Sanding and re-lauquering

AgDrumma07

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
4,271
Reaction score
91
Location
Spring, TX
Anybody done this? I have an 8x14 Superstar mahogany shell that I got bearing edges cut on and I want to sand it down, restain and lacquer it. Is this a DIY job and should a professional do it?
 

EvEnStEvEn

~Lounge Lizard~
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
18,898
Reaction score
4,725
Location
Oklur Homer
It's not too difficult to do yourself....Disclaimer: I'm only a hobbyist at this!

Start by hand sanding with 100 grit, once you've gone completely around the shell then progressively switch to finer grit sandpaper with each hand-sanding session. Wiping off the dust after each pass with mineral spirits or thinner on a clean lint-free rag.

Once you've sanded the shell smooth like a babies behind, wipe the shell clean with thinner and slightly dilute some Minwax polyurethane with mineral spirits and begin brushing on a thin, even coat.
Always use a good clean brush with each coat.
Avoid putting too much poly on at once or you'll have drips.
Work in a well lit area so you can spot any grain areas you've missed.

After your first initial coat, let dry for 12 hours, sand lightly, then do another thin coat.

Repeat these steps until you're satisfied with the depth and coverage of the polycoats.
Sand lightly after each coat has dried. Then apply another coat.
I usually do about 5 initial coats and then a sixth final coat without sanding first.
But you can apply as many coats as you like (if you want a bartop gloss)

Some like to spray on the topcoats, I prefer using a brush.
Gloss or satin finish polyurethane, whichever you prefer.
Then some prefer to use tung oil and buff.
There are plenty of wood refinishing choices for mahogany.
[attachment=1]Slingy Concert.jpg[/attachment] View attachment 15833

Any DIY furniture refinishing website will give you plenty of tips, I'm simply relating how I've done my drums.
BTW - Who did your bearing edge work?
 

AgDrumma07

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
4,271
Reaction score
91
Location
Spring, TX
EvEnStEvEn said:
It's not too difficult to do yourself....Disclaimer: I'm only a hobbyist at this!

Start by hand sanding with 100 grit, once you've gone completely around the shell then progressively switch to finer grit sandpaper with each hand-sanding session. Wiping off the dust after each pass with mineral spirits or thinner on a clean lint-free rag.

Once you've sanded the shell smooth like a babies behind, wipe the shell clean with thinner and slightly dilute some Minwax polyurethane with mineral spirits and begin brushing on a thin, even coat.
Always use a good clean brush with each coat.
Avoid putting too much poly on at once or you'll have drips.
Work in a well lit area so you can spot any grain areas you've missed.

After your first initial coat, let dry for 12 hours, sand lightly, then do another thin coat.

Repeat these steps until you're satisfied with the depth and coverage of the polycoats.
Sand lightly after each coat has dried. Then apply another coat.
I usually do about 5 initial coats and then a sixth final coat without sanding first.
But you can apply as many coats as you like (if you want a bartop gloss)

Some like to spray on the topcoats, I prefer using a brush.
Gloss or satin finish polyurethane, whichever you prefer.
Then some prefer to use tung oil and buff.
There are plenty of wood refinishing choices for mahogany.
[attachment=1]Slingy Concert.jpg[/attachment][attachment=0]Slingy DCK.jpg[/attachment]

Any DIY furniture refinishing website will give you plenty of tips, I'm simply relating how I've done my drums.
BTW - Who did your bearing edge work?



Thanks for the tips. I'm still skeptical about this.

John Riolo did my edges. They are gorgeous! I'll post pics after I get the shell refinished. John has very reasonable prices for his work too.
 

ed427vette

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
171
Reaction score
1
Location
Long Island NY
You can defininately DIY!!
Here is a pic of my 6x9 double headed tom tom I made for my Mahogany Tama Superstar kit (since Tama didn't make one in that size I had to do it myself by using an Eames shell).

