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  #1  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:37 PM
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Camshaft Camshaft is offline
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Default Cam's Gear & Projects

Hey guys, I decided to start this thread to document my gear and the various projects I undertake. I'm currently in two bands - I'm subbing in for another drummer in another band until he recovers from surgery for a few gigs. I should have started this thread earlier, so things will jump around a bit at first - I have a lot of stuff going on at the moment.

First up will be refinishing my Sound Percussion four-piece set that I use for gigging and rehearsal. I bought it as a Black Friday deal at Guitar Center over half a decade ago and it's still going strong. New heads really woke it up, and the only other changes I've made are replacing the hi-hat stand with a Tama Iron Cobra 200 unit and upgrading the cymbal stands to the Sound Percussion boom stands. All in all, I'm really happy with it. It's a great size for tossing into the car and moving it from place to place. Of course, I'm a little sad that the wrap finish has suffered a bit as a result, so I plan on experimenting with drum refinishing and getting cases to protect my gear better going forward.

I'm starting slow with my snare drum. I always liked the sound I got out of this little 13x5" wood snare, but I recently upgraded to a Tama SLP Classic Maple snare. I still use the 13" snare for rehearsal and practice, but this week I just couldn't crank the tired Evans coated head any tighter - it was dead as a doornail. I picked up a pair of heads at Guitar Center and I decided that there was no time like the present to completely disassemble the drum, clean and polish the hardware, and refinish the shell. The first step, of course, was stripping it down.

Before:



After:



Tonight, I'm jamming with a friend and helping him celebrate his birthday, but I may be able to convince him to tag along to Home Depot and help me pick out some Minwax. Tomorrow will be sanding, masking, and hopefully a coat or two of stain.
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TAMA lover & Sound Percussion apologist.
Click here for my project/gear thread!

Last edited by Camshaft; 03-24-2017 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

Snare looks good from here. Was wondering if the hoops were going to cover the part you left unstained.
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Old 03-31-2017, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Snare looks good from here. Was wondering if the hoops were going to cover the part you left unstained.
Thanks! The hoops and the heads cover the unstained area - I wanted to avoid interfering with the bearing edge but I played it a little safe. The rest of the drums won't be masked so far from the edge, though.

Here is how I masked the snare:



I know it looks like a hokey setup, but it worked like a charm:



Hardware polished and cleaned:



After three coats of stain and three coats of poly:



Finally, the finished product!



The color is Minwax Antique Jade. The drum has a very nice aged/vintage look.



I went with a Remo Coated Vintage Ambassador, and a Remo Hazy Ambassador on the resonant head.



I'm very happy with the outcome, even though it's not quite what I initially expected.



Since I want a deep glossy finish on my concert toms, I may farm that job out to someone else.



Next up will be the floor tom. I'm going to start looking for wood hoops for my bass drum. The manufacturer claims that the drums are made out of mahogany, so I'll be on the hunt for something similar.

I'm also going to grab some nylon washers to replace the metal ones on the tension rods.
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TAMA lover & Sound Percussion apologist.
Click here for my project/gear thread!

Last edited by Camshaft; 03-31-2017 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 03-31-2017, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

I have recently started doing a good bit of woodworking and one thing I have learned is that the finer the finish the less stain the wood will absorb. 400 grit is fine and it looks great. I have never done finer than 220 on some poplar and select pine because at 220 those woods almost repel the stain. Is your entire set the same wood for the last/outer ply?
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Old 03-31-2017, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
I have recently started doing a good bit of woodworking and one thing I have learned is that the finer the finish the less stain the wood will absorb. 400 grit is fine and it looks great. I have never done finer than 220 on some poplar and select pine because at 220 those woods almost repel the stain. Is your entire set the same wood for the last/outer ply?
Yeah, it's all the same soft, white wood, with a very weak grain. I used a water-based stain and found myself brushing on very light coats and wiping much of it off before letting it dry. That's why I don't want to use maple hoops for the bass drum - it's a noticeably darker-colored wood with a strong grain and probably won't match.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

New hoops would require less stain if they are raw. You could alway stain them a contrasting color like walnut or the like...
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
New hoops would require less stain if they are raw. You could alway stain them a contrasting color like walnut or the like...
That's definitely an idea. I'm doing the bass drum last so I'll be able to see how it's all coming together.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:10 PM
bsfloyd bsfloyd is offline
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

The new snare finish looks great!

