Dial It In Series Chapter 3: The DIY Project

Project Tools: Drum Key | Sharp Blade/Knife | Cordless Drill w/Phillips Head


The bass drum shell had a plain black wrap which looked slightly warped. The first thing Tim wanted to do was correct this by either replacing the wrap or refinishing the shell. Grabbing a couple of zip lock bags, Tim removed the lugs, both drumheads, and all of the hardware. Then, using the kitchen knife from the mostly unused set in his kitchen, Tim was able to find, and then pry open the seam.  From there, it was a simple slow unwrapping.

Tom Drum Holders
Drum Hardware
Bass Drum Shell Unglued Unfinished

Notice the natural wood imperfections wraps hide

The natural finish, although riddled with holes, was quite beautiful. Tim figured he could stain the shell and paint the lugs an offsetting color.  He also noticed that the warped appearance was the result of natural wood ripple. This was most likely the reason the kit was probably sold off the shelf brand new as a beginner kit for a lower price.


Supplies Purchased: Steel Wool (Grade 0000)Wood StainPaint BrushesSpongy Sanding FoamSpray Paint

Tim made a lunch time pit stop at Stanley’s Hardware for the needed supplies.  He chose a mahogany ash color for the stain and a burgundy spray paint for the drum lugs. At home, Tim grabbed some cardboard and quickly sprayed the drum lugs. The lugs were originally black. The lug material was and is still unknown. We know they were not chrome coated. The metal it did consist of was light and allowed paint adhesion.


Tim acted too quickly by painting the bass drum lugs. He should have painted one lug and waited until the staining portion was completed to really see how the colors would mesh. Removing the paint from 16 drum lugs was very annoying even with using Goo Gone so Tim simply ordered another color of spray paint via eBay. This time, he was smart and went with a light champagne color.


Cranberry Colored Drum Lugs

The paint arrived in an Amazon box within a day or two. While waiting, Tim used the time to refinish the shell.  First, Tim lightly sanded the shell.  Using cardboard courtesy of FedEx, and an old cigarette lighter android car phone charger, Tim was able to setup an impromptu painting facility in his basement. The shell was hung by the shell nut around a pipe running though his basement allowing it to turn and swing freely.

Free Swinging

Free Swinging


Two coats of stain had the shell looking fantastic but that’s when Tim started noticing his rookie mistakes. He had removed the gloss look of the stain by applying too much pressure when smoothing using the steel wool after the shell was completely dried (you live and you learn) and while staining the rim bead on both sides, marring the original wood finish.


Feelings of anguish led to wiping down the drum shell with Murphy’s Oil and emptying the remnants of a can of lemon wax. Still unsatisfied as the appearance had dulled, he looked up some natural remedies to help bring some life back into the wood which really still had a life of its own.


Prism Products Bass Drum Project

Key Takeaway: Do Not Apply Pressure When Sanding

Not being a huge priority, Tim decided to put the shell back together again. This took a good 30-45 minutes. In place of the plastic terrible and boomy sounding drum heads, Tim grabbed some Prism 22” White 3ply Reflective Response drumheads which served two purposes. The white mesh made the wood finish look rich, very rich which calmed Tim a bit after all of his mistakes.


He then attached the Double Bass Chain Driven Kick Pedal from Mapex.  With a bit of intensity, he gave the bass drum a go and his mouth dropped. The White 3Ply drum heads on both sides of the drum muted acoustic noise to the point that the bass drum pedal itself may need to be oiled for quietness.  Tim is relieved that his new DIY drum kit won’t bother his neighbor.


Silent practice is back with a vengeance. #drumpractice


Tim has now decided to remove the vinyl drum wraps from the floor and rack toms to redo the complete set. Building on his mistakes and the mental tips filed away, his drum set will truly be unique and one of a kind just like the drummer he is…errrr hopes to be.



  1. Bass drum wraps are glued to the shell to the left and right of the seam.
  2. It looks like the bass drum was a 6 or 7 plies.
  3. Click here for more information on the types of wood used to produce drums.