Its late right now so I will tell you how I did mine tomorrow but its not too bad it you take your time. I'm not a professional so I can only tell you what I did. I'm sure there are better ways or better products that what I did but it came out alright.
I hope I can figure out how to do pics........
6x9a.jpg
6x9b.jpg
 

AgDrumma07

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
4,271
Reaction score
91
Location
Spring, TX
ed427vette said:
You can defininately DIY!!
Here is a pic of my 6x9 double headed tom tom I made for my Mahogany Tama Superstar kit (since Tama didn't make one in that size I had to do it myself by using an Eames shell).

Its late right now so I will tell you how I did mine tomorrow but its not too bad it you take your time. I'm not a professional so I can only tell you what I did. I'm sure there are better ways or better products that what I did but it came out alright.
I hope I can figure out how to do pics........

PM sent
 

2000dan2000

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
666
Location
Rocky Mountain High
Agree with Steven....can be done although it's a bit of work depending on shell size. Everything Steven said about how to do it is right on from what I've found. I second using brush on poly instead of the rattle can, much better results, and I cant stress enough how important it is to get a GOOD quality brush to this with. It'll save you loads of sanding time when you don't have to sand flat all the poly inconsistencies that cheap brushes can give you.
I refinished this entire set: took quite a while!! stripped off the old lacquer finish, lightly sanded (to save some of the original red stain color), re-stained, and threw 3-4 light coats of poly on.
They turned out pretty nice, not professional mind you but compared to the way they looked before, loads better.
 

Coelacanth

DFO Star
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
11,138
Reaction score
39
Location
Alberta, Canada
If you're looking for a deep, glossy, mirror-shine like ed427vette's beautiful shell, this will involve a lot more than brushing/spraying on clearcoats. In fact, this last part of the job is the most time-consuming. It's the same process autobody finishers use, basically. (Judging by Ed's forum name and his beautiful shell, I'm guessing he knows this already.) :lol:

After brushing or spraying on several coats of clear, you're left with a really shiny surface that has lots of ridges & striations (when brushed on) or dimply texture, also called "orange peel" (when sprayed on). If you have an airbrush or HVLP spray gun, you may not have this problem because the paint is aerosolized to fine enough droplets not to result in an orange peel texture. If you use standard rattle cans, you will almost certainly get "orange peel".

You need to do wet-sanding to remove the orange peel/brush marks, beginning with 400 grit and working your way up to about 1500 grit, going from 400-600-800-1000-1500 for best results. Once you're done all this wet-sanding, you should have a consistent, hazy, milky surface. This is a good thing. The key is consistent. Ideally, you would do your sanding in a single direction, not in circles, and each time you change the sandpaper grit, sand perpendicular to the previous direction.

Once you've reached this smooth, consistent hazy surface, you apply rubbing compound and generous amounts of elbow grease. For this stage, you can use one of those electric buffers, it doesn't matter if the direction is circular at this point. Now you'll see that deep, glossy mirror shine coming out. Repeat the process with a good polish, then wait at least 2 weeks for the paint to cure before applying the automotive wax of your choice.

EDIT: If you're looking for that satiny wood finish instead of a deep, glassy-smooth gloss, you don't need to do any of the above. :)
 

2000dan2000

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
666
Location
Rocky Mountain High
Coelacanth said:
If you're looking for a deep, glossy, mirror-shine like ed427vette's beautiful shell, this will involve a lot more than brushing/spraying on clearcoats. In fact, this last part of the job is the most time-consuming. It's the same process autobody finishers use, basically. (Judging by Ed's forum name and his beautiful shell, I'm guessing he knows this already.) :lol:

After brushing or spraying on several coats of clear, you're left with a really shiny surface that has lots of ridges & striations (when brushed on) or dimply texture, also called "orange peel" (when sprayed on). If you have an airbrush or HVLP spray gun, you may not have this problem because the paint is aerosolized to fine enough droplets not to result in an orange peel texture. If you use standard rattle cans, you will almost certainly get "orange peel".