I've seldom wondered about the SPL kits. I've been tempted to pick up the smaller bop kit they make when I've seen them on sale at GC for $250.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

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Originally Posted by bsfloyd View Post
The new snare finish looks great!

I've seldom wondered about the SPL kits. I've been tempted to pick up the smaller bop kit they make when I've seen them on sale at GC for $250.
Thanks bsfloyd! I'm really happy with it too, and the guys in my band really like it.

From what I've seen, Sound Percussion stuff has only gotten better in the five years since I bought this kit. I have my eyes on that same bop kit and will absolutely buy one when they go on sale. I love my Tamas but I can't stand the bass drum hoops on the Imperialstar bop kit.

With a nice set of heads on this kit, it really sounds great. I can't overstate how responsive these sets are to heads and tuning. It's not going to stand up toe-to-toe with a high-end kit, but it will absolutely impress you for the price and then some. I'm sure anything below the Unity Birch line is garbage, but for a beginner, or someone looking for a gigging kit, or something to leave at the band's rehearsal space, the Unity line and above are very hard to beat for the price, and the hardware isn't bad, either. Plus, GC supports the brand very well with most parts and accessories in stock most of the time, which is making this project much easier.
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TAMA lover & Sound Percussion apologist.
Click here for my project/gear thread!

Last edited by Camshaft; 04-03-2017 at 06:08 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2017, 04:03 PM
bsfloyd bsfloyd is offline
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

Thanks for the confirmation, Cam - I'll be sure to pick up the bop kit when I see them on sale next. $250 seems like a steal.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2017, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

Hey guys, it's been a while. I got my 14" floor tom finished up:



I'm really happy with how they came out. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to work on the other drums, since we brought home a pair of cats. This means that work would have to be carried out in the garage. Now that the garage is cleaned out, I can begin work on the rest of the kit.

Time is of the essence, however, since my band's gigging and rehearsal schedule is pretty full lately. Recently, I went on another Buddy Rich binge, and decided that what I really needed was another floor tom. Something about a five piece kit with two floor toms just looks inherently classy to me, so I decided I wanted a 16" floor tom. Sure enough, I found this beauty on Facebook Marketplace for $25.





Cheap and cheerful - it doesn't even have a badge, just a sticker! No worries, I have a solution for that. I think I've proven quite effectively that heads and tuning really wake up cheap drums. A great solution for gigs and rehearsal!

Within an hour of getting home, I had the drum stripped down to a bare shell:



This one will require a bit more work than the last one. In addition to the badge situation, getting the air port out of there was a nightmare, but a new, larger, screw-in type is on the way. I'm glad the new one is a bit larger, as I made a bit of a mess for myself to clean up:





The adhesive for the wrap was very weak, except for in one spot. I had a similar thing happen when pulling the wrap off of the other floor tom, but to a much smaller degree. It certainly adds a bit to the "vintage" aesthetic, and this area typically holds a lot more stain, resulting in a darker spot. Still, it should look much better after sanding.



I may find myself having to take apart my suspended tom at the same time, as the Sound Percussion drums use little bits of wrap as "gaskets" between the hardware and the drum shell. I can use the wrap I pull from the suspended tom to trace the shape of the hardware and make these gaskets for the hardware on this drum. The preferred alternative is to find something close on Drum Factory Direct. I'm sure Sunlite "borrowed" their hardware design from somebody...do these look familiar to any of you guys?
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TAMA lover & Sound Percussion apologist.
Click here for my project/gear thread!
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2017, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Cam's Gear & Projects

The kit's coming together nicely, Cam. I believe that Bill Detamore from Pork Pie percussion got his start by buying up el cheapo kits, refinishing them, and re-selling them for a profit. Pretty soon he was being asked to do custom work, and the rest is history.
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