Drummer Talk 255 – Drum Kit Makeover Part 4: Veneers

We wrap up our multi-part series on drum kit makeovers today by talking about veneers!

Opening Detritus

  • It’s the mid-season finale. We’ll be revisiting website features like reviews and transcriptions during the summer!

Drummer Talk Mailbag

From Sebastian

I’m listening to your podcast over here in Germany. You guys really make my day on the way to work every morning. Thanks for keeping me inspired.
When you said you were spending the whole weekend on improving your mixing and mastering skills I thought: Holy Cow! One weekend for mixing AND mastering is like trying to repaint the Empire State Building AND the Rockefeller Center in two days… with a toothbrush.

So apart from drumming I’m also into recording, mixing and well, maybe a bit of mastering. I’m not a professional but I know how frustrating all that DAW-business (compressors, reverbs, headroom, panning, EQing aso) can be.

I discovered another great podcast that covers a lot of your problems with recording, mixing, producing, composing and mastering. It was very useful for me and I believe it might also be helpful for you. So I would like to share Kenal Osborne’s Recording Lounge Podcast for those interested in the topics mentioned above.

Here is the link to the podcasts on Itunes. It is free.

Kendal has done several shows that could be interesting for drummers. I recommend Episodes: 13,14 ,22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 46, 49, 50 and 51

I absolutely love the idea of making a drummertalk show about composing, producing, mixing and mastering. Maybe you could even contact Kendal and make an interview with him, because I think he has some great knowledge on this subject.

Enjoy your summer break!

PS @Dave: I also have a Tama Starclassic Performer Set.

From Dan

OK, I promise this will be my last comment (rant) on the Ludwig P-85 strainer.

Last week when you read my comment you kinda deviated from the its core message. I, like many, don’t feel that Ludwig needs to deviate from the core look/feel of their strainer. If they would only make it drum key operable instead of phillips screwdriver they would alleviate a major pet peeve. By all means, they can keep the classic look and feel but give us drummers (who shell out a premium for their great sounding shells) a small bit of modernity.

Keep up the great work  guys – your podcasts are “must listens”.

Cheers, Dan


Topic Notes – Veneers

Places To buy Materials


  • Measure each drum’s circumference and add an additional 3” overlap. You want to work with a veneer piece no shorter than this measurement per drum.
  • Get the width that your veneer piece should be by measuring the drum’s depth.


  • Just in case you’re working with a piece that isn’t wide enough to cover your entire drums depth.
  • Lay your veneer out and Pick an edge and set blue tape on both ends of the veneer.
  • Extend a square, just shy of the edge of the veneer, and lock it. Make a mark on the tape and mark the other end with the same setting on the square. These are cut marks.
  • Lay down the base piece of the cutting jig, tape down all four sides of the veneer to the jig but DONT tape over the cut marks we just made. Set the top of the jig over the portion of veneer you’re keeping, and match the straight edge to the two lines made earlier.
  • At the ends of the jig, Clamp the base and top piece together for added pressure.
  • Run a razor knife against the straight edge to make a slow…. continuous pass over the veneer.
  • The absolute key to a clean cut is to Change blades frequently.
  • Square up the the opposite edge of that veneer piece by repeating the same process. Apply tape pieces to the edge.. set and lock the square, make marks, secure it, align the jig, clamp, and cut it. Repeat this process to all the veneer pieces you’re dealing with.
  • Lightly and delicately sand the edges with 320 grade sand paper.


  • Arrange the veneer sheets according to the grain pattern you’d like to see on the drum.
  • When matched up…flip the pieces over to their back side.
  • Pull two pieces together with your fingers..and apply vertical pieces of blue tape over the joint.
  • Work down the entire length of the seam and reinforce the seam with horizontal strips.
  • Do this to all seams that you’re working with.
  • Seaming the back of the veneer first….makes frontside seaming a simpler task.
  • Cut multiple pieces of veneer tape, 1 to 2 “ in length.
  • Dampen a paper towel with distilled water and wet the shiny side of the tape against the damp paper towel.
  • With the veneer front side up.. apply the strips of veneer tape, moist side down, spaced about an inch apart.
  • Every three or so pieces…put down a paper towel and roll a soda can over it.
  • Reinforce the seam with horizontal strips


  • Remove the blue tape from the backside of the veneer.
  • Place the veneer Frontside down, and secure both ends of the veneer to a flat surface.
  • Mix 2 part epoxy as per directions taking note of set and curing times.
  • Be sure to coat the edges, and thoroughly epoxy the entire veneer.
  • Apply an even coat around the drum.
  • After the veneer and drum have dried for an hour or more, Remove the tape from the edges of the veneer..and Heat up a household iron to high heat.