You need to do wet-sanding to remove the orange peel/brush marks, beginning with 400 grit and working your way up to about 1500 grit, going from 400-600-800-1000-1500 for best results. Once you're done all this wet-sanding, you should have a consistent, hazy, milky surface. This is a good thing. The key is consistent. Ideally, you would do your sanding in a single direction, not in circles, and each time you change the sandpaper grit, sand perpendicular to the previous direction.

Once you've reached this smooth, consistent hazy surface, you apply rubbing compound and generous amounts of elbow grease. For this stage, you can use one of those electric buffers, it doesn't matter if the direction is circular at this point. Now you'll see that deep, glossy mirror shine coming out. Repeat the process with a good polish, then wait at least 2 weeks for the paint to cure before applying the automotive wax of your choice.

EDIT: If you're looking for that satiny wood finish instead of a deep, glassy-smooth gloss, you don't need to do any of the above. :)

Hey thanks Fish! I might have disassemble all my shells and go through this final sanding/polishing step....mine definitely have the aforementioned "ridges & striations". Any specific rubbing compound you recommend?
ed427vette, that shell is simply stunning!!
 

Coelacanth

DFO Star
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
11,138
Reaction score
39
Location
Alberta, Canada
I've used the Turtle Wax brand that you can find at any automotive supply store in their auto waxes & polishes section. It comes in a paste in a small plastic tub, about 6" diameter and a couple inches deep. But any good brand like 3M or Meguiar's would do the same thing.


The thing to remember with rubbing compound is, you need some good coats of clear first; you're trying to get a consistently smooth surface in the clear layers; you don't want to rub down into the color layers if at all possible.
 

AgDrumma07

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
4,271
Reaction score
91
Location
Spring, TX
Coelacanth said:
I've used the Turtle Wax brand that you can find at any automotive supply store in their auto waxes & polishes section. It comes in a paste in a small plastic tub, about 6" diameter and a couple inches deep. But any good brand like 3M would do the same thing.


The thing to remember with rubbing compound is, you need some good coats of clear first; you're trying to get a consistently smooth surface in the clear layers; you don't want to rub down into the color layers if at all possible.

I use that stuff too...works great.
 

ed427vette

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
171
Reaction score
1
Location
Long Island NY
Hello Gentleman and thanks for the compliments.
First I want to apologize for the double post. Not sure why that happened…
Anyway, back to the wood finishing.

This might be long post.

There are several options you have. This drum took about 15 days to get to this point. For the drum picture above I used right off the shelf Minwax Polyurethane Clear over a mix of Antique walnut and Sedona Red. But I found other colors that Minwax makes that might work right out of the can without mixing that my local Home Depot didn’t have on hand. Mind you my Tamas are not all the same shade from the factory themselves anyway so I didn’t get too hung up on an exact match for any but its right in the middle as it should be. The shell I started with had a very poor wood finish on it and I sanded it with 320 right off the bat. I think anything harsher would not be necessary unless you had severe problems. I sanded it up to about 1000 wiping it down with a damp cloth fairly often. When done I wiped it down with a damp cloth with water. I was a little afraid to use any kind of Mineral Spirit on the wood as I was afraid it might soak in and cause a problem or reaction later down the line. When I was happy with the smoothness of the wood I laid down the first color coat after I knew the shell was dry and clean of all lint and foreign particles. I used a flat color of the Minwax, not the glossy color. I wanted the clear coat separate. After the first clear coat I checked for eveness. And sanded very lightly with 2000. Then laid down another light coat. These were down with a brush. After I was satisfied with the color I waited a day and then brushed on the clear. Not a heavy coat. I also didn’t worry about it being perfect as I knew I was going to sand out anyway. Still you want it to be even. Now here is were I noticed my first mistake. Normally with auto paints I’ve worked with you can pretty much polish out anything. Polys are not like that at all. I didn’t know that at the time so now I realized I will have a few extra steps. I am happy with the result but before I jump too far ahead I will go to the next step in order. After waiting a day or 2 I polished the first coat out starting with 1000 and going to 3600. I have micro polishing grits that go to 12000 and can get some that go to 20000. Also this was wet sanded just like you would on a car. Also just like Coelacanth said to do it. No circles. Straight in one direction. Wet sanding will give you a better surface and helps keep dust from building up which can scratch you surface while you are sanding. I basically repeated this step around 5 or 6 times, each time increasing the grit size going up to 12000. Micromesh makes the polishing kits. If your local hobby store doesn’t have them I’m sure you can find them online. I own a business building highly detailed small scale model cars and use the kits to polish out paint on them to a glassy finish so that’s were any experience I have comes from. And I have worked on real cars as well. The biggest drawback with the poly is that it does not fill in very well. It dries very thin and shrinks. That’s good and bad. Its good if your surface is very flat but some wood has dips and valleys. If this was lacquer I could have stopped right there and polished out to a nice shine. But Polys dry different then lacquers. Lacquers dry from the bottom up. Meaning, the more you polish the harder and dryer your finish is as you remove more and reveal the driest layer. Since this was Poly the last coat was sprayed on out of the can. You need to be careful with the cans as its easy to put too much on it one spot and get a run. So I did a fairly light last coat. If I didn’t like the final coat, I would have to do it again and repeat the last step. But I would have then broken out the airbrush to control the spray a little more. Now I have not buffed this shell yet and to be honest I do not know what the best product to use. Coelacanth has the correct advice also and that is how I will finish up but I need to see what the best polish to use is. I will try the Turtle wax and see what happens. I have polishes but I've never used them on this type of Poly. I have used 2 part Poly Automotive paints and polished those of course but I am not sure if this is the same type of product chemically even though it says its Poly. It doesn't smell the same.

