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WFL Kit

patrickwitherow

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I mentioned this kit in another thread, but thought I'd make an official thread on it. I've been wanting a 24" bass drum for a while now to switch back and forth on my other kits for some sound variety. Nothing for sale was local and I didn't want to pay crazy shipping amounts. I then looked at WFL kits for a while. I have a few WFL snares. -all super high quality in craftsmanship and sound. Having a kit would just be awesome. Then this kit came up for sale (with a 24x14) just 2 hours away and I took the leap.

WFL White Marine Pearl (13/16/24 with matching 5.5x14 SuperClassic snare)
All badges match (WFL Drum Co.) with the address at the bottom of badge
The wrap on all drums has yellowed evenly so they all appear to be of the same age - wrap goes into scarf joint on all drums as well
Nickel hardware throughout
Floor tom has really flat bearing edges. I think these were designed for calfskin heads back in the day. The snare, rack tom and bass drum have regular bearing edges that match my mid-50's snares.
It's interesting in that it came with all different heads probably all at least 20+ years old:

Snare: Coated Diplomat over Remo Snare side
13x9: Remo Reemlar? over a very old coated Weatherking Ambassador 'Tom-Tom'
16x16: Coated Evans G2 over a smooth white no-name head that feels like it could be 2ply.
24x14: Clear Pinstripe batter with a coated Remo Ambassador 'Bass Drum' reso

After a few minutes of tweaking and adding some felt to the bass drum reso head, it sounds pretty darn good. I can't imagine how new heads would sound - I may leave these on for a while as they sound not bad.
Now the question - do I clean them? There are a few rusty parts I'd like to clean and tension rods. Should I polish up the nickel lugs/rims - or leave them? Maybe just give everything a dawn/water bath and leave it at that...?
Should I clean the wrap with Novus2 to get any layers of gunk off? I'd like to keep the yellowing or at least not take it off very much. Now for the pics...

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patrickwitherow

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Those are fantastic!
The 24x14 reminds me of my 22x12 - very little effort to get a big immediate sound. The floor tom is a little hard to get tuned - could be the old heads - but with the flat bearing edges you can't tighten it too much at all or it's choked. Almost like built-in muffling.
 

D. B. Cooper

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If I bought that drumset I would have a hard time not completely disassembling and polishing every last bit of it.
But I'm crazy.


They look equally as cool how they are now, though.
Love the patina'd vibe.
What look are you going for?
 

levelpebble

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Have you checked the reso bearing edge on the 16? I have two WFL kits from the same era, and they don't look like that. As high as the WFL era quality level is, things get out that shouldn't have. Let's see the bottom.
 

patrickwitherow

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Have you checked the reso bearing edge on the 16? I have two WFL kits from the same era, and they don't look like that. As high as the WFL era quality level is, things get out that shouldn't have. Let's see the bottom.
Bottom is the same. I spoke with a WFL expert Kurt Ekstrom who also has a WFL tom with the same bearing edges top/bottom.
 

patrickwitherow

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If I bought that drumset I would have a hard time not completely disassembling and polishing every last bit of it.
But I'm crazy.


They look equally as cool how they are now, though.
Love the patina'd vibe.
What look are you going for?
Well I’ve got two other vintage kits (68 and 63) which are both detailed,polished, etc. I’m tempted to leave this one alone. But, I’d also like to see it shine like it once did. I do like the yellowing of the wrap. I may polish the nickel and keep the shells untouched or just a general wipe down. We’ll see…
 

premierplayer

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I think they look awesome just as they are, and I'm a shiny drum guy.
I vote for knock the dust off and a minimal wipe down.
They really do look nice!
If you go for the full polish you can't go back. Not for fiddy years or so.
Oh yeah did I say they really look nice?
Excellent purchase.
 

patrickwitherow

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You and Kurt have drums with edges that are the exception to the practice. This is what typical early 50s WFL floor tom edges look like. View attachment 584708 View attachment 584709 View attachment 584710 View attachment 584711
Kurt mentioned that he believes mine were produced earlier in the mid-40s right after the war based on the edges and a few other details - such as the aluminum grommet on the floor tom. Another drummer on Instagram commented that their Zephyr kit also has flat bearing edges top/bottom. It may have been a short run of these in the middle 40s (46-48) when the zephyr lugs were being phase out for the classic lugs.
 

patrickwitherow

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I think they look awesome just as they are, and I'm a shiny drum guy.
I vote for knock the dust off and a minimal wipe down.
They really do look nice!
If you go for the full polish you can't go back. Not for fiddy years or so.
Oh yeah did I say they really look nice?
Excellent purchase.
Thank you! Definitely a kit I’ve been wanting for while now. I’m grateful to have them! Yeah, I was thinking that same thing. Once I get them shining…that’s it. I think I’ll do a dawn/water soak and clean up some rusty pieces and get some of the gunk/splatter off the shells. I’ll post pictures once it’s all done…
 

rikkrebs

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Well I’ve got two other vintage kits (68 and 63) which are both detailed,polished, etc. I’m tempted to leave this one alone. But, I’d also like to see it shine like it once did. I do like the yellowing of the wrap. I may polish the nickel and keep the shells untouched or just a general wipe down. We’ll see…
I'd definitely clean and polish everything, but that slight yellow looks great with the nickel hardware.
 

wflkurt

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You and Kurt have drums with edges that are the exception to the practice. This is what typical early 50s WFL floor tom edges look like. View attachment 584708 View attachment 584709 View attachment 584710 View attachment 584711


