Help Wanted, New Snare Drum Project (Fade + Gloss Coat)

1988fxlr

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Hey guys sorry for the absence, I’ve been taking a bit longer sanding down the shell. It’s starting to look a lot better and the burn mark is also fading. The shell thickness seems to be okay.
I’ve been watching videos about staining wood and I noticed a lot of people sanding up to 220. Even the instructions for the stain I wanted said 220. It’s too late for 220 grit, but will the stain still hold if I smooth out with 400 grit?

Stains work by filling in the pores of the wood, so in general when you apply it after sanding to higher grits it will appear lighter than it would have otherwise. You can also use wood dye which actually penetrates the wood or a gel stain which is more of a surface treatment
 

Bojangles1594

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Well, I finally stained the shell but i can't say I'm excited about the results.

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Apparently, birch gets real blotchy when staining. As you can see, there are parts of the shell that either absorbed too much or none at all. I don't know if this is just because of the birch or if I sanded the shell incorrectly.

Initially, I was gonna add this Wood Grain Enhancer after I stained the shell:

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But now I want to add some dye to try and add more color. Is this a reasonable solution? I couldn't find anything about using stain and a dye together. Feel like they'd interfere with each other. I wanted to avoid spraying any paint on, but would if necessary. I'd still like to use the grain enhancer; I think the black grain would look cool with a fade.

I'm real interested to hear what you guys think!
Thanks in advance!
 

Bojangles1594

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I decided not to use the grain enhance. I am thinking about using a spray gun to add dye and colorize the drum shell.
 

1988fxlr

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What kind of stain did you use and how long did you let it soak in? Have you tried staining it again to build color?
 

Bojangles1594

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What kind of stain did you use and how long did you let it soak in? Have you tried staining it again to build color?
I used a Varathane oil-based wood stain. Following instructions, I applied a layer for 3 minutes then wiped. I sanded at 400 between layers and did 4 layers of each color. Not much color was added after the 2nd layer though.

I think my mistake was adding too much stain on birch wood. The "spongy" areas of the wood soaked up more stain than the rest of the shell. I also didn't use shellac or wood conditioner to prevent the blotching. I joined a couple of woodworking forums to see what I can do to help and prevent another blotchy stain. I will post more when I get the colors right.

Thanks again everyone for the help!
 

JazzDrumGuy

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There is a pre-stain wood conditioner you need to use on softer and/or lighter woods like maple & birch to let the wood grain soak in the stain evenly. Btw, I don't like the coverage of Varathane. I prefer Minwax stain. Also, you must mix it very well to break the pigment that has settled to the bottom. Not shake it, but stir. Use a chopstick or flat screwdriver. Maybe 5 minutes or so. I put a heavy even coat on using a blue shop paper towel, wait 5 min, then slowly wipe it off. Let dry and repeat 2-3X. I don't sand between coats of stain. At this stage, you should sand the shell and restart, although it does look cool. What color stain was that?
 

esooy

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I think the majority of the problem is because the wood already had a finish on it. It's really hard to get a clean slate no matter how much you sand that one veneer layer.
 

Bojangles1594

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There is a pre-stain wood conditioner you need to use on softer and/or lighter woods like maple & birch to let the wood grain soak in the stain evenly. Btw, I don't like the coverage of Varathane. I prefer Minwax stain. Also, you must mix it very well to break the pigment that has settled to the bottom. Not shake it, but stir. Use a chopstick or flat screwdriver. Maybe 5 minutes or so. I put a heavy even coat on using a blue shop paper towel, wait 5 min, then slowly wipe it off. Let dry and repeat 2-3X. I don't sand between coats of stain. At this stage, you should sand the shell and restart, although it does look cool. What color stain was that?
Yeah basically the same process I used, except for the sanding between. I used Varathane's Worn Navy and Ebony wood stains. I had heard about conditioner , but was told that I didn’t need it since I had sanded to 400 and “burnished” the grain. But obviously I should’ve used the conditioner haha.

I was gonna try removing the stain with acetone as much as possible, to avoid further sanding the veneer.

I really want to use a navy dye instead because I want color evenness AND richness.

Definitely doesn’t look terrible, but not what I wanted.
 

1988fxlr

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Yeah basically the same process I used, except for the sanding between. I used Varathane's Worn Navy and Ebony wood stains. I had heard about conditioner , but was told that I didn’t need it since I had sanded to 400 and “burnished” the grain. But obviously I should’ve used the conditioner haha.

I was gonna try removing the stain with acetone as much as possible, to avoid further sanding the veneer.

I really want to use a navy dye instead because I want color evenness AND richness.

Definitely doesn’t look terrible, but not what I wanted.
If you want an even translucent blue maybe consider the reranch spray. If you go that route you will have to spray lacquer over so research that a bit. Be careful of humidity and allow a long cure time. Theres a lot of finishing info to be had browsing tdpri (a telecaster forum).
 

Fat Drummer

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400 grit sanding on a hardwood veneer does not help either. The veneer so easily will burnish and it will never take stain evenly at that point regardless of products like conditioner.

You could open sand it again but not knowing the thickness and shape of the veneer that's tough to call. Or you could apply a fresh veneer over it and take another swing!
 

Bojangles1594

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So I was finally able to get a deeper color onto the snare!
Since I knew the veneer was too thin to hold anymore stain, I mixed the stain with an oil-based matte polyurethane.
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This helped the color stick to the surface of the shell.
Here are some before and after pictures:
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The color is still blotchy, but the coverage looks a lot better. Plus, the shell still feels really smooth.
The next step is to fade the black into blue a little better then add a clear gloss coat.

Let me know what y'all think!
 


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