My first drum set was a Frankenstein’d Rogers kit that was partial Holiday and Tower series. Both were, luckily was their famous Red Onyx wrap. When you are a kid you don’t appreciate vintage drums, you are more impressed that your favorite players had huge Pearl kits, racks, bright shinny cymbals and whatever cool powder-coated hardware that was trendy at the time. Their were many times I wanted to sell my Rogers as a kid for some cheap, common kit for the sake that it was, “new and shinny.” As a 39 year old, I’m so glad I didn’t. I would have been one more experienced drummer who had the, “I had it and sold it” story. I’m very thankful for my parents who were able to get those drums when I was in early grade school and even more so that I still have those drums!
Those drums helped grow my appreciation for Rogers drums. Rogers Drums were made in the U.S.A. and are no longer in production. I currently have four Rogers kits and now a 5th. I thought I’d share my Rogers Restoration Project on that 5th drum set with you.
It started with Ebay in 2009 and how I was able to find a 24″ Powertone series Rogers bass drum shell on the cheap. It was in bad shape and slightly crushed on the side. Disappointed that it was damaged in shipping, it was left in the basement of house and ignored until 2016.
In 2015, my wife and I were in Philly. I have a tendency to go into mom and pop music stores and pawn shops to see what rare drums I can find. Sure enough on this trip I found a Rogers Powertone 13″ mounted Tom with hardware in great shape at a pawn shop on South Street. Best of all, the employee wasn’t aware of the value of the drum and sold it to me for $30! But it ended up in the basement as well.
Winter of 2016, I was able to find a Rogers Powertone 16″ floor tom with all the hardware on Ebay. Shockingly, I got it for $78 bucks. Boom! It started this project! My Rogers Restoration Project with my 24″ bass, 13″ tom and 16″ floor tom.
First came taking all the hardware and wrap off. Thankfully the bass drum had no wrap on it. But the floor and mounted tom did which is no easy chore. It took months for me to scrap and chip away the wrap due to Rogers using glue that was too good! The crushed bass was secured and fixed with car Bondo. “Strong like bull” now!
Once the wrap was off, it took many coats of paint stripper to take off the chunky glue that Rogers used. Trust me, this was the least favorite part of the process. The hardware was in rough shape. The chrome was pitted and rusted. Using the Diet Coke (citrus acid) and Tin Foil trick, I dipped and soaked the hardware in Diet Coke and scrubbed it using the shinny side of tin foil. It works way better than one would think. The hardware came very close to new looking!
Rogers had two primary colors for the interior of the shells; flat gray and speckled gray/white. The bass drum interior was painted black by a previous owner and the toms were rough shape on their interior color. So I took the steps to recreate the original flat gray with a engine spray paint that was mostly a primer. It came pretty close.
The bearing edges of the drums were blunt, bruised and chipped due to many years of existence and abuse. So I had Christian Kline at DrumsOnSale.com recut them using a 45 degree technique that he has perfected.
I had many thoughts of what color to go with on the project. But thought Champagne Sparkle would be awesome. Mostly because Rogers did make drums with that color and I had a converted Rogers Tower series tom that I converted into a killer snare drum! The wrap was ordered from a Jamming Sam in Arizona. Finally the drums were wrapped using contact cement and hardware was put on. The Rogers logo came from DrumsOnSale.com. Look at the results of the project! They came out beautifully and sound WAY better than I expected. Vintage drums are work to get restored but extremely worth it!