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  1. I just hit things...

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    Post Cleaning 24K Gold Hardware

    Here is the documented process I used to clean my gold hardware. I used drum tech Paul Carrizzo’s well published instructions as the basis. In all my research on the subject, I constantly found opinions, claims, and then, Paul’s instructions. But none of them included any before/after comments, pictures, etc. from anyone that’s actually cleaned their gold hardware. I have long been almost afraid to try because of no follow up information available out there. And as anyone knows that has gone through the process of having their hardware 24k gold plated, it is expensive. Because of that, I didn’t want to screw it up in any way.

    It goes without saying that gold plated hardware is prone to looking scuffed up very easily. I, myself, always use special gloves to handle the drums – never using bare hands because the skin’s oil can tarnish the gold. And I clean them via a dry-cloth wipe down every month or so. But even with this “no touch” policy, the drums still manage to accumulate marks on them. I should mention that I have gigged these drums maybe five times in total, opting to do so at special shows only. Some of the grime is likely from those experiences. The rest of the time, these remain in my home studio for my own enjoyment, and I use one of three other gigging kits I have for that purpose.

    Here are some of the steps involved:

    Picture number one here shows one of the floor toms, and though it appears technically clean under normal lighting, close up and with the flash of a camera, you can see the marks that have generated.
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    Picture number two shows the hoop before being cleaned. Again, you don’t really notice this ‘filmy stuff’ at a casual glance in person, but upon close inspection and in this picture, it’s all too apparent.
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    Next up is my beloved 6 inch tom. You can see the same build up here. It is the same across the entire kit.
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    First step is to strip the drums of all hardware. At this stage I did not take off the badges themselves – electing to do so later when I cleaned the actual shells. Here is the majority of what I went ahead and cleaned. Not pictured are some miscellaneous stands, stand parts, holders, adapters, and the snare drum). Actually, I have not cleaned my snare drum yet. I plan to do so this week.
    Name:  Stripped Down BEFORE.jpg
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    Pearl MW/Ref Wine Red with Gold Hardware 18x22 (x2), 16x16, 14x14, 8x12, 8x10, 8x8, 7x6, 5.5x14 snare
    Masterworks: 14x5.5 snare, 6x7 rack tom Pictures post #1
    Reference: Pictures post#1,35,58,68,69
    Pics: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/album.php?u=92744
    WANTED: Gold Pearl Hardware. PM me.

  2. I just hit things...

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    Then, using Paul Carrizzo’s recipe (equal parts: 9 parts WARM/HOT water, 2 parts ammonia, a "splash" of Mr. Clean - which in my case, I used about 1/3 of a bottle to make my "splash"), let it all sit in the solution in a large clean container for about 15 minutes.
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    Here is the hoop immediately after taking it out and simply drying it off. No scrubbing was necessary on any item at all. Just let sit for 15 minutes, take out and dry instantly, and you’re done.
    Name:  Hoop AFTER.jpg
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    Here is the 6” tom put back together (it was the first one). When I took this pic, I realized I didn’t clean the badges on the drums, so after this pic was taken to show how clean the hoops and lugs turned out, then I did all the badges before reassembling the rest of the drums.
    Name:  6 Inch AFTER 1.jpg
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    Here is the same 6” tom after cleaning the badge. But later in the day, so the lighting is darker. But you can still see how clean it all came out.
    Name:  6 Inch AFTER 2.jpg
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    That concludes the cleaning project, as it pertains to this thread. I should mention that this entire process took me about 20 solid hours spread out over two weeks as I had time. Stripping the drums down and reassembling took the majority of my time. Letting the parts soak took a total about 8 hours in one day. I had to find the right balance and rhythm between the amount of parts to be soaking at any one time, vs how long it took to dry each individual piece. It gets really time consuming at the lug drying level. Because you can’t touch them with your bare hands, you still need to be wearing at least one glove to hold them while towel drying with the other hand. And then having to be extra careful where and how you set them down.

    A couple of suggestions I learned:

    1.) It helps tremendously to constantly have the solution hot/warm (just tap water hot – not boiled or anything). As it gets cold, it doesn’t work nearly as well. So if you have a small drum kit with gold hardware, you might get it all done in one or two loads before the solution cools off. But for a larger kit, you will need to plan on mixing several batches throughout the process.

    2.) Even though I didn’t specifically talk about cleaning the shells (because this thread is about cleaning gold hardware), Paul’s suggestion of the mixture of Windex and ammonia also worked very well on the outer shells of my lacquered drums. I can’t say how well it would work on other finishes, but as you can see in the last pictures, the drums appear to be flawless. I’ve cleaned other drums with other methods to varying results of satisfaction, but many times, there ends up being scratches or marks in the clear coat protection layer. Absolutely none of that with mine this time.

    Again, I did this for anyone like me that’s been almost afraid to try giving their gold hardware a solid and thorough cleaning for lack of any seemingly true information on the subject. Everybody always has an opinion to share with you for how to do something, but it wasn’t their hard earned money spent on my kit, so I was a skeptic. I can happily say that the process worked very well, and produced exactly the results I wanted: looks like a completely brand new drum set.

