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neatbeats 08-31-2015 04:55 PM

Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Just scored this sweet LA Camco kit in Alice Cooper White and bearing gold hardware (everything is gold! Rims, lugs, bass T's, spurs, floor tom legs, mounting brackets, etc.). Sizes are 24 (virgin)/13/14/15/18. The bearing edges are sharp, shells in round, internal muffling mechanisms completely intact, no extra holes; I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

Already ordered new gold-colored triple flange rims, gold-colored DW STM mounts for the racks, and some Flitz metal polish for the other hardware. Looking forward to getting these babies SHINY!

Love the shell color, but it's very chipped and dinged. Wondering if I'm even capable of returning it to it's original condition or if I should just sand it off and refinish in natural. I recognize it's somewhat of a rare color among these even more rare drums. Any recommendations?

neatbeats 08-31-2015 05:05 PM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Only photo thus far:

stedi 09-01-2015 02:46 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Congratulations,... you will love these drums.

They're not a lot of unmolested Los Angeles Camco Drums out there.
That "gold" hardware is very rare.

Depending on how and where the drums were stored, the Alice Cooper lacquer finishes are sensitive to scratches and chipping. I would give them a good polish but leave the finish alone for now,... These late Camco drums with their meticulously crafted Keller shells are sought after and hold a lot of value for some. Refinishing them will not bring up the value,... on the contrary.

Please post more pictures if you can and do let us know if the shell-interiors have numbers written or stamped in them. They're only around 1500 Los Angeles Camco sets known to exist. The lower the number, the earlier the production date.

For more info, look up the "Camco" articles on Not So Modern Drummer.

larryz 09-01-2015 09:09 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit

Originally Posted by neatbeats (Post 360240)

Yes please try to post a photo on VDF. I can't view this (blocked...) Thanks and congrats!

red66charger 09-01-2015 12:56 PM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Those look like thunder, especially that 24! Congrats and be sure to post more pictures as you work on them.

neatbeats 09-02-2015 04:52 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
5 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the quick responses, everyone! Here are some more pics.

The shells each have "1269" penciled-in on the the batter side reinforcement ring. This must be a later set. All worm drive mufflers are intact and working brilliantly. The interiors are super clean and bearing edges are SHARRPPP!

Attached is a before and after shot of the 13". Glad to see that the new rims match the newly polished old lugs pretty well. I was able to get the shell nice and shiny, but don't know if I'm yet satisfied. How hard would it be to touch up the rash and chipped areas? Or fully restore to original coloring (as seen beneath the lugs)? Would I want to talk to a auto body shop for this kind of work? Just a thought; your thoughts are greatly appreciated. I really don't want to mess with the integrity of this awesome vintage kit, but would love to see it gleaming again.

Also attached is another picture of the 15", 18" and 24" shortly after unboxing. Lemme know what you think!


Antipodes 09-02-2015 06:11 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Dear Neats,

What Stedi said.

I has a 13", 14", 18" and 24" in the same finish (my first Camco kit). I stupidly stripped it back (this was in the days before they were "vintage") and regretted it.

The maple shell underneath is was nice but......Alice Cooper White is a rare finish of a rare brand.

Embrace it, nicks and all. Yours drums will thank you.

neatbeats 09-05-2015 04:41 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Thanks again, everyone,

I've decided to leave the finish as-is, bruises and all. I've completed the rack toms at this point and they're shining up nicely and sounding big and open with coaded emps on top and clear ambassadors on bottom. Any other recommended head combinations?

One thing that's troubling me though is that several of the tension rods are having a hard time screwing back into the lug casings. It's almost as if the thread is the wrong size. I've really been having to force them. Upon cleaning of the hardware, I've been adding a little white lithium grease to the ends of the rods, but this doesn't seem to be helping.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? I'd hate to strip the lugs.

stedi 09-05-2015 08:43 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
Hi Cody,

The drums are yours so I guess you can do with them whatever you please but I believe you're taking the right decision. I always play Coated Ambassadors on top and Clear Ambassador on bottom on my LA drums. (Remo PSIII coated on Bass drum). With this set up those toms sing for days,.... very resonant. Emperors would be a good choice if you prefer a bit less resonant.

Looking at the corrosion on your hoops, my guess is that the lugs and the inserts must be very dirty and rusted to. I would remove all the lugs, the inserts and the rods and let them soak for a night. (regular Dawn will do fine)

red66charger 09-05-2015 10:51 AM

Re: Restoring an LA Camco Kit
And run a ton of Q-tips through the inserts. Some times it takes more than one Q-tip for a single insert. I'm always amazed how much gunk I've been able remove from inserts.

Hopefully your inserts aren't cross threaded. Are they gold as well?

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