Cleaning a horn- a new perspective

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    Hi gang, I just scored a 1965 Olds special that has been in storage since 1967:-( What a beautiful, original specimen. I have been bathing it to loosen up years of dried up oil and find lots of green gunk coming off the valve caps and onto the rag. Since I cannot wipe the insides with the rag, (I do use a snake) I was wondering if it would hurt the lacquer if I let the horn and valves soak overnight instead of the usual 2-3 hours. I'm using dish soap in tepid water.:roll:
     
  2. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

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    No, it shouldn't hurt it. You got a real find there. Go to the Vintage Horns line and read the posts on Hurray for first vintage horn. I added some posts toward the end as I have just landed a brass 46 King Master cornet with severe tarnishing , but in good shape. There are a number of posts on interior cleaning methods using heavier duty stuff.
     
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    First, congratulations on your acquisition. I have a similarly beautiful Olds Special and it is a very nice horn. I hope you enjoy playing it.

    Regarding the cleaning issue, the only concern about soaking it for any length of time is whether the lacquer has developed some microscopic cracking that allows the moisture to collect under the lacquer. I had one horn that had been stored in a humid area and the brass was all red even though the lacquer was still mostly intact. If your goal is to clean the interior, I would suggest finding some cleaning agents specifically designed for use on instruments (you should be able to find some at a music store or online) and using the snake and other methods to apply it directly to the interior rather than simply soaking for a long time.
     
  4. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    Well, I pulled it out of the bath after two hours and rinsed it off with warm water. Since I am in a wheelchair, some particles of clear celophane like substance, fell into my lap. Alas, I feel the lacquer has come off:-(
    What do I do now:-o The gold and silver colors are still very shiny. No one in town has a good spray booth either.
     
  5. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Yes, it sounds like you have lost the lacquer - or at least some of it and that will lead to the rest coming off in time. So, in that case, as you surmised, it is not a cleaning issue. I have not tried to re-lacquer a trumpet myself. I have touched up a couple where I wanted to preserve the original lacquer but keep the bare areas from tarnishing but that did not work very well. I have a feeling that at the factory they had a special technique (dipping and baking maybe?) because I have never seen a re-lacquered horn (that I know of) that had as shiny a finish as the factory gave it. So, one possibility is to do what a number of us have done and use good quality wax to keep it shiny. I use Meguiar's automotive wax but have read where others have used a furniture wax. Let us know if you find something that works and I will also continue to search the internet to see if something comes up that looks like a solution.
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

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    Didn't I send you my paper on trumpet cleaning some time ago? soaking more than 15 minutes doesn't do any good. This is not baked on grease. You need to use the snake when the tubing is in the soapy water. Just like you would to wash dishes. Be sure and rinse under RUNNING water to clean out any residue. Use a valve casing brush on the valve casings.
     
  7. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

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    I know for old horns that probably haven't been cleaned in a LONG time, my tech uses a chemical batch with a ... hmmm, don't know what it's called...I think it's a device that sends sound waves through the chemicals. It's not goofy star trek stuff...it agitates the chemicals which agitate the crud as it loosens and helps to get it to come off....anyway, with a horn like this, you might want to take it in for a pro chemical cleaning...

    bigtiny
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Bruce, the horn will not play worse without the laquer and it would not have come off if it hadn't been loose anyway.

    In theory, you don't have to do anything. If you want a perfect finish, you will need to bite the bullet and send it aways for stripping and relaquering. I would just play it and leave the relaquering for a future date - maybe..............
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    If tepid water and soap caused the lacquer to come off, you might want to send it off to your local forensic/CSI/Atomic Energy Commision for further tests!

    It might have been cleaned/coated with some Vulgano Brother-like voodoo butter stuff--shoe wax or the like, and I wouldn't feel guilty. Let it get ugly and do some busking.

    Have fun!
     
  10. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

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    OK friends, now that MOST of the lacquer has peeled off, can I repeat the bathing process using HOT water to ensire all of it comes off?
    I can't realy accept car wax as a solution but what else will preserve the shiney finish?
    Ploishing cloths? Polishing paste? Clean lint free cloth?
    ?????
     

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