Maple hoops on Walnut George H. Way drums

Drumbumcrumb

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Just finished the hoops for these babies and had to share the results. I’ve always loved that natural maple hoops on natural walnut drums look, so I had to do it. The 12” tom is so light now you could juggle three of them. It’s insanely light, I’ll have to weigh it just to see... 4 coats of Danish oil and 3 coats of wipe on satin poly on the hoops, then buffed on some paste wax. Worldmax claws.

The drums sound awesome with the wood hoops! I’ve never had wood hoops, and they’re a blast to play - the sound is just all drum. These drums already had a very cool and unique sound, and the Way hoops are very much like die-cast in their stiffness and thickness so light maple vintage hoops are as different as you can get. (It wasn’t easy to ‘put away’ the Way hoops, they’re a helluva hoop) Not to worry, they sound different but still awesome. More open, more drum/less attack which is sound I enjoy.

I literally couldn’t improve any one aspect of these if I had a magic wand (with metal or wood hoops). Both toms, bass drum, snare - there is no weak link, or “this set would be perfect if only...” The bass is like a massive subwoofer with a thin unported reso, I dare say the ultimate jazz(ish) bass drum (Toms are resonant, clean, deep, and as dynamic as can be. Snare is breath-y and sensitive, walnutty dark, fat. Anyways, on to the drum porn!

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pwc1141

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Like it !! My Mahogany/Walnut kit has Maple hoops too but with a different attachment system.....
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Fat Drummer

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Those look GREAT, and they sound round and fat even in the photos! Nice job on the hoop finish... really matches the satin finish n the shells as well. 2 thumbs up!
 

dustjacket

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Beautiful and classy. I've been eyeing George Way kits for a bit now.
Are you happy with the Moden Vintage heads? Are they thin or medium?
 

JimmySticks

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I do love the way George H Way drums sound. I was so floored by a Memphis Drum Shop video I watched that features them, I actually started a thread about them a few weeks back.

I really love the look of those wooden hoops myself, and you did a super nice job on the finish, but personally, I would really have a hard time messing with the sound of those drums. They sound so good right out of the box. Those Way hoops are a big part of that great sound, and a big part of why they cost so much to. I could see why you had a hard time putting them away.

Good luck!
 

D. B. Cooper

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Excellent work! I wish we could hear them.
Do you play mostly jazz?

4 coats of Danish oil and 3 coats of wipe on satin poly on the hoops, then buffed on some paste wax. Worldmax claws.
So, you just brushed on the oil? Any sanding? What kind of poly and wax? I'm about to refinish some drums and am trying to find the best options for what to use.
I was thinking a dark stain and then polyurethane. But your method on those hoops sound great to me for my shells.
 

JimmySticks

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Excellent work! I wish we could hear them.
Do you play mostly jazz?
I'd love to hear them as well, I'm intrigued, but my guess is these light wooden hoops really opened up the sound on these drums, more like a light triple flange hoop would sound. The original hoops seem to give these drums that tight, focused Gretsch like sound, which admittedly, I like.
 

Drumbumcrumb

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Beautiful and classy. I've been eyeing George Way kits for a bit now.
Are you happy with the Moden Vintage heads? Are they thin or medium?
I LOVE MV heads, I use medium on the toms, and a thin on bass drum reso. The bass batter is an unbranded PS3 type clear head, the bass drum is just sounding so good I didn’t even mess with that. If I’m being honest, I’d probably give a very slight edge to Evans Calftones for a more skin like sound and feel. But the MV are very much in that ballpark, lots of drum sound with not so much attack. And sometimes I think the MV are just right, sound and looks-wise. Dark brown woods and ivory heads...what’s not to love?
 

Drumbumcrumb

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Excellent work! I wish we could hear them.
Do you play mostly jazz?



So, you just brushed on the oil? Any sanding? What kind of poly and wax? I'm about to refinish some drums and am trying to find the best options for what to use.
I was thinking a dark stain and then polyurethane. But your method on those hoops sound great to me for my shells.
I do play a lot of jazz, and groove type stuff that sounds good on a jazzy kit. So the big, wide open bass drum serves me well, and I can take the toms up or down as needed.


