High gloss finish

natchomamma

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Hey guys. New to the forum.

Thinking of building a new kit. I'd like to do a cherry to black finish. I'll probably use trans tint dyes.

I need suggestions on how to get a high gloss mirror or semi mirror finish. Ive built a set in the past and my green sparkle kit is featured on the guerrilla drumming website. On that kit I used an automotive 2 part urethane. I really don't want to go that route again. It was a PITA and time consuming.

What are people doing to get that high gloss finish (like it has a coat of water on the drum)? Is there an easier way to do it?
 

Beefsurgeon

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Gloss over sparkle = a whole lot of sanding. Taking sparkle out of the equation means you're starting with a more even surface and potentially less work. That said, a sparkle finish is so bright that it hides many imperfections. Black is a totally different story--every tiny little scratch will be visible. If you want a perfect result, you will want to exercise patience and not skip sanding stages.

I used to work for a custom shop that was highly regarded for super-flat and shiny gloss finishes. I believe that we used a urethane base coat with a polyester top, but I do not recall exactly which products. Our basic process for a finish like this was as follows:

Sand raw shells to 150 or 220
Apply stain and base coat
Sand base coat with 220 and 400
Apply top coat
Sand top coat with 600, 800, 1200, then 1500 & 3000 Trizact
Two stages of buffing

Note that the above sanding stages were developed over time for our equipment and the urethane/poly that we used, so my intent is simply to provide an example rather than tell you exactly how to do it. The basic idea with each sanding process is that you do all the work with the coarsest grit. Each successively finer grit is just taking out the scratches from the previous grit.

Sounds easy, right?
 

Fat Drummer

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Is there an easier way to do it?
Nope, sorry the absolute hardest of all finishes to do is a deep, high gloss black. Listen to Beefsurgeon for the steps.

Oh, and welcome aboard, were glad your here. I hope you can come up with a nice finish, just be prepared to go slow, take your time and have you considered a wrap if going glossy black?
 

natchomamma

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Well shucks... Sounds like I'm in for some work or just keep it simple with something like Tung oil.


I've never ben a huge fan of wrap
 

natchomamma

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Quilted Bubinga veneer does look sexy too. I did a quilted maple snare on my first kit. Looks awesome, but it was a ton of work.

 

Fat Drummer

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Absolutely it does, and with the exotics a nice satin finish is often more striking even!

Here is a post I made back in 2017 on the board regrading the exact same request for a deep black gloss finish...

"I prefer hand rubbed finishes so I do not consider myself a spray finish expert by any means. Ive done it for years and have always been pleased with the results, but just because I do it a certain way does not mean it's the best or even right way.

As for me, I sand down to 600 (more than enough on a solid finish, smooth wood shell). The key in sanding is more in the concept of not skipping any grit steps as opposed to how fine a grit you use last. For example, If you go from 120X and jump to 600X, the 600 will simply not be able to remove the abrasion marks from the 120X! I suggest starting at 100 on a nice new factory shell and going 100, 120, 180, 220, 300 and 400 (I prefer Garnet paper for wood but again, it's a preference) and use a sanding block or sanding sponge as opposed to a lot of flat palm sanding as your hand is just not flat! remember, no need for a lot of elbow grease in the shells your doing as they are already nice and smooth, this is about prepping the shell for the finish.

I then use a nice pre-cat sanding sealer for my base coat and will occasionally even tint that with my final color, though I do not in black. I will do two coats of sealer with 400 block sanding between each coats. Then I grab my tinted top coat, I prefer Gemini high solids pre- cat top coat and I will lay two nice even coats. If I am looking for a nice deep, piano type finish, I will switch to the same product in clear and shoot 2 to 3 coats with 400 sanding sponge between each but will not sand the last clear coat. After letting it cure for a few days, I will buff that coat to the final high gloss finish.

This sounds like a ton of work, but if your set up for it, their is only about one and a half hours of actual work per drum, the rest of the time is just drying. Now, all of that said... I wish you all the luck in the world if your shooting a deep piano black. By far the most unforgiving color in the world to tackle. It can absolutely be done at home and done well, just be patient and use the right material.

Now let someone else tell you the best way to do it, this is just my way. good luck and post lots of pictures!"

