What I Learned On My Recent Drum Build

In Drum Building 101, Drum Building Tutorials, Drums, General Updates by Philip1 Comment

Don’t Miss a Learning Opportunity

Every time I build a new custom drum or custom drum kit I learn something that can usually help me improve upon a similar drum set the next time around. Each new drum I build gets better and better and I find more efficient ways to do some of the drum building tasks. Most recently I completed this drum set:

Black stain inlay custom drum set high glossDrum Building Tips

The drum building tip I picked up from building this drum set has to do with the order of the steps that I apply the inlay strip and finishing process. For this drum set I:

  1. Cut the inlay groove
  2. Applied about 4 coats of black stain
  3. Installed the inlay strip
  4. Sealed and gave a high gloss finish

Now, from looking at pictures of the drums and even looking at the drums up close you would never be able to tell what I did wrong. (not really wrong…but I will do this differently on the next drum kit that has an inlay that I build)

What I Would Do Different

Here is what the aged pearl wrap looks like up close:

Aged Pearl Wrap for a custom drum set

Look great right? Well I used some very nice tung oil for the high gloss finish for this kit and tung oil (along with other finishing products such as lacquer) tends to yellow or  “amber out” over time.

Lacquer “Amber Out”

Since I installed the inlay strip before I finished the drum, the inlay with also be included in the “ambering out” that is already starting to happen to this kit. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact this amber color is often desired by many custom finishers. If you’ve ever seen a vintage guitar that has discolored over time you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

In conclusion the main lesson I learned from building this drum set was this: If you like the original color of whatever inlay strip you decide to use,  you should mask the area where your inlay strip will go, finish the entire drum, and install the inlay once your finish is complete to prevent your strip from “ambering out”!

I hope this helps some of you builders venturing into the world of inlay! If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear what you have to say!


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