Hello all!

I have been working on this awesome 1920's Ludwig concert drum and I need to try to remove some stains in cracks. It had been painted a couple times. So I stripped all that I could, now I'm left with these blue stains in the cracks. I'm going to try oxalic acid to see what it does... Just wondering if you guys and gals had any other suggestions.



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 Justin oxalic acid is a bleacher of organic material, NOT paint remover.

It will do 100% of nothing for that application.

You need to get some dental pics, and some magnifying lenses and start picking all of it out.  You should consider going to your local Wood store and seeing if they have proper size veneer to wrap it. It's pretty simple to do too! 

Yep, you're right Kerry. It pretty much did nothing.... I did suspect that as I read quite a bit about it, but it was my last attempt. It did remove some stain from the old head around the edges, but that have been mostly due to brushing it out of the pours.... and not the acid.... I'm not really sure. It's an interesting project and I'm trying to preserve as much of it as possible. We'll see. Thanks anyway!!


Id maybe work some paint stripper into the cracks with a little brush then use another stiff -ish brush to work it loose. Circa 1850 is an effective stripper, but i dont know if itd have any effect on the glues that may be in the plies of a drum rim.

My daughter just did a Trade Secret for Dan Erlewine that might help:

Ed Minch

Great Video. Old world craftsmanship is alive in your daughter.

Major Kudos to you & her :)

Hi Justin.

A couple of my friends are pro-level Drum Tech's & restoration experts.

They suggested that before you proceed, try to establish the original color. They said that natural AND transparent finishes were rare. THEY postulate that the drum was originally blue Lac or had a celluloid (or whatever drums use) as a wrapper.

They said it will save you much time and frustration if the substrate will be covered or finished in an opaque lacquer.

They also told me that guitar tech's know very little about vintage drums and that you should probably post the same question on a forum dedicated to vintage drum restoration. btw: they acknowledge that Drum Tech's know less about guitars that Guitar Tech's know about drums :)

But, the first step is determining original finish of the snare. That will determine you next step.

Also,  if your client is a drummer, my friends suggest that you get material costs up front because they tell me they have a moderate number of  "instrument was abandoned" cases. After 90 days, the abandoned instruments hit e-Bay..which is explained when the drum comes into the shop.

I hope that some of that info is useful.

Hi Paul,

This drum has been repaired a few times and repainted a couple times as well. I do wish I was able to do an opaque finish, it would make it SO MUCH EASIER, but that's not what the customer is looking for. He wants a more natural finish. I do believe it was originally some kind of blue color, as it showed some signs of original paint on the hoops..... In all reality I don't really know much about drums:), but I do know a lot about this customer and he insists that I do it and that it be natural... Go figure.. I will take your advise and hit up some resto guys from other sources.... It's turning into quite a learning process, but really enjoyable to do.

Thanks for the advise!


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