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R.Adam McHugh 05-12-2018 02:06 AM

Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
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Hi Gang,

It's been a while since I posted last, hope everyone's well and happy.

Anyone have some good ideas on how to remove old paint from wooden hoops without damaging the wood? Is a regular paint stripper too harsh?
The drum I'm trying to clean up is a Drouyn marching drum, which I think is from 1972, and the hoops have been painted white, albeit some time ago, and I suspect it's lead-based paint, going by the age of the drum.
Anyway, my plan is to get rid of the white, take them back to natural wood and then go over them with bees wax or some pine oil.

(Sorry about the poor lighting in the pics)

Any thoughts, Gentlemen?

R.A.M (Trev)

seantdrums 05-12-2018 05:29 AM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
Hi there over here in the UK i use nitromorse. Its a paint stripper. For a hoop i would brush it on all over outside in the back yard. Leave for about 20 mins then lightly use a scrapper to gently take off the first layer. Then go to next hoop and then the shell. Each time i take a layer off i then paint more stripper on shell or hoop. Its long smelly and can be bad on your skin wear gloves. Ive been stripping paint off nearly every brand of drums there is, mainly premier. Doing what you want needs time and patience as you want a natural wood finish. Dont use a blow torch as it will scorch. A hot air gun is fine but do it evenly and take your time. Plus i will mask off the interior unless you wanna strip entire drum shell. I prefer the stripper cause i find it easier to take layers off. Once finished i use warm soapy water to wash all residue off. Let shell/hoops dry out for a good few days then start sanding. On your drum and hoops that is a doddle of a job........sean

longjohn 05-12-2018 05:54 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
With lead based paint like that.. I would avoid using spirits or stripper... Use sandpaper instead.. it is not a huge job... just work outdoors and use a mask if necessary.. start with 180 go to 400 and finish with fine steel wool..

( paint stripper/solvent or even turps will carry the diluted paint pigment into the grain and make your job more difficult )..


slingerfan 05-13-2018 12:24 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
+1 with seantdrums, chemical stripper or heat gun. Lead should not be ingested or inhaled. Sanding lead paint creates airborne particles and should be avoided. Stripper will be faster and safer.

longjohn 05-13-2018 06:38 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
Well as a wood working hobbyist... I don't like Fumes from stripper.. I don't like burned timber from heat guns... and I don't like timber grain ruined by gouging from scrapers etc... so I still prefer & recommend sanding for this particular job..


slingerfan 05-14-2018 01:00 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
All valid points longjohn. I knew a professional wood worker who would only "sand". He did beautiful work. He is no longer with us due to lead poisoning. I guess it comes down to what is more important; a persons health and well being or a drum hoop.

jccabinets 05-14-2018 06:24 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
So this guy died strictly from lead poisoning? How old was he?

slingerfan 05-14-2018 07:39 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
Mid seventies. At the time he seemed like a "really" old man to me but mid seventies doesn't seem "really" old now. An old timer from the "no mask" days. Effects are cumulative and usually take years to develop. My statement was probably extreme and I know the job can be done safely in the right environment and with the proper protective gear. I merely felt it irresponsible to advise someone to sand lead based paint. No offense meant.

longjohn 05-14-2018 08:31 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
I do respect your advice re safety Slingfan..

I also should be history by now... lived in lead painted homes and then lead painted everything that I ever built as a child... Worked 8 hour shifts for two years in a Lead sinker factory pouring molten lead into auto operating dies.. To top that off, I would make toys out of asbestos roofing using woodworking tools etc.. also wound steam pipes with asbestos whilst in the army and as a teen working on railway locomotives & boilers.. I do take more care now days... but back then knew no better (none of us did)..

I would use wet and dry sandpaper on the hoops .. rubber gloves and a bucket of water.. work outdoors... 1 hour & three Hail Marys..


R.Adam McHugh 05-14-2018 11:25 PM

Re: Removing old paint from wooden hoops...
Thanks for all the replies everyone.

Phew, Longjohn! That's some lead history you have. I gave sanding a go (masked of course) on the outside of one hoop - came out rather well, but what a loooooong process. The inside paint layers are much less cracked and damaged than the outer layers, so unless I try the stripper option it'll be very slow progress.

Seantdrums, I was thinking of going down that route, so thanks for the detailed response, but now I'm not so sure. I might try a small section with stripper and see what happens. Longjohn has got me thinking...Hmmmm

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