Angrove does interesting things with guitars and stains.


There's plenty of video's of tackling drum shells.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:18 AM
f15c f15c is offline
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Default Re: Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

Hi Tommy, yes .... you can see a hint of green on the Mapex toms, most visible in sunlight. Canít really tell in darker rooms, or even in warm lighting.

I was considering a green base coat to achieve this hue, thanks for the suggestion on teal/blue, and for spray vs hand stain. Will consider all this as I research.

Thank you!!

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Old 07-04-2018, 04:51 AM
f15c f15c is offline
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Default Re: Stain Matching - Mapex Transparent Midnight Black

Thank you Macarina for the video links, good stuff.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:46 AM
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