Instructables
Picture of How to refinish a drum
drumrefinish05.jpg
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
8. Oops!
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.
 
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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.
Thanks for the tips. I already refinished my drums and they turned out awesome. I have a very old drum set that was wrapped with transparent red plastic. When I pulled the wrap off, there was tin foil underneath the transparent red plastic giving it a "metallic red" look. (Not as cool as it sounds) I sanded, stained, and clearcoated it. I feel like I just bought a new drum set for under 50 bucks!

After you took the wrap off the drums does the wood look good under it?? Then can you stain it and make it look like maple or what ever?? Thanks..Mike

e10245 years ago
where did u get the stain
excellent! i chose maple stain, and it looks amazing. thanks for the Instructable
Jesusfreak!5 years ago
So maybe I missed it, but how much all together did this cost, and what kind of stain did you use? Thanks and nice job man!
frugal (author)  Jesusfreak!5 years ago
I used a water based Minwax stain and the Minwax clear coat that is compatible. It cost me about $50 for stain, clear coat, sandpaper, gloves, staining cloth, and the Goof Off.
they look great, cant wait to finish mine.
Metalron6 years ago
what about the metal parts?it can be refinish also even it is totaly wrap with rust?
frugal (author)  Metalron6 years ago
The metal parts just needed a general cleaning and are also chrome finish, so there was no rust.
Maffu6 years ago
God, that original wrap has to be the ugliest thing ever. Nice instructable though, and kudos for admitting and documenting your mistakes too - that sort of thing really helps others to avoid doing the same.
gergtreble6 years ago
Very cool. Did you notice any change in the sound of the drums?
frugal (author)  gergtreble6 years ago
It very slightly deepened the tone, but barely noticeable. DW timbre matches their drum shells, and my change to this tom did not affect the relation with the other toms. I'll post a final image once I get them all done.
Thats good. I recently modified my own kit in a slightly different way:

http://picasaweb.google.com/gregmcmullin/DrumKit

Didnt seem to make any difference.
looks great. your throne looks a bit un comfy though haha are they black skins? or just how it looks from the angle.
Yeah that was a temporary throne! I put black skins on the bottom of all the toms, the tops are remo pinstripe but as the insides of the drims are black too it gices the illusion of having black skins.
very nice!! did you just plaster it with football stickers or strip it down first and do something different?
Yeah I cornered the market on ebay for 1984-1985 pannini football stickers for about a month. And just spent a weekend just sticking them all over it. The original shells were in pretty good condition. But they where white... eurgh.
frugal (author)  gergtreble6 years ago
That is cool! It reminds me I will have fun with my bass drum hoops because they have the same wrap on the whole width of the hoop, and they are wooden.
I suppose you could stain the entire hoop? Or do some masking and have 2 tone hoop?
awsum and very well documented!! i've bin using my old drum world kit to experiment with since its not realy worth me selling on, i've already wrapped the snare with some yellow fabric so i think i'l do this to the rest of the kit and maybey the snare instead of the material (good old crappy wooden snare) how much did the stain bleed when you put it on? i'd like to sort of paint a design on by masking off and staining in different colours.
frugal (author)  drummonkey926 years ago
It bled a little under the masking tape. Stain is made to penetrate the wood. You could possibly pull it off by doing multiple, very thin coats. I would test it out on a scrap piecce of wood that is of the same species before doing it on the drum.
drummer ian6 years ago
brilliant kit, brilliant instructable, would love to see it all finished!
lol i bet you like this...
how did you guess :D
well, i think it was the ian part of your name that gave it away...
yes, many people on-line work out my real identity from that, add yourself to the list :D
Hmmmm..... my mind tells me that your name is Ian and you play drums. Am I right?
yay, i am listed!
Browncoat6 years ago
Once I have room to get my crappy drums back, I may try this! Thanks!!
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Nice job. Looks good