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Thread: Vistalite restoration

  1. #1

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    Default Vistalite restoration

    I have seen so many great drum restorations here on drum chat, most recently Kona's killer Gretch.

    My 78 Ludwig Vistalite is going to be restored. It's at my brother's house and I'm going there today to see my neice for her 6th birthday and bring my Luddies home.

    Does anyone know anything about cleaning or scratch removal from the acrylic shells, as I dont want to use a chemical that would deteriorate the acrylic.

    I've already ordered a few parts, like some lugs and such.

    Pics to follow...
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-03-2010 at 10:00 AM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  2. #2

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    There is a product used to clean the plastic covering on car headlights. Ive heard good things about that for vistas.

  3. #3

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    Can't help ya with the acrylics CD, but I'm excited for you!! Can't wait to see how they come along!!
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  4. #4

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    fixing up acrylic drums, not wood, might be quite different and interesting! best of luck to you cycledude, i bet they'll come out great
    ~Pearl, Zildjian, Hammerax, Remo, Vic Firth, LP, Pulse~

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  5. #5

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    Well, They're home and they're filthy... But they're gorgeous. I forgot an interesting tidbit. We frequently talk about head selection for both batters and resos. The vistas to this day still have Ludwig branded reso heads. Clear ambassadors with a green Ludwig logo on them.

    I cant wait to take some pics and disassemble all of the lugs and rods and get to getting.

    I'm in love all over again.
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-03-2010 at 08:44 PM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  6. #6

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    CD..i am looking forward to see the pics!

  7. #7

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    That is awesome you're going to get into restoring those drums. I remember you mentioning that a while ago.

    A vintage drum collector/restorer recommended I use this for cleaning and restoring plastic finishes:
    http://www.novuspolish.com/

    I used it on my plastic Gold Sparkle wrap. Check it out - it worked pretty good for me. It will not repair large scrached/gouged finishes but it works great on the light to moderate (define moderate Gary??) you know, little scratches. Send an email right to them and tell them what you're going to be doing. Or - what I did I found a local supplier.......way up here in Canada - haha.......at Industrial Plastics. It's not expensive.

    Try to get lots of shots - even more than you think you will ever need - of the before, during and after.......especially before because you can't go back. That's one area of my restore project that I really wish I would have taken more photos of - the "before" ones. If there's one little piece of advice I could give here........it's that - take lots of shot before. It may seem redundant or not important at the time but when you clean them up there will be quite a difference and you forget what they looked like after everything is shiny and clean.
    Just my thoughts.........

    What a great set of drums to be cleaning up there Kevin!
    Gary

    I pretty much like all drums....
    Gretsch being the drums of my choice since 1969

  8. #8

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    CD, Basically any automotive scratch removing product will work. Buy yourself some micro fiber polishing cloths, these are great for what you are going to be doing. Another big help would be if you have access to a orbital car buffer. That will save alot of wear and tear on your arms. Good luck on your project,can't wait to see the whole process, before and after. John

  9. #9

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    OK, here's some before pics....

    WARNING: It's pretty gruesome....

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    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-04-2010 at 09:19 AM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  10. #10

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    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  11. #11

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    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  12. #12

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    i think they would look great with a good cleaning and the new lugs and hardware
    PEARL MASTERS MCX in Bronze Glass
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by shabutie2113 View Post
    i think they would look great with a good cleaning and the new lugs and hardware
    +1 They are gonna look hella cool, im no help with the restoration process, but i wish you all the best with it!

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

  14. #14

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    Well CycleDude interesting that they are so dark. But I'm sure some where down the line in manufacturing from handling and working the shells scratches can occur, I'm betting a buff compound was used with a hand buffer. If they were that good in the factory set up that it never happened, its definitely the way your going to have with these old shells to clean them up.

    In the case of plastic car headlights the kit has ultra fine sand paper and buffing compound to clean them up on the outside surface, which has to be done every couple years after the first time its done. That is because there is something about the original surface of the plastic that you sand and buff off that can not be remitted...
    Play to win my friend, and make sure you see you won in the eyes of others not that of your own, then truly you've won...

  15. #15

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    Great photos, especially the rust ones - haha.
    That's going to be a great project - I'm drooling here!
    It would be good if you could keep as much of the original parts as possible. It's amazing what a good rust remover and proper cleaning products will do.
    It will feel really good to bring those 31+yr Ludwigs back to life Old Ludwig warrior's - gotta love it!
    Looking forward to the step-by-step Kevin.
    Good luck with it.

    One other thing:
    I would write a letter to Ludwig - photos included - they should have some good 'restore' information regarding the finish - you'd think so anyway. That's where I'd start before buying the scratch fixer-upper products. They just might tell you to do the same thing as a few of us said here or they may have other good information - it's worth a try.
    Last edited by kona; 01-04-2010 at 01:50 PM.
    Gary

    I pretty much like all drums....
    Gretsch being the drums of my choice since 1969

  16. #16

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    Thanks Gary. I wanted to call them, but Ludwig is not easily reached for customer service as I'm discovering. I scoured their website and could find no way to contact them for anything. I'd think that a company known for it's heritage and collectable status of it's vintage gear would be easier to reach.

    Oh well... this is only day one... The saga will continue.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  17. #17

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    Wow, those don't even look like Vistalite's. They look like a black wrap.

    As mentioned before, I'd wetsand and buff the shells.

    Clean all the hardware with CLR and a wire brush.

    It looks like you have all of the hardware, which is definitely a good thing.

    You could have them back up and drumming in a weekend if you wanted.

    Are the sizes 22,12,13,16?

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Exotic Matter; 01-04-2010 at 06:33 PM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleDude View Post
    Thanks Gary. I wanted to call them, but Ludwig is not easily reached for customer service as I'm discovering. I scoured their website and could find no way to contact them for anything. I'd think that a company known for it's heritage and collectable status of it's vintage gear would be easier to reach.

    Oh well... this is only day one... The saga will continue.
    Part of the fun I found was making new contacts in the world of Vintage drumming. A good contact is Harry J. Cangany Jr. He was a tremendous help with my restore project. He's a Vintage drum historian and wrote the book The Great American Drums And The Companies That Made Them along with other drum books and publications. He's mentioned all over the place when you look into Vintage drums. He's on facebook.

    He answered all my emails........to above and beyond the call of duty. He has a huge file system and just a whole lot of good advice about drums - a great guy.

    Exciting stuff hey!
    Gary

    I pretty much like all drums....
    Gretsch being the drums of my choice since 1969

  19. #19

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    How to annoy your wife in one easy step...

    Wash a 30 year old bass drum in the bath tub after midnight and wake her up.... :eek:

    The drums are bathed and they are in pretty darn good shape for being 32 years old. I was pleasantly surprised. The camera battery is charging so no pics tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

    Oh, I almost forgot, Someone asked me about sizes...

    They are 14x22 kick, 8x12 and 9x13 rack toms and a 16x16 floor tom.
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-04-2010 at 11:08 PM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  20. #20

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    i think a good cleaning and some new heads is all it really needs. those are spectacularly preserved drums..
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  21. #21

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    Ha ha - ya nothing like getting woken up by someone cleaning a bd in the bathtub!
    I'm not surprised they look great after a good cleaning they look to be in darn good shape. Did you say you ordered "all" new lugs and t-rods? Did you buy on eBay? That one seller you asked me about was good. However, I did receive items from one well known seller (not the one you mentioned) & some of the stuff was grossly misrepresented.....looked pristine on eBay but was rust-bucket-like when I got it. And - I did spend hours removing rust.

    I think your drums are going to be spectacular when you get all the metal parts cleaned (or replaced - some of them?) and the drum shells all spic-n-span. Sounds like you're getting right into it and having fun.
    Gary

    I pretty much like all drums....
    Gretsch being the drums of my choice since 1969

  22. #22

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    I ordered some lugs from Ludwig years ago new in the package for the grossly oxidized ones, but after looking at them more closely, they're the wrong ones. I may just leave it and get the BD hoops, and if I need T's and claws after the cleaning, I'll get them.

    I still need to get the acrylic scratch remover and go to town on them.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  23. #23

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    Kev, I'm jealous man I want a restore project. Looks like its gonna be fun man. I got a buddy with some blue vistalites that I'm trying to get from him. I'll let you know how that turns out..
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  24. #24

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    As promised here are some updated pics after nothing but a bath. The shells are much more translucent since the coated ambassadors are an opaque head and they blocked light from passing trough. I'll definately go with clear skins to get as much of the effect as possible.



    There's some sort of adhesive residue inside the kick, like someone tried taping something in there for muffling I suppose. You can also see that this drum has two different lug styles. The bottom of the bass drum has a low profile, rounded lug, unlike the standard Ludwig mini-lug. I suppose it's to ensure ground clearance?



    This is one of the weird bottom lugs. They recieved the most corrosion damage.



    Wow, look at the line of crap around the edge of where the head sat. It's like the goo that grows on an open ketchup bottle. LOL! The white on the side of the shell is all scuffing. I hope that can buff out.
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-05-2010 at 12:26 PM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  25. #25

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    The 8x12


    The 9x13


    There appears to be a crack near the tom mount on the bass drum, but the weird thing is it's not visable from the inside, only the outside. However, it is under the color coat so it cant be felt with a finger. Hmmm....
    Last edited by CycleDude; 01-05-2010 at 09:13 AM.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

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