Years ago I got three mixed Sonor toms from a friend. He had used them as a "jelly bean jungle kit" (jelly bean refers to any kit of various colors or finishes and jungle kit refers to drum sets with unusually small sizes) while accompanying dance classes. I decided to only use the 13" and 16" drums since the 10" tom has hardware from a different Sonor series.
The 13" red tom had a simple stain that just needed to be sanded down. The 16" yellow tom had a lacquer that had to be removed and then be sanded. I tried lacquer thinner but it seemed to have no results. So I just sanded for a longer time... although compared to those early projects that I hand sanded everything it really didn't take very long at all.
Here are the shells sanded down to the natural wood.
Anyways... here's a picture of the shells with the stain before the lacquer: