My high school "wood shop" project in 11th grade (circa 1980) was refinishing my set of drums. They were different brands, and "vintages" and several different colors. Places like Sam Barnard's weren't around, well that I knew, so my only option at the time was to refinish. I read an article in Modern Drummer about a guy that painted his kit, but it was pretty involved, and he used something called Nitrocellulose Laquer...according to the guy at Sherwin Williams, it was expensive, and required renting a compressor and paint gun....not on my budget!
I spoke with my wood shop teacher about it and he suggested staining (and since at the time Neil Peart just started using those mahogany colored Tama
's, I thought...cool!)
SO I removed the hardware, and the plastic wrap...on some of the older drums, I needed to use a heat gun to melt the glue...on an old drum with sparkle in it, I set the wrap on fire since the heat made the metal flake hot, and it started the old wrap! Tough job, but I finally got it done!
Next step was to sand the drums, using various grade paper, on the better quality drums, it was just getting the residual glue off, and smoothing things out, but on some of the "cheaper" drums, the grain was running top to bottom, so I needed to sand the last layer off of the drum. (which actually gave me a better looking, and stronger feeling wood to work with) After sanding (and a little repair work to the finishes. and filling holes I wouldn't be using) I did the bearing edges. I started by truing the drums on a board with sandpaper glued to it, then used a fine file, and made nice edges on all of the drums.
The next step was to pick my stain, and I went with a nice dark walnut. I tried a few coats to make it dark enough, Then (and I don't totally recall the order) but I did a few treatments with pumice and oil, shellac and then varnish. The final coat was a sealant to give it a better chance at not being dinged.
The drums looked like a fine piece of furniture (and got me an A for my project) and lasted for about 10 good years before I decided to trade them in on a newer kit.
I wish I had a decent picture that showed how nice they looked (and they sounded great) let alone a picture I can post online...but it was a long project that was really worth it in the end! People never knew that it was a set comprised of Ludwig
, Slingerland, and off brand drums! (and I got a decent trade in on them from my local drum shop)
Looking back on this (30 years later) and remembering how long it took to re-cover my nephew's set of drums with a plastic wrap, I can only say it was a TALL order to accomplish, but worth it for the 10 years I used them!