Big mistake

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by metalmail13, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. metalmail13

    metalmail13 New Friend

    Aug 15, 2010
    Hello everyone I am a new member here, joined because I have questions and well I didn't know who else to turn to. I own two trumpets. A king silver flair, and a getzen eterna severinsen. The getzen was given to me by an english teacher and well I had the king already so I didn't pay it too much mind, I let other players in my band that needed a horn to use it. So three years later I start playing on it a bit and decide that I actually really like it. So I start polishing it and oiling and greasing it and getting it all nice. Only problem is my slide for my third valve was stuck towards the end, It did not affect being able to pull out for a D, but I wanted everything to be removable and to slide nicely. Here is where my stupidity kicks in, I don't know what I was thinking but I decided to get a flat head screw driver and hammer it to try to get it unstuck...and of course it went through. So now I have a nice hole that needs to be fixed along with a big dent that a fellow trumpet player made and a spot needs to be welded. How much do you think that will all cost? I can post pictures up if you guys want.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    It depends upon the shop you take your instrument to. I would take it to the best I could find and take my medicine like a man. Maybe you will learn many times the cheapest way to repair an instrument is to take it to a good tech.
  3. elduque

    elduque New Friend

    Jul 8, 2010
    Upstate, NY
    I know hind-sight is 20/20, but perhaps looking to the TM forum BEFORE taking a screwdriver to your trumpet slide would have avoided this mess. I'm very much a beginner and recently bought a few horns on ebay (to my dismay) and turned to these wonderful folks on the forum for help getting slides unstuck.

    So, my advice to you is for next time. Here are my home remedies for stuck slides. *DISCLAIMER* I am not endorsing these techniques nor do I suggest you perform these methods unless you are willing to accept the consequences yourself! If not done with the utmost care, you WILL do damage to your equipment! Try at your own risk! I wouldn't pull with more than ~10-15lbs of force without risking damage. The straighter the section (like the main tuning slide), the more distributed your force must be to avoid damage!

    While hitting things with a hammer can often be a satisfying means to dispel some frustration, as you have just learned, it can also put holes in stuff. Brass is a very soft metal, and screwdrivers are forged from stainless steel, or even tool steel - very hard and strong stuff. Combine that with a sharp point like a screwdriver head and you have a recipe for holes in your tubing.

    I prefer a pulling method rather than a pushing method - you can distribute the forces you're applying much more easily without special tools. If you insist on banging the slides out, try stuffing the inside of the bend with something soft first, like a cotton ball, followed by a TIGHTLY rolled up piece of paper towel. Then wrap the end of your screwdriver in a few layers of paper towel too. Then, when you hit it GENTLY with a hammer, the pressure won't be so great and you'll at least have a chance of not putting the screwdriver through the soft brass tubing.

    Now, onto the method(s) I've tried that have successfully freed stuck slides WITHOUT damaging the horn. I cannot stress this enough, be gentle and cautious!

    On the main tuning slide, I found that wrapping a hand towel around the bend a few times makes sure you're getting an even pull on the whole length of the bend and makes you LESS likely to put a new bend in it while pulling. Rather than pulling with your hand, use the ends of the towel to pull on it. Don't tug and jerk, gradually pull with more and more force until you're exerting about ~15 pounds of force. I would not be comfortable pulling any harder than that. Also, make sure to wrap another towel around the bell so if/when it releases, you don't ding the bell! This should go without saying, but make sure you're holding onto the horn tightly - nothing worse than getting a slide free and dropping the rest of the trumpet!

    For the other slides, I found that shoelace works quite well (the flat, fat shoelaces, not the round thin ones). Thread the fat shoelace through the bend, wrap it around and thread through again. Then use just like the towel - pulling on the ends. Again, HOLD ON TIGHT to the horn and pull EXACTLY parallel to the direction of the slide. This gives you both a good grip, a dispersed force on the bend (using a fat shoelace instead of a thin one, which could put too much pressure on a single point), and an easy way to make sure you're pulling exactly straight.

    I try not to use any loosening agents. WD40 can strip the lacquer on your horn if it sits there, especially if it's already worn. It will seep under the lacquer layer on any worn spots and peel away the lacquer! So I try to avoid the stuff. If you have a bare brass finish - by all means, WD40 all you want! It's a good penetrating oil that can loosen stubborn slides. Just leave it on overnight, don't expect it to work instantly.

    Good luck next time!

  4. metalmail13

    metalmail13 New Friend

    Aug 15, 2010
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    You tried to hammer the slide in towards the body of the trumpet? The picture is blurry, that looks like a dent on the outside of the crook.

    If you are going to use a screwdriver to remove a slide (which I don't endorse as there are better tools for the job) insert the screwdriver through the crook so that the round part fits in the inside of the crook (choose a screw driver that fills it the most) and then lightly tap on the shaft of the screwdriver with a hammer.

    Elduque, you can not accurately know how many pounds of force you are applying, so don't think of it like that, it is unnecessary.

    I see "DoD" (department of dad) repairs at my shop semi-regularly. SO many times I have had to patch the bottom port on a piston because the child, or parent, or teacher decided to knock out a stuck valve with a pen/screw driver. Mouthpieces removed with pliers is also a fun one to repair.
  6. metalmail13

    metalmail13 New Friend

    Aug 15, 2010
    No, no not from the outside, I took out the slide because it's actually an even smaller slide that was the stuck part, seeing how it was at the end of it I ended up doing what I did :shhh: Oh and for the dent, that was already there. Im thinking it would just be much easier for the repairman to simply replace that part.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  7. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    In my long lifetime I have had to remove a bunch of stuck slides. The method described here is the way that I normally do it. My only additional advice is to use a very light headed hammer. I have used for over fifty years the same upholstery tack hammer with the magnetic end of the head totally removed. The impact loading in small increments is far easier on the solder joints and the shape of the tubing than any pull method that might eventually be effective.

  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I made the same mistake once when I thought plumbing was easy and I thought I could save some money by doing it myself.
    The thing to do is to take it to a couple of different shops in your area and show them what you want done. You'll possibly need to replace the punctured area if it can't be soldered.
    Tell them what you want done, how much will it cost, and when can you get your horn back.
    You might want to tell them that your looking for just "basic" repair.
  9. elduque

    elduque New Friend

    Jul 8, 2010
    Upstate, NY
    I presented my in-home (non-expert) use of the pull method because I'm not comfortable enough not to hit a screwdriver too hard with the hammer and create more problems than I solve. Tools are very hard in comparison to the soft brass. Granted, the shape of the crook gives the brass some additional strength and resistance to any damage, but I'll still leave the hammering to the pro's (such as yourself).

    I only give an approximate "pulling force" to give an idea of how hard I am comfortable pulling without damaging the horn. You're absolutely right, thinking of the force is pretty worthless, especially when the way you distribute the force is much more important. Even more so when only one side of the slide is stuck! That's why taking it to a pro is the safest bet, where they (you) have specialized tools that perfectly fit the contour of the slide to hammer it out, among other techniques.

  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    I can't think of a better way to learn a valuable lesson. I would guess a fix, even a new slide, would be under $100. Horn's worth that, IMO.

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