A Clean Blessing...again

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by johnMak, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. johnMak

    johnMak Pianissimo User

    Dec 1, 2008
    Ridgecrest CA
    Well, I did it.

    I cleaned my Blessing Cornet for the first time.

    I was thinking about these posts...where they said they use tupperware as a bath...I used the sink again lined with a towel, scary.

    I got 3 mini M&M tubes and glued them to a base to use with the valves as their own tall bath. An idea from the forum. Labeled each one with their valve number and a max fill line as not to soak the pads etc...

    I slowly took the cornet apart and placed it in the sink neatly as not to bang into each other. then I placed the cornet itself in the soapy bath water. Not too warm, I just paid a bundle for this cornet. the snake, the MP brush, the larger brush for the tubing and valves...easy now not too hard with the brushes...but then look inside...get that stuff down in there, out of there. Got it!

    I put it all back together with oil and slide grease and wiped it, and put that shine back on it... Now this is LOOKING GOOD!

    Now for the valves...easy now...which way am I putting them back in?
    I think this is right...here goes the test...

    Ah yes, all is well! it plays just like it did when I first got it.

    I survived my first cornet cleaning.

    But I think I'll look into a better bath tub for the cornet. Maybe a shallow storage tub from wally world, I'll put my own dividers for each piece and that way no chance for dings of any kind.
  2. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2008
    New Zealand
    congrats, it can be scary cleaning a horn, especially a new one. I have dinged slides during this process, like when I forgot to hold onto the 1st valve slide and it shot out in the bottom of the sink. I also worry about losing the keeper nuts from the third valve slide down the plug hole. Next step, when you are feeling really brave in a years time could be an acid bath using CLR (diluted of course), I found it worked a treat.
  3. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    Congratulations! You took the plunge and both you and your cornet survived to play again. I assume your Blessing BCR-XLS Series is silverplate. If so, always remember not to place any music with rubber bands in your case where it will touch the cornet. It will leave a terrible black mark that may or may not come off. Even silver polish has a difficulty removing the black area where the rubber band or rubber product touches the cornet.

    Sounds like you've done a fine job. If it is silverplate, you will eventually have to deal with cleaning it with a quality silver polish. There are several products that TM members can recommend to do the job safely. Most of the newer products leave a film that doesn't require silver plated horns to be polished as much. Usually after you wash a silverplate horn tarnish sets in. Just don't be worried as the silver polish will remove the tarnish and renew the shine. You don't want to use silver polish products more than is needed as some of silver may be rubbed away prematurely. I use Hagerty's Silver Polish while others use Tarnshield by 3M and/or other brands that make the horn look great for a long time.

    Many use a liquid polish (50% polish to 50% water mix as Kanstul uses). Easy on....fast dry...easy off and not as much work to clean out the corners. Some use a very soft flannel rags while others use microfiber materials easily available at discount department stores in the auto products section or at an auto store. The prices are very reasonable for a pack of microfiber cloths.

    If your cornet is lacquer, I just explained a lot for nothing. :oops:

    Best wishes,

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  4. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    This may seem oversimplified, but these instructions will help in order to get comfortable cleaning your horn. Once you have done it a few times you will remember the procedure.

    I have cleaned horns many, many dozens of times. Now, since I was for many years a marine engine mechanic, I am comfortable disassembling complex contraptions, segregating the individual parts, cleaning and lubricating them as necessary, and putting them all back together in the correct order so the reassembled machine operates properly (and there are no parts left over). I have used paper and plastic cups, muffin tins, glass jars, tupperware containers, compartmented trays from tackle boxes and hardware organizers, ice cube trays, egg cartons, and the like, for holding the pieces.

    Don't put the stop nuts, top and bottom valve caps, individual valve components like springs and guides (if you take them apart), finger buttons, or anything else small, in the sink. Fill a bowl or other container with your cleaning/soaking solution and place the parts, you fear losing down the drain, in it instead. When clean, rinse them in a kitchen strainer by dipping it in a container of clean water. If these parts are tarnished, tie them up along with a piece of aluminum foil in a piece of cheesecloth to add to the water/baking soda/aluminum foil electrolytic bath (see next paragraph). You can place that sack of parts in clean water to rinse.

    A towel or plastic sink liner under your horn will keep it from damage. Set it in gently and let it soak an hour. For lacquered horns, warm water and a few drops of dish soap will do. For silver plated horns w/o tarnish use the same. If tarnished use the electrolytic bath - a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom, hot but not boiling water, a cup of baking soda stirred in to dissolve in the water, the horn on top of the foil (slides and bottom caps in place), and soak at least an hour, longer is OK, before removing and rinsing. At this point snake all the tubing you can with a snake brush, and use a valve brush to scrub out the cylinders. (The valves you have done separately) I like to rinse under the shower (or a sink sprayer), running warm rinse water into the bell and out the openings. You can cover the valve cylinder tops with the palm of your hand to encourage the rinse water to run all the way through. At this point I take the slides from a plated horn out for independent snaking and rinsing. For lacquered horns you can do this before the sink soak - put them in a glass baking dish or other separate container so they don't bang into each other in the sink. Spin the rinsed horn slowly around to get the rinse water out, and let the excess water drip out while you hold it bell down and then bell up for a minute. Gently wipe it dry on the outside.

    Sit down at your kitchen table or desk with a bath towel laid in front of you, and place all the clean pieces on it, but put the valve bodies on a lint-free cloth or just on a hard surface separated by non-rolling objects like sardine cans (even IN clean empty ones), the bottom caps, dominoes, anything to keep the valve bodies from rolling away.

