I acquired a 36" x 20" Ludwig Concert Bass Drum a few years ago, and while it was fully functional it didn't age as well as George Clooney - that is to say it showed its age in the worst possible way. The black marine pearl finish was sun stained, cracking, and peeling. I made the decision to remove the wrap, sand, and stain in a more timeless wood finish. I had learned my mistake from the Yamaha marching drums and I bought a heat gun to help melt the adhesive holding on the wrap finish. But alas, I had still not learned the lesson of patience. Take a look at the pictures and I'll explain.
So what actually happened - I was using my new heat gun and the wrap was coming off... slowly. So I did what any rational person would do, I turned the heat up to 11. Then the drum caught on fire. In my garage. Connected to my house. Where Theo lives.
My reaction: GET THAT FIRE DRUM AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!!!! I knocked the drum off the work table and down my driveway... towards my neighbor's car.
I sprinted down the driveway after the drum which was quickly becoming less of a drum and more of a flaming wheel of death. I successfully caught up to the wheel of fire and regret and knocked it down in the middle of the street before it made contact with anyone else's personal property. Then I lost my balance and fell awkwardly on my shoulder. And by awkwardly I mean I couldn't play for the next 6 weeks.
Now I stood there watching my bass drum burn and had to make a quick decision: do I try and put out the flames and possibly injure myself furhter, or do I patiently wait for my mahogony shell bass drum to transform into a pile of ashes? Well, if you've been paying attention you know I had not learned my patience lesson quite yet so I propped the drum back up and started rolling it around hoping to smother the flames - success!
As of right now it has been almost a year since this disaster and I think I'm ready to get back to work on this drum. Surprisingly only half the drum caught fire, so a good portion of the wrap still needs to removed. SLOWLY. And then it all needs to be sanded and refinished. Probably in some form of black to hide the burned portion. Or I may go for the originally intended wood finish and leave the burn exposed for a post-apocalyptic finish. I'll post more pics as this project progresses.
Last week I acquired a 1961 Slingerland 26" x 10" Parade Bass Drum in white marine pearl.
The shell has some minor separation between the plies so that will be a new challenge for me to deal with, but I'm looking forward to it. The finish was actually in decent shape and just needed a little cleaning up. You can see in the pictures above that finish looked to be in rough shape, but once I got it home I removed the hardware, took some Goof Off to the adhesive residue, and a mild cleaning solution to remove the rest of the dirt and grime. Then I took my new electric palm sander and did a once over with a fine grit sand paper. I'll let the results speak for themselves. I'm not entirely sure what I'll use this drum for yet, but I'll post more once it is completed.