If you want to use lacquer then I would approach it the same way. I have a set of teardrop Sonors that will get a lacquer job and I will be starting those in a few weeks. Right now I am doing a round badge Gretsch bass drum that I had sitting in my basement for over 20 years. Also with Poly (I started this project at the same time but this bass drum needs lots of work) I had NO idea these were worth anything. I bought it as a kick around practice set for 50 bucks. I gave away the tom-toms and floor tom to my friend!!! I’ll be calling him in a few weeks…

There is also another method I have not tried but its worth mentioning. I have a good friend who build exquisite custom guitars. Very high end pieces. His wood work is truly amazing. He said I should try going to a hobby store that sells RC cars as they have a 2 part water based epoxy. This will supposedly fill in and level and surface. I was told you can basically lay this epoxy on thick, sqweegy the excess off and it dries exceptionally well. Then put a light coat of lacquer on and your good to go. It basically saves steps and time. I never tried it but will on some scrap to see what happens. His guitars are amazing.

Anyway, that’s what I did. Its really is not too difficult. All you need to do is take your time. And you can always redo it and sand it back out if you don’t like it. Keep your work area clean from dust. Sand in one area and coat in a different area. I only did a few wood projects before this one. And the next project will come out better. I did my stairs in my home (and I am going to redo them after the Sonors)

If you are really unsure then buy a small cheap drum on ebay and mess around. Or even just get a piece of scrap wood. But you will find its not hard once you start.

Hope this helps,
Ed
 

SteveB

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
7,950
Reaction score
278
Location
South Hampton, NH
I agree with the added step of a polishing compound. One thing you never want to do is shake polyurethane..stir it and stir it very slowly with a paddle as if it were maple syrup by creating an S pattern through it. Otherwise you will just create bubbles. A quality brush makes all the difference like a Purdy made for oil finishes. A foam brush is okay also but toss it each coat and grab a fresh one. With poly you have to stretch it as far as you can to almost dry..like taffy. Just shy of bone dry is right..anything else will sag...especially with a cylinder like a drum.

With a good finish it should feel like glass and you should know you're there just from the sound of the paper scraping the surface. Once the pitch changes you're done at each level...just like restoring fine furniture. Also you shouldn't have to put any pressure on the paper at all, only as much as it takes to hold the paper on the drum with your hand.
 

elcid

drum czar
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
3,109
Reaction score
6
Location
Southern California...
2000dan2000 said:
They turned out pretty nice, not professional mind you but compared to the way they looked before, loads better.

That's one beautiful looking drum set, Sir! :notworthy: :occasion5:

Of all colors available to finish drums, "super-mahogany" sure does the trick for me every time: simply love it! :love6:

-elcid
 

elcid

drum czar
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
3,109
Reaction score
6
Location
Southern California...
ed427vette said:
You can defininately DIY!!
Here is a pic of my 6x9 double headed tom tom I made for my Mahogany Tama Superstar kit (since Tama didn't make one in that size I had to do it myself by using an Eames shell).

That's a super great idea--beautiful! :thumbright:

Sure wish we had 8" and 10" double-headed toms for the Superstar, super-mahogany kit! :( Would you care building 'em for me?... :wink: :D

-elcid
 

AgDrumma07

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
4,271
Reaction score
91
Location
Spring, TX
elcid said:
ed427vette said:
You can defininately DIY!!
Here is a pic of my 6x9 double headed tom tom I made for my Mahogany Tama Superstar kit (since Tama didn't make one in that size I had to do it myself by using an Eames shell).

That's a super great idea--beautiful! :thumbright:

Sure wish we had 8" and 10" double-headed toms for the Superstar, super-mahogany kit! :( Would you care building 'em for me?... :wink: :D

-elcid

All you have to do is cut some edges, drill some holes, and get hardware...and you're done! :)
 

elcid

drum czar
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
3,109
Reaction score
6
Location
Southern California...
AgDrumma07 said:
All you have to do is cut some edges, drill some holes, and get hardware...and you're done! :)


Brent...you're so right...forgot about having them 'lil toms! :oops:

Great idea, my friend; just need to find the right lugs for them...find someone to cut the bearing edges...and refinish them. Yipee!... :drunken:

-elcid
 

gryphon

?????!
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
197
Location
East Aurora, New York
Ed427vette, you really wrote up a good description!

I would only suggest the instead of polyurethane I long ago switched back to old fashioned spar varnish. I have built a fair amount of furniture, cabinets and a few boat interiors and found that the difficulty in rubbing out polyurethane makes spar varnish a preferable choice when you want a really fine finish.

Varnish rubs out much like lacquer with the benefit of being able to be applied with a foam brush, and it builds faster because of it's thicker viscosity. It is harder than lacquer, and unlike polyurethane you can easily make spot repairs in a varnish finish. Varnish also has the combination of an amber color and a refractive index that I find to highlight grain better than lacquer or polyurethane.

One other tip, when sanding, go at 45 degree angles to the circumference of the shell. This pattern minimizes the chance of ripples in the sanded surface.

Last, when rubbing out the finish with a power buffer, use a spray bottle of water to dampen the surface from time to time in order to prevent "burning" the finish with friction from the pad.

jim
 

EvEnStEvEn

~Lounge Lizard~
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
18,898
Reaction score
4,725
Location
Oklur Homer
gryphon said:
I would only suggest that instead of polyurethane I long ago switched back to old fashioned spar varnish.

I'll make a mental note of that, Jim.
I wasn't aware of the benefits of spar varnish over polyurethane even though I've used both on drums.

Almost 29 years ago I finished my old WFL set in several coats of Man O' War spar varnish.
Man, that was some tough stuff and the finished results were pretty darn impressive for a young neophyte refinisher like myself. I used foam brushes which were fairly new to the market if I recall.
I still own one of the drums and was admiring it's glossy sheen just the other day.

54189-01-200.jpg
 

ed427vette

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
171
Reaction score
1
Location
Long Island NY
gryphon said:
Ed427vette, you really wrote up a good description!

I would only suggest the instead of polyurethane I long ago switched back to old fashioned spar varnish. I have built a fair amount of furniture, cabinets and a few boat interiors and found that the difficulty in rubbing out polyurethane makes spar varnish a preferable choice when you want a really fine finish.

Varnish rubs out much like lacquer with the benefit of being able to be applied with a foam brush, and it builds faster because of it's thicker viscosity. It is harder than lacquer, and unlike polyurethane you can easily make spot repairs in a varnish finish. Varnish also has the combination of an amber color and a refractive index that I find to highlight grain better than lacquer or polyurethane.

