All of the finishes I have encountered on original drums has been shellac. I generally prefer to leave these old drums alone, but in this case I did the best I could to bring it back to life without resorting to methods such as stripping, which can greatly devalue an historical drum. I would also never use oil on an original drum. Once I encountered an Eli Brown drum that someone had restored with tung or linseed oil, which soaked through the wood and turned the original label black! The drum is made using a two-ply construction technique with the outer ply being what appears to be mahogany.
Tompkins seems to be one of the few makers using this construction method in the 1860s-- typically Civil War drums are one-ply steambent ash or maple. Unfortunately the two-ply design is weaker, and the shell on this drum is cracked vertically to the left of the inlay design. Drumsticks are shown in the last photo of the drum prior to restoration. The drumsticks are not included, and the last photo is shown to illustrate what work I have done to the drum. Two original leather ears remain.
The drum was missing one iron hook when i got it. All of the true civil war iron rope hooks I have encountered were of the hog back type, but I had to use a post war hook. The rope is new 5mm polished hemp.See my other auctions if you need the most accurate hemp rope for your restoration. The item "1863 Civil War Drum by William Tompkins and Sons Yonkers NY" is in sale since Sunday, September 15, 2019. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Other Civil War Original Items". The seller is "whchappelle" and is located in Watkinsville, Georgia. This item can be shipped to United States.