Cleaning, Polishing tuning slides/valve spring cylinders

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hagertheherald, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. hagertheherald

    hagertheherald Pianissimo User

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    In my infinite lack of wisdom, have applied a Scotchbrite pad to my tuning slides and valve spring cylinders. Regrettably, it left a grit behind that really stuck up the valves and slides, though it sure got them bright and shiny looking. :-o

    Took my weeping Bach Strad to my neighborhood music store, who said to just use steel wool when they get really dirty. Whatever they used, it is back to working order, though I wonder if anyone else has a better idea to a) clean the (sometimes heavy) gunk off slides and valve spring cylinders, and b) polish same surfaces?
    Thanks, --HH
     
  2. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    What you claim makes me think that your local music store is wanting you to destroy your current horn, so that you will be in the market for a replacement.


    NEVER use anything as abrasive as Scotch Brite or any grade of steel wool, or any other abrasive on any portion of your horn.


    If by valve spring cylinders you refer to the cylindrical 'spring cages' that the valve springs are encased by, I can't envision why anyone would want to polish them up. Heck, they are hidden inside of the valve casing and can't be seen unless the valve is pulled out of the horn.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  3. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

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    Blitz has a product "Slide and Valve Care"which is a soft cloth impregnated with some sort of non-abrasive, greasy feeling stuff. Whatever it is it works really well. I used it on some really nasty looking slides and it polished them up like new.:D
     
  4. michaelm2

    michaelm2 New Friend

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    HH,

    Which neighborhood music store did you get that advice from. I want to be sure to avoid them.

    Mike
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    giving your trumpet regular baths accomplishes the same goal as taking them yourself - keeps the gunk to a minimum.

    For historical instruments that need to be cleaned the first time I have had good luck with gun wadding. It is like cotton and there is some chemical that eats away the tarnish. Make sure that you really rinse, rinse rinse the horn before reassembling it.

    NEVER USE ANYTHING MORE ABRASIVE THAN TOOTHPASTE!
     
  6. hagertheherald

    hagertheherald Pianissimo User

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    Thanks, Rowuk, forgot about the wadding, I even had some in the basement! Remember it too needs to be rinsed, rinsed, rinsed, thanks. Couldn't agree more about frequent bathing. Need to make more time for this (for the horn, of course) :>) Performing once or twice a week, and practicing an hour a day during the week, how often would you recommend a thorough cleaning?

    May try the Blitz Cloth, Firestas '1, thanks for the tip. Lots of new stuff I am learning about on this site!

    Lou, it may be just my experience, but a good reason for cleaning the outside of the valve spring cage may be that oil works better on a polished surface. Slot in brass where metal spring clip rides sees most of the friction of valve action, if I am not mistaken. Therefore, a clean and polished surface may build a good lubricious film and perform better. Would appreciate your thoughts on this, thanks.--HH
     
  7. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    Lou, it may be just my experience, but a good reason for cleaning the outside of the valve spring cage may be that oil works better on a polished surface. Slot in brass where metal spring clip rides sees most of the friction of valve action, if I am not mistaken. Therefore, a clean and polished surface may build a good lubricious film and perform better. Would appreciate your thoughts on this, thanks.--HH[/QUOTE]


    In my years as an instrument technician for one of the foremost musical instrument makers in the U.S., and as a current 'accumilator' of vintage trumpets and cornets I have yet to see a spring cage that had accumilated an appreciable amount of "gunk". A quick wipe with a clean shop towel in the spring cage slots will almost always suffice. If the edges of those slots were causing any galling of the spring guides the sale of spring guides would be a major form of commerce in the musical industry. It is not. I do agree with some who think that lubrication of the springs and guides is beneficial, because I have seen far too many valve springs with the wire coils flattened on the outside surfaces from wearing against the inner walls of the spring cages. Having stated this, I have never been able to discern any reduction in the quality of the valve action that could be solely laid to any such wear.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless I have been on tour, my regularly played horns get a bath a month but ALWAYS immediately after a tour. The valves and casings once a week with synthetic oil or every day with petroleum based oil.
    Maybe I missed something, but the only time I have every had a valve guide replaced (plastic or metal) was during a complete overhaul after almost 20 years of playing. I am not sure that we NEED to pay special attention here, but cleanliness is next to godliness so it sure won't hurt.

    Maybe Lou could answer this: if a polished surface is so superior for lubrication, why do we lap valves instead of polishing them? I have always wondered about this and never found a conclusive answer other than a polished surface would have the greatest surface friction because of the increased contact area.
     
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    The reason is that a perfectly smooth surface will not retain a lubricant film. In any bearing surface the two surfaces rubbing or spinning against one another should actually never come into contact, but, have an insulating lubricant film keeping them apart.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  10. hagertheherald

    hagertheherald Pianissimo User

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    Thanks, Lou. As a part time blues player, it is good for guys like me to have guys like you and Rowuk on the site. :>)--HH
     

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