  • With a square, draw a straight line down the drum…this is an anchor line for the veneer.
  • Set the drum on the cymbal stand jigg…anchor line facing up.
  • Align the trimmed veneer end to the anchor line and secure the veneer’s position to the drum with blue tape.
  • Tightly wrap the veneer all the way around the drum.
  • Secure the overlap end with blue tape.
  • Pull the overlapping side tight, and flush a straight edge to the anchor line we made earlier on the drum. Clamp the square in place, and make continues passes with a razor until the overlapping piece detaches.
  • Cut only the overlapping piece…..the end that was trimmed earlier that we drew an arrow buy is left untouched.
  • Iron the two ends down to finish the adhering process.


  • Dampen a paper towel with distilled water,lightly coat the veneer tape, and pick it off.
  • You’ll be able to pick off a majority of the tape, but stubborn areas can be sanded off with 320 grit paper. -When you’re applying the distilled water, do not flood the veneers surface… just make sure you’re rag is damp.. not soaking wet
  • When the remaining veneer tape is sanded off, sand the entire drum with 320 for a consistent surface. -Fill any seam voids with wood putty.

Finishing Your Drums With A High Gloss Lacquer Finish

    • Sand your drum shells with 220 grit paper, then 320 grit paper.
    • Wipe clean then Takk cloth your shells.
    • Protect the bearing edges with blue tape, and protect the inner shell with tinfoil.
    • Seal the pores of the wood and create a smooth base with lacquer sanding sealer.
    • Coat 1 gets 3 light passes and 20 minutes of drying.
    • Coat 2 gets 3 passes and an hour of drying.
    • Coat 3 also gets 3 passes and an hour of drying,
    • Coat 4 gets 3 passes and should dry overnight.
    • In the morning, very very lightly sand the drum with 320 grit paper.
    • Wipe it with a shop towel, and use a Takk cloth to wipe the drum.
  • SPRAY LACQUER – Lacquer takes place over the course of three days, repeating an identical schedule on each day.
    • Day 1: 3 light passes and 3 hours of drying. Tack cloth before coat 2, and make 3 passes and allow 3 hours for drying. -Tack cloth before the last coat of the day, make 3 passes, and allow the drum to dry overnight. Sink 400, 600, and 800 grit WET/DRY sandpaper in water overnight. Lay a weight on top to keep the paper submerged.
    • Day 2: lightly sand the drum with wet, 400 grit paper. Wipe the drum clean with a CLEAN towel, and move onto a light sanding of wet 600 grit paper. -Wipe the drum, and lightly sand with wet 800 grit paper. -Before moving onto coat 4 of lacquer, wipe your drum and tack cloth it. -Coat 4 gets 3 light passes and 3 hours of drying. -Tack cloth before coat 5, and make 3 light passes and allow 3 hours of drying. -Tack cloth before the last coat of the day, and apply 3 light passes and allow the drum to sit overnight. -Sink new sheets of 400, 600 and 800 grit WET/DRY sandpaper overnight.
    • Day 3: lightly sand the drum with wet, 400 grit paper. Wipe the drum, and move onto wet 600 grit. Wipe the drum, and lightly sand with wet 800 grit paper. -Before coat 7 of lacquer, wipe your drum and tack cloth it. -Coat 7 gets 3 light passes and 3 hours of drying. -Tack cloth the drum before coat 8, and spray 3 light passes and allow 3 hours of drying. -Tack cloth before the last coat of lacquer, and apply 3 light passes and allow the drum to sit overnight. -If you want to continue building lacquer coats…follow the daily shooting and sanding schedule. -Sink 400 through 2000 grit WET/DRY sandpaper overnight.
    • In the morning, start with a light sanding of wet 400, and work through each grit until you’ve reached 2000, wiping the drum in between each grit.
    • After 2000 grit, wipe the surface clean before we polish the drum.
    • Have the drum rested on a padded surface.
    • Apply 3M car polish to a cotton rag or t-shirt.
    • Work in a small zone…and rub the polish into the drum In a circular motion.
    • Work with pressure until you’ve Built up a haze on the surface.
    • Flip the rag to a dry section and buff out the haze with moderate pressure.
    • Work in small zones until the entire drum has a mirror sheen.
    • Remove the inner prep material, and pull the protective blue tape from the bearing edge.

Music from this week’s Show:

In closing…

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See you in the Fall!

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