‘70s Milestone drums: How to clean fibreglass shells?

Backbeat85

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Hello! Happened upon a classic 70’s set of Milestone fibreglass drums. Cosmetically they are very dirty, but the shells look in decent shape without any warping. Wondering what I should use to clean/remove what looks like decades of garage dust, duct tape residue, and other filth? Any suggestions are appreciated!
Thanks for looking!
 

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Joe61

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Here is what you need to do. Find a marina that restores fiberglass boats. No joke, I am serious. Tell them what you have, show pictures. Ask them for the the cleaners and polishing/buffing compounds recommended. If you want to restore the shells to like new condition, you will need to follow a procedure that will include a buffing wheel. All hardware will need to be removed. It is a labor of love. If just a cleaning is all your after, try a product called xylene. It is a solvent that in my opinion is a bit tamer to use that acetone or lacquer thinner. Test this on a small area first, not all fiberglass/gel-coats are created equally. It should remove tape residue and most other markings on those shells. After cleaned to your satisfaction, a good RUB DOWN with a GOOD car wax will bring back some luster. If you go the power wash route make sure the shells are solid fiberglass and not a combination of fiberglass and wood or some other core material. Good luck!

Joe
 

thin shell

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Take all of the hardware off and take them outside and hose them off and use a good car wash soap and carefully wash all of the dirt and grime off with a microfiber towel or lambswool mit. Use the two bucket method of one bucket with plain water and one with the soap so you keep the soap water clean and rinse the rag in the plain water. Rinse often during the process. Then dry them off. This will give you a baseline of the actual condition of the shells. They are probably a lot better than you think. Unless they have been sitting outside the finish shouldn't need that much work.

You are going to want to clean and polish the hardware separately anyway. Plenty of threads here about cleaning chrome parts.

Milestone/Tempus drums are gel-coat over fiberglass so the finish is very tough. Milestone should be pre Paul Mason/Tempus so they should be really nice quality. The quality of the shells and particularly the finish became very hit or miss once Paul bought the company.

Mineral spirits is probably the gentlest solvent to get dried adhesive off. WD-40 also works well. If the marking on the bass drum is crayon then those solvents should take them off. If it is marker then it will be a little harder. Believe it or not, hairspray does an excellent job getting ink off of painted or similar surfaces. Put some on a clean rag and try to remove a small spot. A quick google search showed people using goof off, acetone and other solvents to get old adhesive off of their gel-coat fiberglass boats. As suggested you should always test a solvent on an area that you can afford to get damages like under a mount or lug. The suggestion to take them to a marina is a good one but may be unnecessary once you get the surface of the shells cleaned.
 

kallen49

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The lugs on my 1980’s Milestones had “made in Canada” moulded into the casting on the inside,
I doubt any drum lugs will ever be made in Canada again.
Great advice in above replies. Being white those shells would be excellent candidates for a paint job.
I don’t think it’s possible for those shells to “warp” unless subjected to intense heat/pressure.
They certainly can be scratched, cracked, chipped or dented but are the best shells if you gig in Canadian weather, hot summers or below zero those shells can take it and will sound great (coated emps over clear ambassadors was my fav head choice), enjoy!
 

Backbeat85

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Take all of the hardware off and take them outside and hose them off and use a good car wash soap and carefully wash all of the dirt and grime off with a microfiber towel or lambswool mit. Use the two bucket method of one bucket with plain water and one with the soap so you keep the soap water clean and rinse the rag in the plain water. Rinse often during the process. Then dry them off. This will give you a baseline of the actual condition of the shells. They are probably a lot better than you think. Unless they have been sitting outside the finish shouldn't need that much work.

You are going to want to clean and polish the hardware separately anyway. Plenty of threads here about cleaning chrome parts.

Milestone/Tempus drums are gel-coat over fiberglass so the finish is very tough. Milestone should be pre Paul Mason/Tempus so they should be really nice quality. The quality of the shells and particularly the finish became very hit or miss once Paul bought the company.

Mineral spirits is probably the gentlest solvent to get dried adhesive off. WD-40 also works well. If the marking on the bass drum is crayon then those solvents should take them off. If it is marker then it will be a little harder. Believe it or not, hairspray does an excellent job getting ink off of painted or similar surfaces. Put some on a clean rag and try to remove a small spot. A quick google search showed people using goof off, acetone and other solvents to get old adhesive off of their gel-coat fiberglass boats. As suggested you should always test a solvent on an area that you can afford to get damages like under a mount or lug. The suggestion to take them to a marina is a good one but may be unnecessary once you get the surface of the shells cleaned.
Thanks for the advice - was not sure exactly how robust these shells would be but I have much more confidence in getting these shells into respectable shape! Thanks again!
 

Backbeat85

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Here is what you need to do. Find a marina that restores fiberglass boats. No joke, I am serious. Tell them what you have, show pictures. Ask them for the the cleaners and polishing/buffing compounds recommended. If you want to restore the shells to like new condition, you will need to follow a procedure that will include a buffing wheel. All hardware will need to be removed. It is a labor of love. If just a cleaning is all your after, try a product called xylene. It is a solvent that in my opinion is a bit tamer to use that acetone or lacquer thinner. Test this on a small area first, not all fiberglass/gel-coats are created equally. It should remove tape residue and most other markings on those shells. After cleaned to your satisfaction, a good RUB DOWN with a GOOD car wax will bring back some luster. If you go the power wash route make sure the shells are solid fiberglass and not a combination of fiberglass and wood or some other core material. Good luck!

Joe
Thank you! Sounds like these shells are really tough and can take a beating! I appreciate the reply and advice - didn’t even think of what cleans fibreglass boats
 

Maninblack

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I used to work on the design of airliner interiors many years ago. When doing initial inspections after installation there were always oily fingerprints on the various plastic panels. We used to clean them up using neat liquid laundry detergent and a cloth. Wrap the cloth round two fingers, dip it in the detergent then start a circular motion on the dirty mark. Wipe off with paper towels. MOST IMPORTANT.......WEAR RUBBER GLOVES or this stuff will take your skin off.
 

thin shell

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Use 100% cotton rags. Old cotton shirts are good. Don't use anything with any polyester in it because it can scratch the surface. You can also use microfiber cloths made for washing and waxing cars. You are basically cleaning a painted surface but one that is much tougher.
 
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