    Now you can put the horn back together, wiping down the shiny parts first, then a little grease on the slides, insert them, and add more grease or oil (for the 1st and 3rd ones with saddles or rings) to get the desired freedom of movement. Let the valve barrels air-dry, or use a micro-fiber cloth to dry them. Next reassemble one valve at a time, bottom cap first, a few drops of oil on the barrel, set into the cylinder and let gravity pull it down into place (don't push them down) - it is best to line up the guides with the interior notches so as to minimize the rotating of the barrel to get it to engage properly. Operate the valve gently to make sure it moves freely and is oiled enough - you can pull it part way out and add oil if needed, and once satisfied with the action screw down the top caps. Caps at both ends should be finger tightened gently. If they don't spin into place easily, loosen them and retry. You want to be careful to not cross-thread them and cause damage to the threads. After the valves are all in place, blow through and work them to make sure one none is installed 180 degrees out of alignment - this will cause the air flow to be blocked. If this happens you should be able to tell which one is in wrong, loosen the top cap, lift and gently rotate the valve a half turn and set it back into place and retighten the cap.

    Finally, blow any excess water out the water key(s) and dump slides as needed, give a final wipe-down of the exterior and you are done.

  5. johnMak

    johnMak Pianissimo User

    Dec 1, 2008
    Ridgecrest CA
    thanks for all the good input on the cleaning process.

    I've had trumpets before. The old Conn Director was old and needed cleaning often. Even had it taken to the sho for a chem clean. With that Conn I started seeing a rainbow of colors.

    A pocket trumpet from Ebay, that was silverplated I think. From India, I still use that one from time to time.

    This Cornet, I just bought a bit ago and was very scared to jump right in and clean it. but it needed to be cleaned. Its been a couple months unwrapped.

    I use a towel to line the sink and then place the parts in the sink. I saw the plastic storage bins at wal mart today and one looked just the right size, MmmmMmmmmm.

    CLR for a deeper cleaning than a squirt of palmolive. (I think it was Maggie that recommended that one.) :thumbsup:

    Yes the Cornet is silver plated. Yesterday bought some silver polish. Micro NU-SHINE Cleaner & Polish. Seems the standard stuff at the local music store.

    Sharing my Experiences.
  6. LJH

    LJH Pianissimo User

    Feb 11, 2007
    Dayton, OH
    Here's a suggestion that has worked very nicely for me when I clean my horn(s). At a restaurant supply store I purchased a gray, plastic busboy pan for under $4. It is roughly 24" long x 15" wide x 9" deep. It safely holds any of my horns completely disassembled and submerged for soaking. Best of all, it's a plastic container that if used carefully doesn't scratch or dent and there's little risk of small parts (e.g., end caps) accidently going in the drain! Even more, at the same store I purchased a soft nylon brush approximately 15" long for $.99 that does a marvelous job as a snake.
  7. Nerf

    Nerf Piano User

    Dec 7, 2008
    Virginia Beach, VA
    All these are good suggestions for cleaning/polishing your horn(s). The busboy tub is a good one as well. However, I've always used a bathtub with a regular sized towel. There's plenty of room so you don't have to worry about parts bumping into each other. Just don't forget to clean it after you're finished. Your wife might not like that!!! ;)
  8. pader

    pader New Friend

    Jan 24, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    I always strip the instrument down on a large bath towel at the kitchen table. Put the little things in a small Tupperware tub, slides in a larger tub and lug it all to the kitchen sink filled with hot water. Clean everything that was greased with dish detergent and a little comet cleanser without any real hard scrubbing, only use nylon brushes on the insides. Clean all small parts with dish detergent and a tooth brush.

    After a thorough rinse in warm water, run a 50/50 solution of CLR and water through all the tubes and brush. After another thorough rinse, dry everything with a soft cotton cloth and blow all the tubes with compressed air from a portable air tank.

    Back to the kitchen table on the large towel and assemble with fresh grease and oil.
  9. GoodMusic@PA

    [email protected] Piano User

    Aug 7, 2008
    What is CLR? I have been cleaning my trumpets for a long time and i am willing to try the acid, can you tell me what to use and how to do it?
  10. pader

    pader New Friend

    Jan 24, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    CLR is a lightly acidic chemical cleaner that you can buy in any grocery store or hardware/builder's supply store. I have heard of folks that use it straight in a horn but that frightens me and I find that a 50/50 mixture with water always gets my horns very clean and I have never had any damage of any kind.
    To use it, the horn must be absolutely free of any grease or oil since it would keep the CLR from getting to the metal. I usually just pour it into tuning tubes and let it set (not too long) while cleaning other parts. When I am ready to clean a part , I dip a bristle brush into the CLR mixture and immediately brush the inside of the tube briskly, drain the mixture out of the tube and give it an immediate warm water rinse. For outside tubes that have wear surfaces that are showing any serious staining, I dip a VERRRY SOFT scouring pad into the mixture and lightly scour the brass part followed by an immediate rinse.
    A bit of caution: I do not always use CLR when cleaning. When I do a breakdown for a cleaning session, I use a very strong LED flashlight with a narrow beam and look into each tube, especially down the bell. If no bad looking goop or staining is present, I don't use the CLR. While I have never had a horn harmed with the CLR mixture, I always like to play on the cautious side for the sake of my brass based babies so I try to not overexpose them to anything unnecessary. I don't think that I use CLR on any instrument more than once a year.

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