I own a 5 piece mid 1990's DW drum set. After much online research and thought, I decided it was time to refinish them.
The main reason I want to refinish the drum set is because there are cracks in the wrap of most of the shells. I was slightly concerned it may have been more than the wrap that was cracked. I thought I would start with the small 8" tom that I don't use for my current setup.
Here is the process I went through while doing the refinish:
1. Remove all hardware
2. Check the surface of the wrap and drum
3. Remove the wrap
4. Remove residual glue
5. Lightly sand
6. Mask and stain drum
7. Clear coat drum
9. Sand stain off drum
10. Stain drum
11. Clear coat drum
12. Clean hardware and reinstall
Yes, I included a step that pertains to a mishap encountered with the clear coat.
Step 1: Remove Hardware From Drum
The first step is to remove all hardware and drum heads from the drum shell. While removing the lugs, I screw the bolts back into them to keep all the associated parts for each together, and then place them in a box to keep the whole set together.
One thing to keep in mind is to be easy on the bearing edge of the drum. This is the edge where the drum head makes contact with the shell. Damaging the edge can make it difficult to properly tune the drum, and it can affect the tone.
The air vent on my set is a bolt on type. Less expensive or older vintage drums may have a double flanged type air vent that would require the inside of the flange to be bent in order to remove it. You can order replacement vents if you choose. You may be able to remove the wrap around the air vent, but it may have the tendency to vibrate and rattle without the wrap in between it and the shell.
The badge (company logo) may also be put on differently than mine. It is also bolted on. I had an early 1970's Sonor set that had the badges nailed on. In my version, this is not an issue because I am staining the shell. If you are rewrapping the drum shell, you would need to use a drill bit smaller than the nail holes and drill through the shell so you can find the placement after the wrap is put on.
Be aware of the different types of hardware that is on your drum. My tom only has the lugs, air vent, and badge. Other hardware may include floor tom legs, bass drum spurs (legs), dampeners, snares and other snare parts. Be aware of how the hardware works and is attached to the drum shell.
Once you have all the hardware off, it is a good time to inspect the drum.