I have checked out Patrick's set pretty thoroughly on facebook and I am thinking that his floor tom shell might be a leftover shell from the pre-war era. With the exception of the snare, the whole set has the chip style WMP and he also has an older style muffler in the bass drum. WFL was also using white paint in drums here and there in the early 40's and Patrick's floor tom is painted white. The first WFL sets to use classic lugs had small classic lugs on all the toms, including 13's and this set has large lugs. Large lugs on toms started happening around 1948. The rail (clipper mount as WFL called it) first appeared around 1948 so I am tending believe that this set is likely from 1948. the switch to the WMP on your floor tom seemed to happen around 1948-49 but I don't really know for sure. I'm pretty sure there was a period where one wrap was phased out and the new phased in with an overlap in production. It's likely this is true as the snare has the different WMP pattern and it looks to be from around the same vintage as the set. I also know that WFL senior did not like to waste anything so IMO if an old shell was still in inventory, I think they would have just used it up. The earlier WFL drums seemed to have more flat edges as I have seen that on a number of pre-war drums. I also think it took a while for WFL to be consistent with the product. They started off in the late 30's with nothing, were nearly wiped out with the war and had to pretty much build up again in the late 40's. The invention of the classic lug in 1947 as well as the new Speed King designs really helped revamp WFL into a real competitor. Grabbing Buddy Rich as their top endorser was probably the smartest move they could have made, though it is written in WFL II's book that he was a real headache.


Oh and if these were mine, I would absolutely clean those up. Maybe if Buddy Rich himself owned them, I would leave them as is but personally like clean looking white drums. I know they will never really be white again but I would certainly try to make them look as good as possible. That's just me though.
 
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patrickwitherow

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I have checked out Patrick's set pretty thoroughly on facebook and I am thinking that his floor tom shell might be a leftover shell from the pre-war era. With the exception of the snare, the whole set has the chip style WMP and he also has an older style muffler in the bass drum. WFL was also using white paint in drums here and there in the early 40's and Patrick's floor tom is painted white. The first WFL sets to use classic lugs had small classic lugs on all the toms, including 13's and this set has large lugs. Large lugs on toms started happening around 1948. The rail (clipper mount as WFL called it) first appeared around 1948 so I am tending believe that this set is likely from 1948. the switch to the WMP on your floor tom seemed to happen around 1948-49 but I don't really know for sure. I'm pretty sure there was a period where one wrap was phased out and the new phased in with an overlap in production. It's likely this is true as the snare has the different WMP pattern and it looks to be from around the same vintage as the set. I also know that WFL senior did not like to waste anything so IMO if an old shell was still in inventory, I think they would have just used it up. The earlier WFL drums seemed to have more flat edges as I have seen that on a number of pre-war drums. I also think it took a while for WFL to be consistent with the product. They started off in the late 30's with nothing, were nearly wiped out with the war and had to pretty much build up again in the late 40's. The invention of the classic lug in 1947 as well as the new Speed King designs really helped revamp WFL into a real competitor. Grabbing Buddy Rich as their top endorser was probably the smartest move they could have made, though it is written in WFL II's book that he was a real headache.


Oh and if these were mine, I would absolutely clean those up. Maybe if Buddy Rich himself owned them, I would leave them as is but personally like clean looking white drums. I know they will never really be white again but I would certainly try to make them look as good as possible. That's just me though.
Kurt! Thanks so much for your input on these. I listened to the podcast you were on recently and the history behind WFL is really neat. The challenges...big challenges actually, that could make a lot of people just give up on everything - but WFL stood strong, did what he knew to do and did it well. I'm leaning on cleaning these up - it'll be a slow process. No wet sanding involved. I'm liking the yellowed WMP more each day.
 

CC Cirillo

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I’d mildly clean them but not a total polish or shine, but that’s just me.

Such a lovely kit. Congratulations and I’m so glad they are now in the hands of someone who loves and respects the heritage.
 

T-Dub

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I mentioned this kit in another thread, but thought I'd make an official thread on it. I've been wanting a 24" bass drum for a while now to switch back and forth on my other kits for some sound variety. Nothing for sale was local and I didn't want to pay crazy shipping amounts. I then looked at WFL kits for a while. I have a few WFL snares. -all super high quality in craftsmanship and sound. Having a kit would just be awesome. Then this kit came up for sale (with a 24x14) just 2 hours away and I took the leap.

WFL White Marine Pearl (13/16/24 with matching 5.5x14 SuperClassic snare)
All badges match (WFL Drum Co.) with the address at the bottom of badge
The wrap on all drums has yellowed evenly so they all appear to be of the same age - wrap goes into scarf joint on all drums as well
Nickel hardware throughout
Floor tom has really flat bearing edges. I think these were designed for calfskin heads back in the day. The snare, rack tom and bass drum have regular bearing edges that match my mid-50's snares.
It's interesting in that it came with all different heads probably all at least 20+ years old:

Snare: Coated Diplomat over Remo Snare side
13x9: Remo Reemlar? over a very old coated Weatherking Ambassador 'Tom-Tom'
16x16: Coated Evans G2 over a smooth white no-name head that feels like it could be 2ply.
24x14: Clear Pinstripe batter with a coated Remo Ambassador 'Bass Drum' reso

After a few minutes of tweaking and adding some felt to the bass drum reso head, it sounds pretty darn good. I can't imagine how new heads would sound - I may leave these on for a while as they sound not bad.
Now the question - do I clean them? There are a few rusty parts I'd like to clean and tension rods. Should I polish up the nickel lugs/rims - or leave them? Maybe just give everything a dawn/water bath and leave it at that...?
Should I clean the wrap with Novus2 to get any layers of gunk off? I'd like to keep the yellowing or at least not take it off very much. Now for the pics...

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That's a gorgeous rig - congrats! I tend to like my drums clean, but I gotta say, I like these just the way they are. I'd say leave them alone for at least a few months, then clean if you can't stand it. If you clean them now, you can't go back...
 


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