Antiquing / Distressing drums and hardware

gallonsloth

Senior Member
Bit weird, I know, but I've always been a little bit put off by shiny lacquers and chrome plated hardware.
I'm slowly amassing the parts and info I need to make a dirty, gritty old antique looking drum set out of new shells and hardware.

I know there are many tricks to distressing wood through painting techniques, flat looking stains and finishes, scuffing it up lightly here and there, etc.
And I know brass has dozens of ways to be antiqued or add patina (not sure about brass plated stuff though)

Not sure what I'm going to do about my chrome plated hardware though, don't really know where to start altering it.

Anyone else have any experience distressing and antiquing stuff, or any interesting stories?
 
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FreDrummer

Silver Member
There's lots of this going on in the guitar world. Seems people either love it or hate it. The truly nice looking guitars are done by very experienced people -- the process is meticulous and time-consuming, and sometimes can come out as works of art. OTOH, there's a lot of guitars out there that were distressed by first-timers in their basement or garage...and LOOK like it.

Guitars are a lot different than drums; they have natural wear-points on the body, neck, and fretboard. If finished in nitrocellulose, the finish may have a cracked appearance. Then there's the "battle-scar" dings and scratches (sometimes the hardest to make look natural), and the "dirtying" to make it look like it's been in a thousand smoke-filled bars and seldom cleaned.

What level kit do you plan this on? Beginner? Mid-grade? Pro-grade? There's plenty of info on guitar forums about aging metal components. On the wood you might be on your own. I'd start out with a cheap set, as you may not be pleased with your results (and no one else will, either, resale-wise).

Just my .02 cents...
 

gallonsloth

Senior Member
I'd start out with a cheap set, as you may not be pleased with your results (and no one else will, either, resale-wise).

Good point...
I'm gonna give it a go with a cheap Sonor kick and floor-tom I picked up for under 100$ first.
But I eventually want to start up a project like this from scratch.

I suppose that's true too, it is pretty popular amongst the guitar world, hadn't thought about that. Might ask some of the older guitarists in the shops around here if they know anyone who does this.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I have never understood this desire. I was looking for a new guitar a few years back and could not understand why Gibson and Fender in particular were selling ranges of new gitars that were made to look old.

I have noticed that it is now very difficult to buy a pair of jeans that dont look 3 years old and in a lot of the high street fashion chains even the shoes are made to look worn and distressed. Whats that all about? If I want a new pair of footwear or trousers I want them to look new and with jeans in particular thay will wear with age.
None of that rant has any bearing on the question the OP asked, each to there own, just my take on things. Apologies.

If you like I have a set of very distressed Premier hardware from the early 80s, you can have it if you pick it up.
 

gallonsloth

Senior Member
Ahaha, definitely agree that it is a little strange to buy purposely roughed up clothing... at that point, it becomes more than the outer surface or visual part of the product that is altered, and you're sometimes significantly sacrificing the function and life of the product just for visual appeal. Which does seem a little absurd.

If you like I have a set of very distressed Premier hardware from the early 80s, you can have it if you pick it up.

If you happened to by some wild chance live somewhere close to Mississauga I might be interested in that actually.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Beer, blood, wine,sea water and strong acids and or alkaline reagents are particularly good at distressing all manner of musical instruments. If you don't like lacquer finishes you could easily distress finishes and enhance the look by splashing some organic solvents around eg. methylene chloride. Then fine tune the look by handing any bass player a hand axe and letting him learn to carve into the maple/birch etc. also hardware can be dethroned by leaving stands out for winter, they come up a lovely flakey earth brown!

Hey presto your bespoke antique finish.
 

gallonsloth

Senior Member
Then fine tune the look by handing any bass player a hand axe and letting him learn to carve into the maple/birch etc.

lol

I'm actually considering taking an old stand, protecting all the threads, etc. and throwing it outside for a few weeks to see what happens.
 

FiveString

Member
i think this is a really cool idea, and I've often wondered why drums are lagging behind other instruments in terms of distressed/antiqued finishes.

Long before Gibson and Fender started "relic-ing" guitars, instrument makers in the classical world have been antiquing their instruments for hundreds of years. It's not a new phenomenon, and violin makers have gotten really good at it. I'd look to their techniques and see what you can glean.
 
