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Discussion Starter #1
Well, like the title says I'm going to be re-finishing a maple drum. So I got a ton of questions because I've never done any kind of wood work.

So my first question: I have to sand off lacquer and I wanted to know what grit of sand paper do I need? As in one grit to get the paint of quickly and a finishing grit to get the wood smoothed out.

Second question: I've been reading a lot and I found that maple will most likely need a conditioner. Is there any conditioner that is better than others? I've also heard that you can use shellac thinned out. Is one better than the other?

Third question: I'm guessing I'm going to be using a water based stain since it seems to be the easiest to work with. But I was wondering if I should use oil instead and what's the pros and cons between the two? I'm going for a nice emerald green.

Fourth question: should I sand between every stain?

Fifth question: should I use a black stain base and sand that down before I put the green on? That's more me wondering if the black would bring out the grain.

Sixth question: what would get me the highest shine? I had people to strictly stay away from polyurethane but given no reason why. Does it end up turning color like to a yellow?

Hope you pros can help me out because I want to start this on Sunday. All comments and questions for me are more than welcome.

Thanks everyone,
Tim
 

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I'll hit a few of them -

Are the drums lacquered now or is it a catalyzed finish? If it's lacquer you can strip it off rather than sand it off. If you sand it off there's a very good chance you'll damage the wood and sand through the top layer of veneer (aren't most drums built in layers of veneer/thin wood rather than bent of a single solid piece?).

Water based stains will raise the grain so you'll have to work with that. It's not a problem, though. I've been using water based aniline dyes for over 30 years, you just have to be aware of the grain raising. Because I use water based dyes I do sand between coats but usually just enough to level the grain again.

Using black stain is like using a filler for an open pore wood and does fill/darken the grain. One point, though. You aren't looking to bring out the grain, rather the grain produces a pattern called 'figure' and that's what you want to bring out.

99% of what I do is lacquer - no poly at all so can't help you much there. I'd be in the group who says 'don't use poly' but no reason why, sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. It's already lacquered. I've been going between using a paint stripper or sanding. I asked a friend and he said just sand it. Drums are made of multiple plys of wood. All I have to worry about is getting through the paint. After the paint it's straight wood.

So would I be better off spraying the wood with water and using an oil base or just use an oil base without the wetting of the wood?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is a level of excitement. If this goes well and I enjoy it I might possibly make this a side business.
I would like to do lacquer work but I don't have the space or equipment for it.
Would oil or water be best? I might be crazy but the coolest thing about this is that it's a bit confusing but at the same time not. Because there is so many ways to do this and it's all personal preference it seems.
 

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If there is any intention to use a stain you should never sand a finish off. It gets what is on the surface and leaves the sealer that has penetrated into the wood. What would happen is some places would be sanded enough and others wouldn't. Then when you apply a stain the stain wouldn't take on the areas where the wood is sealed. For lacquer I would recommend Strypeeze remover. The wood will still need to be sanded however the end result will go much better.

A wood conditioner is a thin sealer and only needed if you are going to use a stain. If you are going with a black stain you might wish not to use one. Once the wood is conditioned you won't be able to stain the wood black without spraying it with an ebony dye. If you choose to use a conditioner you can use a great many products for that. I would recommend a store bought conditioner rather than homemade if you don't have experience with them. If you are wanting to use homemade I normally thin linseed oil 50/50 with mineral spirits and allow it to dry before staining. Shellac can also be used however I don't know the formula. You can also thin wood glue but that raises the grain. I've even thinned the stain I was going to use and allowed it to dry. Regardless of what conditioner you use be sure to try it on some scrap wood to determine the procedure before using on your project.

If you like the water based stain there is no reason not to use it. It tends to have a more bland appearance to it where oil stains tend to make the grain pop. Water based stains because of the water content will raise the grain and cause more sanding between coats of your finish. You don't sand the stain, you sand only the finish between coats. You will probably have to use a couple of extra coats of finish because of this.

I assume your question 5 you intend to pickle the finish. If that is your intention you stain black and then seal the wood. Then you go over it with a green glaze and wipe off the excess leaving the green in the cracks and crevasses. Normally a wood with a texture like oak is used for this finish. With maple there isn't the grain for the glaze to stick to.

With a black finish I would recommend a precatalyzed or fully catalyzed lacquer or a cab acrylic lacquer. The box store lacquer is a nitrocellulose lacquer which will yellow causing the drum to look more and more green as it ages. These other lacquers will remain clear
 
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