    Take your time, and enjoy the process. Gold looks so pretty when it’s all shiny and new looking.
    Last edited by drummeric; 06-30-2014 at 03:00 PM. Reason: Adding formula mixture
    Pearl MW/Ref Wine Red with Gold Hardware 18x22 (x2), 16x16, 14x14, 8x12, 8x10, 8x8, 7x6, 5.5x14 snare
    Masterworks: 14x5.5 snare, 6x7 rack tom Pictures post #1
    Reference: Pictures post#1,35,58,68,69
    Pics: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/album.php?u=92744
    WANTED: Gold Pearl Hardware. PM me.

  3. Away From The World

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    Quite a process there Eric but worth it.

    Initially does the gold plating shop acid bath the standard chrome hardware to strip it back?

    Pearl Masters MCX Bronze Glass
    8x7 | 10x8 | 12x9 | 14x14 | 16x16 | 20x14G | 22x18


  4. I just hit things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
    Quite a process there Eric but worth it. Initially does the gold plating shop acid bath the standard chrome hardware to strip it back?
    Yes, they strip away all the chrome before the gold plating is applied. I don't remember the exact process, but I think they then plate it with another substance (maybe nickel?), before finally plating the gold over the top. I have the info somewhere, but haven't committed it to memory in the 5 years since I had it done.
    Pearl MW/Ref Wine Red with Gold Hardware 18x22 (x2), 16x16, 14x14, 8x12, 8x10, 8x8, 7x6, 5.5x14 snare
    Masterworks: 14x5.5 snare, 6x7 rack tom Pictures post #1
    Reference: Pictures post#1,35,58,68,69
    Pics: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/album.php?u=92744
    WANTED: Gold Pearl Hardware. PM me.

  5. NEMESIS

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    Thanks for the demo.

    I'm gonna try it for sure.

  6. Registered User

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    NOTE: Do NOT use paper towel of any kind to wipe or clean Lacquer finish drums...it will scratch....best thing to use...brand new cloth baby diapers!
    My wife says I am no longer permitted to buy any more drums...I said okay you cant buy any more shoes...we are presently at an impasse! I see drums...she sees shoes!

  7. I just hit things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbatterhead View Post
    NOTE: Do NOT use paper towel of any kind to wipe or clean Lacquer finish drums...it will scratch....best thing to use...brand new cloth baby diapers!
    Same goes for the gold hardware - use soft microfiber towels.
    Pearl MW/Ref Wine Red with Gold Hardware 18x22 (x2), 16x16, 14x14, 8x12, 8x10, 8x8, 7x6, 5.5x14 snare
    Masterworks: 14x5.5 snare, 6x7 rack tom Pictures post #1
    Reference: Pictures post#1,35,58,68,69
    Pics: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/album.php?u=92744
    WANTED: Gold Pearl Hardware. PM me.

  8. Registered User

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    Looks fantastic man!
    Solo project: "Suicide Animals" - experimental death thrash industrial zombie noiz
    drums: Pearl Prestige Session Select in Carbon Mist
    hardware: all Pearl
    cymbals: Paiste (Signature, Sound Formula, RUDE, VISIONS, 2002, and Twenty Series)

    "Everything you do is a reflection of you......"

  9. Registered User

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    Wow. That looks like it would've taken ages, but it looks well worth it. Just a side note - Holy heck your kit is amazing. I've recently fallen in love with gold hardware, and you've done it perfectly.

  10. Banned

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    Yessir, that is some mighty shiny hardware.

  11. Simple Boy

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    Fantastic job! Although I'm wondering would elbow grease not have done the trick?

    Also, do you have any tips for cleaning brass hardware?

    Thanks.
    Tama Starclassic Birch/Bubinga - Sabian Cymbals - Ludwig Black Beauty BoB 14"x5" - Ludwig Black Beauty 14"x6.5" - Ludwig Supraphonic 402 - 1971 Ludwig Acrolite - Tama Starclassic Brass 14"x5.5" - Tama Starclassic G Maple 13"x6" - Mapex Black Panther Brass 13"x5.5" - Remo - Vic Firth

  12. I just hit things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleC View Post
    Fantastic job! Although I'm wondering would elbow grease not have done the trick?

    Also, do you have any tips for cleaning brass hardware?

    Thanks.
    With gold, "elbow grease" scares me. I much prefer a non-abrasive (and non touch) method if I can help it. Any hint of a scratch is visually amplified when dealing with gold hardware. And rubbing hard with any cloth will eventually produce some unwanted mark(s). Gold looks awesome in my opinion - and it's what I always wanted - but it does require almost unreasonable measures to keep it clean/new looking. I would never use a kit with gold hardware as a gigging workhorse - that's for sure. But I'm sure glad that I know this method really works, so every several years or so, I can have a new looking drum set.

    As far as your other question about brass, I don't know thing one about brass in general. But I'm pretty sure I've seen brass polish on store shelves before. I'm guessing it's readily available almost anywhere cleaning supplies are sold if you were looking for it. Your suggestion of "elbow grease" might work just fine on brass, though. My mom always seemed to use some herself when dusting the brass items throughout the house when I was young. Never seemed to hurt it any. But I honestly don't know. Sorry.
    Pearl MW/Ref Wine Red with Gold Hardware 18x22 (x2), 16x16, 14x14, 8x12, 8x10, 8x8, 7x6, 5.5x14 snare
    Masterworks: 14x5.5 snare, 6x7 rack tom Pictures post #1
    Reference: Pictures post#1,35,58,68,69
    Pics: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/album.php?u=92744
    WANTED: Gold Pearl Hardware. PM me.

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