chapter 1 " tHE 1985 pREMIER restoration pROJECT " 

   This project is set up to help those at home learn how to clean and restore an old classic drum set.   

Our most recent project is this 1985 Special Edition Premier drum set purchased  by our team to be a great project.  We thought that this would be a great restoration project to share with our web viewers.  This kit consists of five pieces 8X10, 11X12, 13X14, 15X16 mounted toms and an 18X22 bass drum.


The first thing to do: PICTURES, always take alot of photos during your projects so you can have a record of the "before and after " plus it's a good idea to help show how things were assembled if you should forget.  Next thing is, inspect all drums to see what is required to put this old classic back in the game.  The bass drum is ok but will need help.  The hoops and wrap have some delamination problems,  the chrome is dirty and needs cleaning,  there is alot of light rust and corrostion on the tension rods, lugs, legs, and the heads are shot.  It looks like the wrap is in good shape with only one small crack under one of the hoop mounts and will need to be glued and clamped.  


 The toms are in pretty good condition overall from the outside, but they do have some light wrap lifting, rust and dust from sitting for years in that old corner of the garage.




Chapter 2  -  "The tear down"


Start by taking off the heads and hoops. Then remove the tension rods, lugs, mounts and legs.  This will alow us to inspect the interior for any problems.   



Make sure each group of parts are bagged and tagged separately.  I like to place each set of lug's with mounting screws and washers, all the  tension rods and mount pieces in one bag and large items like bass drum legs or tom tom mounts in separate bags.    Here's a tip:  When labeling bagged parts for the drum set, remember that left is always the drummers left, sitting in the drummers chair.  Sometimes it's hard to tell which way is left and right once you start to put your kit back together.   



Keep each drums hardware with each drum during the restoration process so that they do not get misplaced.


      Now that we have the drum complely disassembled we see that in the bass drum hoops and in a couple of places in the shells we have some light delaminating and also some scuffing of the black interior paint.

      The first step in repairs for these bass drum hoops is to inject glue into all the gaps and spaces in between the delaminating so that when we start to get clamps and the glue sets hard they will be actually stronger than the day they were built.

 The key to getting a super strong bond is to not get any air or open spaces in the glue areas.  If you use a hypodermic with a larger 18 x 1 or larger needle to inject glue to these areas this will make repairs easy with minimum excess to clean up.  



When using these clamps make sure to protect the finish of the interior and the outside wrap from getting scratched by using pieces of cardboard or sheetmetal. 




                                                                                            Once the glue has dried you should have a solid bond and be able to start to repair the interiors of the shells.  I use enamal model paints and a 00 brush to touch-up any scratches or bare spots. I then wipe  with a towel to blend that surface with the existing painted surface.






Now that we have the shells cleaned and restored, it's time to start to work on the hardware issues.



    Cleaning all the pieces of hardware is the step that takes the most time and gives the most back at the end of the project.  In this chapter we will discuss cleaning each piece of a normal drum set:  RIMS, LUGS, and TENSION RODS. There are two ways to do this. 1. Hand polishing for doing small pieces or odd shaped items. 2.Buffing wheels, for doing large areas that can be easlly reached.  I have done complete drum sets by hand and on a large job you will wish you had a buffing wheel about half way thru the second drum.


HAND POLISHING:  There are many types of polishes on the market that can be used for the metal parts. I like to use any of the auto chrome polishes for the metal parts and for the wraps I like to used a high end auto car wax with carnuba.  It is as simple as rub on and rub off with a soft clean towel and buff to a shine.  Sometimes even a tooth brush is a great tool to get into tight spots. 

BUFFING WHEELS:  The buffing wheel is nothing more than a small electric motor mounted on a base and a cloth wheel bolted to the shaft.  HARBOR FRIEGHT has good ones if you want to purchase as a "ready to go" item.  .

Here is a picture of a simple homebuilt buffing wheel


Here is a picture of a professional sytems air filtering 



There are several types of compounds that are available to use.  Here is a chart to show the different types and the materials they are used on.  Compounds are of different colors and each has a different type of material that it is specially designed to be used with. To use, a person simply holds the compound at the spinning buffing wheel and lets an amount cover the cloth wheel.   





Compounds (Coarse to Fine)
 Black EmeryBrown TripoliWhite RougeGreen Stainless Jewelers Rouge Blue All Purpose
Acrylics     x
Aluminumxxxx x
Gold xx xx
Ironx  x x
Nickelx  x x
Pewterxx  xx
Platinum  xx x
Sterling or Silver Plate xx xx
Steelx  x x
Nickel or Chrome Plate    xx
Brass or Copper Plate xx xx
Stainless Steelxxxx x
Thermosetting Plastic (Baklite, Formica) xx xx
Hard Rubber x   x
Horn x   x
Wood x   x




   Do not wear loose chothing or jewery that could get caught in the wheel.  Always remember to wear a dust mask and safety glasses to guard against the small pieces of cloth, grit and dirt that becomes airborne during the buffing process.  Be sure when buffing that you hold the piece tight and low on the wheel and lift to the center on each pass.  This technique will help you keep the piece sturdy while buffing and help keep the work from trying to slip out of your hands.




        HOOPS / RIMS:  

Since these are in decent shape I buffed these lightly with a white compound and applied the metal polish to the inside and outside of the rim. Once this is complete I like to put a wax coating over them to help provide  extra protection due to the fact that each time the drum kit is set up we always grab and move each drum around by the rims.  Buff then wax then towel and follow up with another fresh towel to really give them a good shining.  If you have a polish in the house that you like I always suggest that you give it a test in a small spot and see how it works before going over the entire drum.




Normally I take one lug and remove the interior parts and place them on the work surface or into a bag.  With the buffing wheel I work it all over the lug and set it down and repeat on each one of the lugs then place back into the plastic bag.  Once all components are buffed, I lay out all the pieces from one bag at a time to assemble together.  At this time, I check the lug and if it does not have internal felt I pack it with  cotton balls (if that's all you have) or go get some heavy felt. This is an old recording trick to keep anything from making any type of rattle.  Nothing is worse than paying 100's of dollars an hour to a recording studio while you tear your drum kit apart to find a rattle somewhere inside a lug.  I just stuff the lugs with the cotton once the lug is assembled around the spring.  On cleaning the spring, it should already be pretty good and I personally normally just leave it alone.   Next is the tension rod inserts that fit it in the lug. I take a tension rod and screw it on a few threads and use the metal polish and clean it up.  I finish each lug by lubricating it with a drop of 3 in 1 oil in the mounting screw threads.


You can quickly and effectively remove rust on tension rod threads using grade “0000” superfine steel wool, a drum key and a power drill. A dust mask is also recommended. First, mount the rod on a drum key and rub the threads with steel wool. Then, wipe with metal polish and finish with wax.  When the rods are placed back into the lugs, make sure a drop of 3 in 1 oil is on the threads.

Now the fun starts    ----    All the parts are clean, lubed, polished and ready to be assembled .  Take your time and build one drum at a time ---- I like to start with the Bass Drum and build the drum set using this as a foundation ----


                      MOLLY SAYS - GOOD LUCK


            HAVE FUN !