I aged the hardware on my telecaster by tinting shellac, which will stick to pretty much anything, with dark brown alcohol based wood stain that I got at Mohawk Finishing Supplies. There's one in Missisauga: http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/dist_detail.asp?distNbr=76

I sprayed it on using an airbrush. You could brush or rag it on. Shellac is alcohol based, so methyl hydrate, which is available at any building supply, is what you use to remove the shellac. You can experiment until you get the look you want. The beauty of the shellac/ methyl alcohol system is that you can clean the shellac off without damaging the substrate, even if it's been dry to touch for years. Also, OOOO grade steel wool is an easy to use gentle abrasive.

Hope this is useful info....
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Most of the guitar "relicing" of hardware is done with fairly aggressive acids to promote corrosion. Which has to be neutralized very thoroughly or you will have problems down the road. Also, sometimes forcing rust on the hardware causes it to lock up. Really an issue with things like the small screws on a guitar bridge, but could be a problem with certain types of clamps like a vintage Rogers tom mount.

There's lots of info out there on "antiqueing" furniture. Muting the finish with fine steel wool, hitting it with chains and such to put small dings. You probably don't want major rub off points like on a guitar as that would be unnatural. Maybe on a shell tom where a snare might hit it.

I do get the idea of "road worn" equipment. Creating the image of a journeyman musician instead of someone who just ran down to Guitar Center with a handful of money. But I got over it when I met the tech for one of my favorite guitarists, Robben Ford. And he was polishing Robben's newer guitars in-between sets with hard carnuba wax. Keeping them looking new. Robben is known for playing a '54 Les Paul and a '64 Telecaster that have some natural wear. But they aren't brutalized. Fender made a Tele for Robben that was pretty heavily antiqued. The finish is totally gone where your arm goes, which Robben's actual '64 doesn't have. He gave that "imitation" to another fellow I know up here. There's nothing wrong with nice stuff if you can play it.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
You want a "real" road worn guitar? Look at some old shots of Rory Galagher, bet he spent more time playing than worrying if his gear looked beat up enough.
 

Winegums

Silver Member
If you want to take the chrome off the lugs without sanding I suggest you deplate them using electricity and some DC current.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I realized after watching this video, interesting veneers look like a pretty easy way to get a more weathered kind of vibe.
I really like how he used the holes in the veneer.
Interesting veneer with a satin or flat finish instead of glossy might be what I end up trying out for my shells.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bISH5jb3Lxo&list=LL777kd8wc2rtlgRHBSpKi_w&index=1

Why not just do what motorcyclists do if they want a "Rat" bike, ladle on the matt paint.
 

gallonsloth

Senior Member
So... made some progress with this project, here's the kick so far.

Ended up going with a burl veneer and coating it in tung oil. So now I've got my low luster finish I was looking for.
I tried a satin water-based spray finish on some test pieces, but they ended up looking cloudy and filmy with very little saturation, tough to get an even coat on the burl too.

There are no seams in between the veneer, figured that gives it a "log-with-lugs" kinda look that help it look a bit aged too.
I thought some fiberskyn heads would look pretty badass on it, so hopefully those come in soon.

Still have a long way to go though... I think I might actually leave the chrome on there, rather than strip it off, and put a thin layer of automotive paint, or something else that'll stick to it on there, and then put on one of these guys metal finishes and try to work with that.
http://metalfinishesplus.com/
 

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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Oh yes !

I'm really liking this. Especially where the veneer is missing.
A distressed drum kit is a great idea.


.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Why not simply gig it for a few years and neglect it, then it will be a real road worn instrument.
 

gallonsloth

Senior Member
Why not simply gig it for a few years and neglect it, then it will be a real road worn instrument.

Definitely would get a more authentic worn in look that way.
I only really take the drums out of the house maybe once a year if that now though.
Also, I think I may have turned this project into less of a "worn in" set and more into a stylized rough looking kinda set I suppose.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Definitely would get a more authentic worn in look that way.
I only really take the drums out of the house maybe once a year if that now though.
Also, I think I may have turned this project into less of a "worn in" set and more into a stylized rough looking kinda set I suppose.

It sounds like what you are going for is an antique / worn out looking kit that has good working hardware. And a kit that sounds good.
For instance if you had new high end hardware but it is tarnished and or rusty. I think it is a great idea.

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