You really can’t go wrong with a wipe on finish if you just take your time. I think every traditional poly project I ever did, I ended up cursing the dust and crap and working too hard to get a flawless finish. With wipe-on, it dries so fast that there’a no time for dust to accumulate. It may take more time to wipe on extra coats, but no brush marks, no dust, no nothin’.

I used Watco Danish oil (I used the natural/untinted version, but it also comes in a walnut/darker version) and Minwax satin wipe on poly. If you wanna go fancier, Waterlox is nice stuff too and wipes on. Pricey and harder to come by though. You can also make a nice home brew oil/varnish mix, there’s any number of recipes out there.

The first 2 coats I wet sanded with the Danish oil, 1000 grit. Just lightly working it in, and then giving the whole thing a wipe with an oil charged rag or paper towel. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and wipe off the excess with a dry rag/towel. Don’t be tempted to leave the excess! Wipe it well. I gave each coat 24 hours dry time. The last 2 coats I just buffed the hoops with a 0000 steel wool then applied the oil. Same deal, get it good and oily, let it sit 20 minutes, wipe well. After the second coat, you start to build up the finish and get a nice sheen and glow. After the final oil coat, I let them dry/cure for 72 hours before applying poly.

The poly I wiped on in thin coats so there was nothing to “fix” between coats. You can use a fine sandpaper between coats if you need/want to, I just kept the coats thin and used the 0000 steel wool between coats. It’s good stuff - it dries very fast, so no dust and short time between coats. And, ready to use in 24 hours!
 

D. B. Cooper

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I do play a lot of jazz, and groove type stuff that sounds good on a jazzy kit. So the big, wide open bass drum serves me well, and I can take the toms up or down as needed.


You really can’t go wrong with a wipe on finish if you just take your time. I think every traditional poly project I ever did, I ended up cursing the dust and crap and working too hard to get a flawless finish. With wipe-on, it dries so fast that there’a no time for dust to accumulate. It may take more time to wipe on extra coats, but no brush marks, no dust, no nothin’.

I used Watco Danish oil (I used the natural/untinted version, but it also comes in a walnut/darker version) and Minwax satin wipe on poly. If you wanna go fancier, Waterlox is nice stuff too and wipes on. Pricey and harder to come by though. You can also make a nice home brew oil/varnish mix, there’s any number of recipes out there.

The first 2 coats I wet sanded with the Danish oil, 1000 grit. Just lightly working it in, and then giving the whole thing a wipe with an oil charged rag or paper towel. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and wipe off the excess with a dry rag/towel. Don’t be tempted to leave the excess! Wipe it well. I gave each coat 24 hours dry time. The last 2 coats I just buffed the hoops with a 0000 steel wool then applied the oil. Same deal, get it good and oily, let it sit 20 minutes, wipe well. After the second coat, you start to build up the finish and get a nice sheen and glow. After the final oil coat, I let them dry/cure for 72 hours before applying poly.

The poly I wiped on in thin coats so there was nothing to “fix” between coats. You can use a fine sandpaper between coats if you need/want to, I just kept the coats thin and used the 0000 steel wool between coats. It’s good stuff - it dries very fast, so no dust and short time between coats. And, ready to use in 24 hours!
Wow. Thanks for sharing that! I'm going to try your exact methods on my Slingerland shells, next week. Mahogany outer ply. Should I seal/fill the outer ply for a better finish since mahogany is so porous?
 

Drumbumcrumb

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I do love the way George H Way drums sound. I was so floored by a Memphis Drum Shop video I watched that features them, I actually started a thread about them a few weeks back.

I really love the look of those wooden hoops myself, and you did a super nice job on the finish, but personally, I would really have a hard time messing with the sound of those drums. They sound so good right out of the box. Those Way hoops are a big part of that great sound, and a big part of why they cost so much to. I could see why you had a hard time putting them away.