As I mentioned, I prefer a hand rubbed finish for many reasons though I have sprayed for decades when necessary. But never underestimate a nice slow build hand finish, this is nothing but poly mixed with a touch of tung oil and rubbed on with a rag and lightly sanded between each of the 10 light coats. Then a final buff and it looks very nice and deep. It's just that black will show every... no, make that EVERY problem but it can be done.

Keep us posted with what you decide to do and remember... without pictures, it didn't happen!

Ward

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Beefsurgeon

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Is a satin stain fairly straightforward?
Generally speaking, yes. It's worth noting that while high-gloss uses the techniques of automotive finishing, satin stains are usually more akin to furniture finishing (just with a wider color palette).

We would spray a water-based poly for our satin finishes, and it was pretty simple. Here are the basic steps:

Sand raw shells with 150 and 220
Apply stain and base coat
Sand base coat 600 (Using sanding sponge or soft velcro pad, not a hard block. You're just trying to take the nibs off and scuff the surface so that the top coat will adhere).
Apply top coat

That's it! Finishing a drumkit with a satin stain is a fairly easy weekend project. You don't need a ton of equipment, and you can easily experiment on scrap wood before committing to actual drums.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I agree, and favor satin poly for this reason. I do 150 and 220 on bare shells, then 3 coats of stain on a rag, then 3 coats of poly by hand (again rag), then 400, then 3 more coats, then 400, then a final coat.......
 

natchomamma

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Thanks for the tips guys. Here are my drums I did about 10 years ago. I used an automotive catalyzed urethane clear. The base coat is black on the green kit. Then sprayed with the automotive clear with metal flake and then just clear.

I've decided to do a snare and ordered the quilted Bubinga and all the other goodies. I'll just have to decide how to clear it. I may just go back to the automotive clear. I can get a pretty good build up with just 2 coats and an HVLP gun.
 

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GeeDeeEmm

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Thanks for the tips guys. Here are my drums I did about 10 years ago. I used an automotive catalyzed urethane clear. The base coat is black on the green kit. Then sprayed with the automotive clear with metal flake and then just clear.

I've decided to do a snare and ordered the quilted Bubinga and all the other goodies. I'll just have to decide how to clear it. I may just go back to the automotive clear. I can get a pretty good build up with just 2 coats and an HVLP gun.
Oh boy! Those drums are beautiful. And you are asking for advice? You should be giving advice.

GeeDeeEmm
 

natchomamma

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Oh boy! Those drums are beautiful. And you are asking for advice? You should be giving advice.

GeeDeeEmm
WOW, thanks for the compliment!
I was just hoping to find an easier way to achieve the same results from the more experienced drum builders.
 

natchomamma

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Thought I would share the current project. 10 Ply maple snare with a quilted Bubinga Veneer. So far it coming together nicely. I ended up going with the catalyzed automotive clear. I'll have to let it completely dry before I start adding hardware.

This is the first time I cut my own bearing edges. Way easier than I thought it would be.
 

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JazzDrumGuy

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I am finishing a vintage Rogers Powertone tribute and switched from Minwax poly to Varethayne full gloss as Home Depot no longer carries Minwax in stores.

I am very impressed so far. Hand applying with a foam brush and it is nice and thin and streaks are barely there.......with a real nice wet looking finish.
 

natchomamma

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All Done!! This really came out nice and sounds fantastic. Dicast hoops, tube lugs, DW Mag strainer. all in black nickel finish.

If anyone is interested this is the clear I used. My can was over 5 years old and still good. It was stored in my house which I'm sure helps. Recently, I was watching a random youtube video that was a behind the scenes @ DW and they had this same brand clear in the background of DW's paint booth.

https://tcpglobal.com/collections/clear-coats-cus/products/kus-kit-kc210-212-qt

Paint gun used
https://www.harborfreight.com/4-oz-hvlp-touch-up-air-spray-gun-61473.html
 

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GeeDeeEmm

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You can't argue with results like that, can you? That snare finish is beautiful, and the deep sheen is exactly the kind of finish I like on wood projects.

And, thank for adding the links to the 2X Speed paint combo, too. Bookmarked for my next project.

I've had that exact HF paint gun sitting new in the box for a couple of years now and still haven't used it. Looks like I'll be employing it on my next project - whatever that will be!

GeeDeeEmm
 


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