How to polish a stained kit.

24K

Junior Member
I have some old shells laying around that I was thinking about removing the bubbled wrap from. Then staining them. I wanted to find out if there was any way I could then get that to shine. I don't want to use varnish or a lacquer as I am worried I screw it up and it runs and goes shitty. I have seen some furniture polished up with french shellac or something along those lines. But they way the process was explained to me makes it sound like a bad option for a drum kit.

From what I was told the shellac is used to fill the pores in the wood. Then a few extra layers are built up over that which is then just rubbed like crazy to get a nice shine.

And now after typing that it just sounds like the effect lacquer would have on a kit.

Are there any other options i could look at. The kit will be stained dark brown. I believe the color is walnut. Maybe something slightly darker. If that makes any difference.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
After sanding to a fine finish & staining, a simple good quality wax application (several coats) & buff will get you a nice sheen. If you want anything "shinier" than that, you're into shellac, lacquers, poly coats, etc.

Your biggest challenge however is likely to be staining the bare shell. Wrapped drums can frequently have a very poor quality outer ply, and gluing residue is likely to seriously affect the consistency of stain take up unless it's completely removed.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have unwrapped 5 or 6 drums and most of them, the last wood ply, just undr the wrap is pretty rough. Rough to the point that you may spend a lifetime trying to sand them down to be suitable for stain. Some are so porous that the stain soaked in forever. I painted on group and it took a ton of paint. Ater you get the wrap off post a photo and we can be of better help. you may choose to wrap it again. Lots less work.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I agree with that.
If you take a wrap off a drum and see something that resembles nice wood, you got very lucky.
Paint will hide a lot more defects than stain, but not as much as another wrap will.
 

24K

Junior Member
Thanks guys.

I am not to phased about the look of the grain as I plan on doing a dark color. But I will keep that in mind about the pores.

When I finally get around to doing the kit I will post pictures first. Just have some guitars I am working on at the moment.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I will also caution on removal of the current wrap. Some of the top wood veneers will be the worst grade of luaun you can imagine and the glue may bring chunks of that with it and the old wrap. I have fun and wish you well on yours.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
What type of kit is it you are planning on refinishing? I tore the wrap off my old Tama kit and this is what was under it:



Not terrible, but not really nice enough to stain. The luan ply was all in tact, but it has such deep pores and terrible grain (in addition to inconsistent color) that the drums wont look good being stained. I am re-wrapping them in this:

 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Tommy, that is exactly what my old bass drum looked like when I did my bop kit. Impossible to stain, and not really good looking painted. In the end I covered it.
The yellow is painted, the same kit wrapped.
 

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wildbill

Platinum Member
Another thing to take note of is if the wrap was glued solid all the way around the drum.
If it was - forget it. Not worth the trouble.

I'm not sure, but I think if there are bubbles in the wrap, it was probably glued only at the section where it overlaps.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Another thing to take note of is if the wrap was glued solid all the way around the drum.
If it was - forget it. Not worth the trouble.

I'm not sure, but I think if there are bubbles in the wrap, it was probably glued only at the section where it overlaps.
My Tama kit was glued the whole way around, but it was a fairly cheap glue. I did have some bubbling on my 16" floor tom and with the help of a heat gun I was able to take the wrap off without any real damage to the outer ply of the shell.
 

snowfall

Junior Member
Tommy, that is exactly what my old bass drum looked like when I did my bop kit. Impossible to stain, and not really good looking painted. In the end I covered it.
The yellow is painted, the same kit wrapped.
The wrap looks nice. Is it a veneer like Smoke mentioned or a wood grain vinyl?
 

24K

Junior Member
The kit is a Gretsch Catalina Club.

From what I can tell its only glued in one place. However the other Catalina I club I had my eye on has come back into our store. So I may pick it up. It's wraps are still fitted well. They have just faded from silver to gold. Could check the wood underneath and always put the wrap back if I am not happy with how it looks.
 

welshrugbyfan

Junior Member
I put in another post that I've been resorting kits both as a professional and here at home in the shed.

Honestly you can turn any kit into something nice. The shiny red to almost black fade is an Ashton or similar very cheap kit that I took the old wrap off and polished up to this level with stains and polyurethane gloss. I spray mine with a gun and compressor.

The other one is a Mapex Mars that I took the wrap off and glued a walnut veneer over the shells. Sprayed in a satin polyurethane this tie and as the hardware was so rusty I could only treat it all and paint black and then I sprayed a satin polyurethane over the top as well. It's lovely and smooth to the touch now.

Always cut new bearing edges and polish the insides as well, new Remo heads and they sound brilliant. That walnut one is one of the best sounding kits I've heard, even the 12" tom has a deep beautiful tone to it.
 

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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I put in another post that I've been resorting kits both as a professional and here at home in the shed.

Honestly you can turn any kit into something nice. The shiny red to almost black fade is an Ashton or similar very cheap kit that I took the old wrap off and polished up to this level with stains and polyurethane gloss. I spray mine with a gun and compressor.

The other one is a Mapex Mars that I took the wrap off and glued a walnut veneer over the shells. Sprayed in a satin polyurethane this tie and as the hardware was so rusty I could only treat it all and paint black and then I sprayed a satin polyurethane over the top as well. It's lovely and smooth to the touch now.

Always cut new bearing edges and polish the insides as well, new Remo heads and they sound brilliant. That walnut one is one of the best sounding kits I've heard, even the 12" tom has a deep beautiful tone to it.
Those drums look great but I can tell those outer plies are not Luaun which a lot of inexpenseive drums are and would never sand that smooth.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I refinished an old bass drum a few years ago that turned out really nicely. The trick was taking my time and removing any and all residue from the outside of the shell with chemical stripper and sanding it as smooth as I could. This only really works if you've got a decent outer ply to begin with - anything porous won't sand smoothly enough.

I applied stain very thinly all over the drum using lint-free cloths, letting each layer dry. Then I applied some shellac using a similar method - maybe seven or eight applications all over the drum, sanding very carefully when necessary between layers and making sure the drum was absolutely clean between applications. I didn't get a lacquer-shiny finish and if I wanted to using shellac it would have taken a huge number of layers but I did get a decent finish.
 

welshrugbyfan

Junior Member
Those drums look great but I can tell those outer plies are not Luaun which a lot of inexpenseive drums are and would never sand that smooth.
The walnut one obviously has had a new veneer over it but it wasn't able to be lacquered as they were terrible.

The shiny red one was really bad and took hours of work preparation wise and I've faked the grain with this technique to add some effects to the plainness of it.

After you've done a few coats you mix some stain in with the lacquer and spray a wet coat over the shell, whilst it's wet you lay a sheet of cling wrap over it and move it around a bit and then quickly peel it off.

It leaves a great grain effect very simply.

But I've had 28 years of playing around with this stuff so I'd recommend a much easier way of starting like with a nice grain or gluing another wood veneer over the top.

Veneer can be quite simple to use. Once you've cut it to size you glue both surfaces with titebond wood glue and let it dry. Once dry you can lay it at the starting point and with a warm iron start pressing the veneer. The heat melts the glue and it stays exactly where you want it.

I've got kits and guitars I've done from 30 years ago and the veneer hasn't moved one mm.
 
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