Besson re-lac job

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Cornet1, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Cornet1

    Cornet1 Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2005
    Essex, England
    This follows on from my recent topic about what lacqueur to use to re-lac my 45 year old Besson 'Stratford' trumpet,...various followers of this forum were friendly and helpful in my queries about finding the right lacqueur product to use and several were interested in the project so this is an 'update' for those who are interested,...I apologize to those who find this sort of thing boring!

    I now have several lacqueurs and varnishes to use/experiment with and have had several 'dummy runs' using various methods of application,....the lacqueurs are for a variety of different purposes in industry and give widely different results on the clunker trumpet and various brass items which I have used for tests,.....I have also worked out a spray sequence for the work...this is quite complicated to figure out but I am now ready with the various masks to carry out spray and other application methods in the order which seems to offer the best advantages. However, all the laqueuring stuff has now been set aside while I get to grips with preparing the instrument ready for the new finish,.....choosing the laqueur has turned out to be the easy bit so far!

    The Besson Stratford was a medium priced, semi-pro trumpet when it was on the market in the early 60's, being used by the armed forces related dance orchestras of the Uk (which had survived from WWII) notably 'The Squadronaires' and 'The Red Rockets' and 'Blue Rockets' etc. I doubt it would satisfy the trumpet fanciers of this site!

    Because of seemingly mysterious manufacturing techniques, and the ravages of time and corrosion, it will not be possible to restore the finish to look like the new instrument. It has been/is very difficult to prepare the surface of the brass in the same way as with the 'clunker' trumpet....For a start, the Besson has about FOUR types of apparent plating as well as two types of lacqueur!!......the badly corroded bell section has been given a satin finish and has come up really well ready for the laqueur...The valves were plated with what appears to be a harder brass and reworking this to restore good appearance is very time consuming/difficult and has neccessitated the devising and making of some special tools and totary burnishers for the Dremel. The slide housings are nickel and these have also turned out to have been nickel plated on top! more work getting back to a smooth surface. All nickel parts and the slides will be polished back to mirror finish to contrast with the satin bell, valves and leadpipe. Lastly, all the small bits and pieces such as screws, valve caps, waterkeys etc have been under the Dremel and its tiny wire brush.

    One problem is the valve buttons which are not all the same!!!!....this bugged me even as a boy, of the buttons is from a different batch of parts and is lightly smaller!.......Also, these are impossible to re-lac as the 'pearl' tops cannot be removed by any means I have tried....So, it looks like time for new valve buttons......Which I still have to source.

    So this is where I am at....I put in 1 hour a day on the trumpet and the work is both satisfying and frustrating by turns!.....satisfying when a part comes up really good and frustrating in that there are many hours still to go and my next trumpet project is burning a hole in my brain!

    Kind regards to all who are interested to look over my shoulder,..Bob
  2. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004
    Thanks for the "up-date", Bob.

    As I believe I mentioned in previous posts, the preparation effort and time far outweighs the actual application of the lacquer. Spending proper time in this area makes the major difference in a fine job, and a "so-so" job.

    Keep us apprised ....

    Robert Rowe
  3. Cornet1

    Cornet1 Pianissimo User

    May 22, 2005
    Essex, England
    Well, at last I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!......

    Most of the trumpet and its bits and pieces are cleaned and textured ready to re-lac. Only the inside of the bell has not been touched as yet. Not the "beginning of the end", but certainly the end of the beginning and the project is now looking quite exiting! The mirror polished slides contrast nicely with the scratch/satin bell and valve jackets.

    I have found an answer to the old valve finger buttons,...these have been filed down and covered completely in synthetic horn covers 'Araldited' on. . The colour and pattern looks very stylish against the satin brass and they were a simple turning job to make.

    I have some good pix of the job so far and am looking for a hosting site somewhere on the web.

    Regards to those interested, Bob

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