Good luck!
Yup, I fell for them on video too... Carter McLean, Memphis, DCP...
One of the videos that really caught my attention - DCP demo’ed a Noble and Cooley Walnut, a Star Walnut, and these. So right off the bat, these are being compared to drums that cost quite a bit more - 2 or 3x ish more. The kicker was the guy demoing being blown away by the Way drums, how different they were, how unique a sound, etc. I thought that was pretty impressive that among those competitors, the Way drums were far and away the more distinct sound.

They’re not cheap by any means, but I think you get a helluva lot of drum for the money. I’d go so far as to say I doubt there’s a better sound/looks to money ratio out there. Premium woods, premium build, re-rings, Way hoops, T-rods... for under $2k. Theres 2 or 3 sets on Reverb for $1200 (not for long though), that’s stealing them. The snare drums are a great value - copper, bronze, steam bent maple all for around $600? Who else is doing that? You can get the Studio snare for $370 @ Lonestar! The snares are serious business.
 

Drumbumcrumb

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Wow. Thanks for sharing that! I'm going to try your exact methods on my Slingerland shells, next week. Mahogany outer ply. Should I seal/fill the outer ply for a better finish since mahogany is so porous?
Of course, no problem.
I wouldn’t fill, but I would do the wet sanding with the oil. That makes a kind of slurry of oil and wood dust that fills in a lot of the pores and makes for a smoother finish. You might even start with a 500 grit or so wet sand on the first coat, for more wood dust in the slurry. (It may be obvious, but make sure you’re using sandpaper made for wet sanding. Use a GOOD quality paper that won’t shed particles into your pores!). But pores are cool, I wouldn’t go crazy with it and try to outright eliminate them. Let the natural qualities of the wood show their stuff.

Also, for the end steps, steel wool can be a ba$tard on porous woods and can get into all the nooks and crannies as it sheds. It’s fine for maple, but for mahogany (or oak) I’d use a finishing pad instead. Looks like a fibery sponge, can be had at any paint department. It’s just to knock down any stray dust, or specks, and give the slightest abrasion for the next coat to stick to.

I don’t know what you’ve done for prep, but for wood that’s going to be oiled I don’t like to go past 320 grit beforehand. If you sand it too smooth before applying, the oil won’t absorb into the wood as much. That’s okay if that’s what you’re trying to achieve. But if you want good penetration (and who doesn’t?) better to stick to 320 or less for prep imho.

If you end up with any questions along the way, reach out and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’m no finish guru, but I do a lot of woodworking and finishing so I’ve learned a thing or two.
 

Drumbumcrumb

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I'd love to hear them as well, I'm intrigued, but my guess is these light wooden hoops really opened up the sound on these drums, more like a light triple flange hoop would sound. The original hoops seem to give these drums that tight, focused Gretsch like sound, which admittedly, I like.
This is precisely right, the Way hoops give a very Gretschy sound - very focused and entirely lacking in dissonance. They really sound great, like a tom sound that’s been engineered to sound PERFECT. The wood hoops opened them up for sure, but they still are quite ‘clean’. I did put a small Trutone on each tom to get back the focus and make the 12” tom play nice with the snare. With the Way hoops, you’d never need any dampening and I didn’t get much snare buzz at all from the 12”.

I’m sure I’ll bounce back and forth, probably in a few months I’ll throw the Way hoops back on. Makes for 2 cool sounds. I thoroughly enjoy tweaking and tuning and swapping and such maybe as much as playing, so it’s all good times!
 

JimmySticks

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This is precisely right, the Way hoops give a very Gretschy sound - very focused and entirely lacking in dissonance. They really sound great, like a tom sound that’s been engineered to sound PERFECT. The wood hoops opened them up for sure, but they still are quite ‘clean’. I did put a small Trutone on each tom to get back the focus and make the 12” tom play nice with the snare. With the Way hoops, you’d never need any dampening and I didn’t get much snare buzz at all from the 12”.

I’m sure I’ll bounce back and forth, probably in a few months I’ll throw the Way hoops back on. Makes for 2 cool sounds. I thoroughly enjoy tweaking and tuning and swapping and such maybe as much as playing, so it’s all good times!
Very cool!

You are obviously thrilled with this mod, and that is great. And the best thing about it is you can switch those hoops up and basically have 2 different great sounding drum kits!

Enjoy them!
 

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