1987 Gretsch Blackhawks spent 20 years in a barn...

c0r1n

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This was my first real kit. It's been in my brother's barn for at least 20 years. He recently brought it to me and I'm planning to refurb it. Attached is the before picture and a couple after a basic cleaning up. It's definitely going to be a job. They started out black and my dad "refinished" them in a creamy white years later, but he didn't mask anything hence the visible drips. I actually had removed half the hardware and stored it, so those lugs and bolts are like new, but the ones that lived in the barn... not so much. They managed to keep the drums somewhat round though.
 

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c0r1n

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any advice on what sandpaper to use on the shells? 220? 320?
 

AaronLatos

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Grits:
50-80 remove material
100-180 smooth and level
220 is final sanding before finishing

Any higher will not remove much wood, and is primarily for leveling clearcoat or for "leveling the wood" so it accepts slightly less stain.

I'd start with 150ish and lightly sand to get the glue off, level the wood. If you're going to wrap, that's good enough (and will make the drum take glue well). If you're going to do a clearcoat or painted finish, I'd follow with 220. I can't see what wood they're made of but suspect luan with an open grain structure. Getting smooth paint or clear on top of that will require a grain filler (which you apply and then sand again).
 

AaronLatos

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For the hardware: get a tub and a couple big bottles of the blue Dawn dish soap. Lay it all in and cover it. Thin the dawn if needed, but at most 1:1 soap/water. Give it 48 hours and then scrub out with a toothbrush, making sure to get water out of the bass drum hoops (or better yet, just clean those manually). Rinse really well.
 

c0r1n

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Thanks. I cleaned them with a mix of dawn and white vinegar diluted with water, and a brillo pad on the hardware to get the rust off. Worked really well. The wood is pretty rough and there is some slight water damage, though the seams haven't separated. My thought is to paint the interiors with a mildew resistant paint and then wrap.

I'm pretty surprised at how well it's going with the hardware. The main issue so far is that I was using these as a parts kit for a while before they were packed away so half the lugs are without swivel nuts. Also, the floor tom is missing, so I'll have to find a replacement for that to complete the kit.

It's funny, even the crappiest drums today are super clean and smooth shells. These look like what they are: a $299 kit from Sears.
 

c0r1n

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I sanded the shells today. They are smooth now but the I think the drips are too deep to sand out without destroying the wood plies. So I'm definitely doing something to the interior of the shells. I'm leaning toward a white or grey stain for now. Also started on the lugs. They are pitted but shining up pretty well. The attached image is a dirty one, a cleaned one, and the final product after working over with a brillo pad.

The whole point of this project is to see how much I can do without spending any real money, so I'm encouraged that most of the hardware is recovering with a little elbow grease.
 

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c0r1n

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started painting the interiors tonight. First coat almost completely absorbed!
 

c0r1n

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Interiors are looking good. Not worried about the edges getting painted as I plan to have them redone later.
 

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c0r1n

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Bought a Pearl shell to use as a floor tom and my existing lugs fit, luckily.
 

studrum

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Hey, some Blackhawk single drums just showed up on Reverb, probably a kit getting split up (ugh!), but if your FT is there... Could be cool.
 

K.O.

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c0r1n said:
Bought a Pearl shell to use as a floor tom and my existing lugs fit, luckily.
Blackhawk Drums of that time frame were imported by Gretsch and most likely made by Pearl like other "stencil" drums of the era, which is probably why the lugs will fit.
 

audiochurch

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i flipped a gretsch nighthawk kit a few years ago. same thing?

your kit looks great so far. i love saving drums from the dead, only to give them a new life.
 

c0r1n

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I got distracted by some ludwigs, but I'm coming back around to this one.
 

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