One other tip, when sanding, go at 45 degree angles to the circumference of the shell. This pattern minimizes the chance of ripples in the sanded surface.

Last, when rubbing out the finish with a power buffer, use a spray bottle of water to dampen the surface from time to time in order to prevent "burning" the finish with friction from the pad.

jim

Hello Jim,
Thank you for the tips!
I know very little about about wood products and finishes. I really only have a basic understanding of Auto paint and how to polish. But I really am having fun with refinishing these drums and I also have a bunch of home improvement projects coming up with regard to refinishing wood such as a few doors and window frames. I also want to do my stairs which I did last year.

My question is can the Spar varnish go over the Poly colors? Or does it need to be used with other Spar Varnish colors? For example, and maybe I'm wrong, but what I'm trying to say is I think lacquer gloss needs to stay with lacquers and Poly gloss over Poly colors etc. Does Spar varnish have an array of colors? Forgive my lack of knowledge. Nobody I know works with wood!!! (except my friend who builds guitars but he lives on the other side of the USA). The rest of my friends are all gear heads....metal and fibreglass is all we understand.

Thanks again,
Ed
 

gryphon

?????!
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
197
Location
East Aurora, New York
Steven, thanks for reminding me about McCloskey Man O' War. Can't find it around here anymore. I mostly use the Ace Hardware house brand now.

Ed, there shouldn't be a problem putting the varnish over the polycolor. You will need to sand the dry poly very lightly with 320 grit sandpaper to create a surface the varnish can cling to. Wipe it down with a tack rag and put on a coat of varnish and let it dry at least overnight. Sand lightly with 320 and wipe with the tack rag and put on another coat. Three coats minimum, 4-5 are best.

If you are careful to sand and wipe well with the tack rag between coats, you should have a very usable finish with no further work required. If you do want to rub it out you will have to wait about a week for the varnish to harden enough to handle rubbing compound.

Start with a wet sanding with 600 grit going to 1200 and 1500. The 1200 and 1500 grits come in half sheets. Get about 1 sheet of each grit for each drum.

Put a few drops of dish detergent in the water you use for wet sanding. It will help carry the sanding residue away.

When done wet sanding buff with polishing compound. 3M makes some good stuff called Finesse It that you can use with or without a power buffer. If you use a power buffer get a spray bottle of water to spray on the surface as you buff to cool it and lubricate the pad.

I like to use foam brushes. They're cheap, and leave practically no brush marks. Be careful not to buy the Chinese brushes. The only ones I use are called Poly-Brush and are made in the USA(Imagine that!). 3" is probably the best size for doing drums. I get mine at Ace Hardware.

Get real turpentine for cleaning brushes. It costs more but it does a better job than mineral spirits. Soak the brush for a minute of two in a couple tablespoons of turpentine, shake it out and then press the foam between the folds of a rag so dry the brush. If it feels a little sticky repeat the cleaning. A brush should last for 3 coats maybe. If there is any stiffness in the dry foam throw the brush away.

A quart of spar varnish should be enough to do a bass and 3 toms with 4 coats. When you buy the varnish, check the top of the can. If it's dusty, don't buy it because it means it's been sitting there a while. Fresh varnish flows out better and dries faster than old varnish. I've seen cans in stores that may be two three years old. If the top is clean, you'll be OK.

Don't unfold the tack rag and ball it up. Just keep folding and unfolding to get fresh surfaces to wipe with. Keep it in a Ziploc bag to keep it fresh.

Set the drum on waxed paper when you varnish it. The varnish won't stick to it. Brush in the direction of the circumference, and don't go back and brush any varnish that's been on the drum more than a few seconds or you'll leave brushmarks, just flow it on and keep moving. Shouldn't take more than minute to do a tom or three or four minutes to do a bass drum. Don't load up the brush, that makes runs. Just dip about 3/8" into the varnish at a time.

That's all I can think of for now. If I think of anything else I'll post it here.

jim
 


Top