How to Remove Old Drum Wrap / Finish

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Important Disclaimer
Jammin Sam / Sam Barnard (company and individually) is not responsible for any injury due to misuse of any tool, use of glue/adhesives, use of any glue/adhesive removers or anything used as such, or injury due to removing or applying drum covering.  Anytime one uses a tool or product there is a chance of injury, especially when the items are misused.  Rarely has anyone ever been hurt, but in any harmful situation, Sam Barnard (company [Jammin Sam, Sam Barnard, Barnard Music] and individually) is not responsible for what one does with any tool or products in attempting to complete following instructions or any other methods/ directions recommended by this company, anyone associated with Sam Barnard, or others.For the purposes of dispute resolution, by opening a product package from JamminSam, you agree to be governed by the laws of the state of Arizona.  It is agreed that any legal proceedings arising out of this receipt of goods from JamminSam shall be litigated in any court of competent jurisdiction in the state in which JamminSam is located.
  1.  Old beater photo

    Photo of an old painted beater drum

    Remove all lugs, hardware, & eyelets. Although eyelets may seem troublesome to remove, we describe several different methods to increase your chances for success.

  2. Next, remove the old finish. This can be accomplished by working a flat-blade screwdriver between the shell and the old finish and prying up to break the old finish. After it is broken all the way across, try to peel the finish off the drum; sometimes a putty knife is very helpful (see below note). Some finishes may not come off easy (sometimes the case with older USA made drums– especially “Rogers”). If the finish is very difficult to remove, or large pieces of wood are coming off with the material, you will need to use some heat to soften the old adhesive and remove the material. The best way to remove a difficult finish is with a heat gun or a small propane torch (available at discount hardware stores for usually under $20). Heat a small section of the material, then work it off with a putty knife (approximately 3″ wide). Be very careful when doing this because some of the older finishes are very flammable. Some finishes will catch on fire immediately (especially the case with some older USA made drums). Be prepared and have a very wet cloth handy, so if it does ignite, the beginning small flame can be put out quickly.
    Use Extreme Caution
    ONLY do this outdoors, on concrete, and away from anything that may burn or explode. Have a garden hose ready in case it does ignite and the flames get out of control. BE VERY CAREFUL! Even a small drum can create a terrific flame.
    We suggest no one under 18 years old use any type of propane torch without adult supervision.

    If the material does not burn, it will melt or become soft. When the material is soft, use a putty knife to scrape/pry the heated material off the shell. Remember, just heat a small section, pry off the old material with a putty knife, then repeat heating another section. Most drums made in Asia (Japan, China, etc.) are only glued at the seam, and heat will not be needed to remove finishes from these drums. It is best to try to remove the finish from the drum(s) first (US made) to see if a heat gun is even needed.

    It is best to separate the finish from the shell with a putty knife instead of peeling back the finish; this method reduces the risk of wood coming up.
  3. The next step is to prepare the shell for the new drum material. If the old material was glued on, inspect the shell to determine if the old contact cement needs to be removed. It may not be necessary to remove all the old glue/contact cement from the shell if the appearance of the glue is even and hard (like varnish on furniture). Most of the time, very little of the old contact cement will need to be removed, but if the appearance of the shell is rough due to glue (or a heavy buildup), most of it will have to be removed. And if the glue has a wet appearance or feel; it is best to remove all of it also. Old glue can be removed with paint and glue remover products found in most hardware stores.
    Use a proper mask when working with these products– most are harmful to breathe.
    We suggest using water-base glue removing products– they are friendlier to your health. Solvent-based glue removing products can hurt your new drum wrap– if that is only available, call for directions.)

    If a glue stripper/remover is used, clean residue off (as recommended– see below) and allow shell(s) to sit bare 1-3 days, so any remaining chemicals have a chance to leave the wood.

    Photo of bare drum shell

    Photo of bare drum shell

    We believe it is best to sand on your shell(s) as little as possible. The more you sand, the more roundness is sanded off the shell– possibly creating areas that the material will not lay flat. Never use an electric sander to remove old glue– use glue remover products to remove old glue. After using glue removing products, clean any remaining residue with a piece of medium sandpaper in your hand. Next, use a metal straightedge to first determine if any high points are present on the shell, usually around mounting holes. If any are present, we suggest using the metal straightedge to scrape them down, so they are even with the rest of the shell. Fill all unwanted holes before applying your new wrap.

    If the old material was taped on, little or no old glue will need to be removed. Fill all unwanted holes and use a metal straightedge (as described above) to determine if any high points are present on the shell (usually around the holes). Use the straightedge to scrape any high points down.

Thank you for choosing Jammin Sam’s drum wrap.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  We invite you to read our Guarantee/Warrantee. We welcome your interest in all our products on this site and hope that you will call us for a free catalog and samples of our drum material.  Thank you for spending the time to read this article.

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