How are burst finishes on drums applied?


Senior Member
I've heard some people say that the finish is dyed and then clear coated. Looks to me like maybe they use a tinted clear coat and fade it to the edges of the drum. I've painted a few drums over the years using auto paint, not Krylon in a can but sprayed through an actual gravity gun like you would paint a car or I've seen in the drum factory video tours.

My idea would be to first cover the shell with a clear coat to seal it and then use a tinted clear to put whatever color you want on it so you can see a little of the wood grain through it. What do you think? Anyone that knows how the big guys do this I'm very curious.


Platinum Member
Light colors are sprayed first,and then gradually,darker colors,which are then sealed in a clear coat.Burst finish is actually stains,so it must be applied directly to the wood.

Steve B


I don't know thier processes, but if I were to try to duplicate a burst finish I would use stains and not paints. Thus avoiding any primers. The stain would also be translucent so the wood grain will still show through on the lighter colors. I would apply the stains with probably a low volume high pressure spray gun to fade colors into one another applying lighter colors first going to dark. I would finish it off with a clear laquer.

For example, my drums are a Sunburst Tobacco fade. They go from a sun yellow to a orange/red to dark brown. I would apply the yellow first, then blend and fade in the orange /red and then fade and blend in the dark brown. Then the laquer.

This in theory is how I would attempt it if I were to try to apply a burst finish.


Senior Member

I saw a good video demonstrating the application of a burst finish the other day:
I hate drums that look like furniture.

That said, a heavy quilting in purple, or a cedar with a sunburst just stop me dead in my tracks and have me drooling.

One day I will own a purple fade. Been staring at them for years now. Absolutely my very fav furniture treatment to a drum.

Very nice, buddy. Thanks SO much for sharing.