Dent Ball question...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by Osren, May 22, 2012.

  1. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    If I want to "try my hand" at trumpet and cornet repair (no OTHER instruments) do I need a full 101 dent ball set N57 Ferree ? Is this OVERkill?
    I've been researching all the other stuff I will eventually need... and yes, there is a TON of stuff... mandrels, vices, hammers, etc... I am aware of all that and the COST of all of that.
    I don't plan on starting out on GOOD trumpets... I have a few beaters screaming for me to fix them :oops:

    if anyone knows the dimensions of some mandrels that I could have a friend make (rather than me buying them...) that would be awesome info as well.

    I have found a wealth of info on WHAT I need... but I have questions on specifics...

    Such as is Ferree's N57G 101 dent ball set drilled/threaded to be put on "dent rods" or are they just drilled to be used with cables and driver systems? I know Ferree's has the ROUND dent ball sets (N80) that can be used on the Knuckle Tools and Rods, but I'm not sure if the N57 Barrel Shaped Dent balls can also be used in this manner.

    I'm educating myself... and I suppose I could email Ferree's and ask them.... Just figured I would start here since I know at least a few of you have some experience in Trumpet/Cornet repair (and some of you are actually PROs!)

    Thanx for any insight you may bestow upon me...
  2. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    when you get good let me know... you can take some dents out of a couple Ambassadors for me.
  3. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    LOL.... if and when I make it there.... you will be one of the first to know! LOL
  4. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    My set of dent and instrument repair tools some purchased, others home made.

    Purchased from Votaw Tools,

    #2486 Barrel Dent Ball Set, 63 balls 3/8" to 3/4" in 0.005" steps. $198.
    #2320 Economy Driver. $118.68
    #2125 Hammer with magnet in handle. $49

    Purchased from local Jewellers Supplier,

    Orica portable gas torch. Around $100.
    Curved Burnisher. $20

    Home made,

    Round balls, 1/4" to 1", obtained from local bearing supplier as loose balls, softened, drilled and tapped for assorted rods.
    2x tapered mandrills
    Miniature version of 2320 driver.
    Slide hammer.
    Lead faced Hammer.

    These enable me to do most dent work on trumpets, the other necessary is experience, I have a good relationship with my instrument repairer who has allowed me to watch him at work and will share his information, he realises I will not be any competition for him and gets my work on my good instruments.

    Regards, Stuart.
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    The N57G is meant to be used with the cable driver/retriever tools, or used by shaking the dent balls with one of the 5 brass drivers. The shake-n-bake method is oldschool, and can cause dents from the inside if you aren't careful.
    For trumpets, the P50 is for the bell bow area, and for the Main Tuning Slide there is also a P series cable tool. I go through the cables every few months, so if you are doing a lot of work, get extras.
    For the other slides and crooks and knuckles you can use the set of 5 or so threaded dent rods and set of 3 threaded dent balls. They are pretty cheap, and extremely useful.
    For bell dents from the bell flare to the rear Z brace, you will need the universal trumpet mandrel, and the universal trumpet bell flare mandrel, although there are many tools for bell flare dents and creases, such as the roller mandrels and bell irons. These quickly get expensive though.
    For leadpipe dents, I suggest getting the Votaw leadpipe mandrel set for straight leadpipes. It is by far the best, although I wish the mandrels were magnetic. Oh yeah, make sure you have a magnet for locating dent balls in tubing.
  6. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    Thanx for the responses thus far...

    I was aware of Ferree's P50 driver... it looks cool and very effective

    I was NOT aware of the "shake-n-bake" method of dent removal... it sounds clunky at best. I would think that lightly applied pressure via ball and rod would be MUCH more effective and cleaner then the random internal "hammering" of a dent ball..... this give me more to ponder I assumed that those barrel dent balls would be put on a cable and pulled through the slides to ease out dents (like they are on the P50 driver for the bell / bow area)... and I do believe I am partially correct in this assumption.

    what sizes (or size range) of threaded dent balls would be the most commonly used on trumpets / cornets for slide and tubing dent removal?

    I have visited Votawtools website, Ferree's weebsite and JL Smith's website --- so I am familiarizing myself with what tools are available.... I just don't always know exactly how to use them (I've also been watching any Youtube video I can find on dent removal in brass instruments).

    unfortunately working with / around my local tech isn't possible at this time.... that would have be most excellent.
  7. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    The N54S set is the one I am talking about for knuckles and slide crooks.
    The P series cable tools are drivers and retrievers. They push the ball under the dent, and then can pull the ball back out of the tubing. The only tool that only pulls the dent ball through the tubing is the French Horn cable tool. You have to bring the ball out the same way you put it in because you are working with tapered tubing and you don't want to bubble out the brass.
    Pushing a ball with a rod isn't a great idea as the rod can slip, or the rod may be pushing against the slide tube, which will put it far out of round.
    However you get the dent ball under the dent, that is only half the battle. The rest comes from shaping it with a hammer or burnishing it with a burnisher or roller either will a ball under, or without.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Dent balls are called that because they actually dent the horn.

    A dent removal specialist insures that the dent created by the dent ball is under a dent created by something other than a dent ball. Optimally, they will neutralize one another. Practically, further techniques are required to remove evidence of both dents.


    thank you for this post. It is a great example about the right way to approach problems: research, ask questions, listen to the advice and then make a decision. I am very interested in pictures of your first "attempts". I am sure that you will be fine.
  9. Pat S

    Pat S Piano User

    Jan 28, 2012
    San Antonio
    There's a "Frankenmittee" horn on eBay that would be an ideal practice instrument... It's a steal at $800 and counting!
  10. Osren

    Osren Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 17, 2010
    Mesa, Az
    LOL I should do a before and after shot... I bet the AFTER will look worse then the BEFORE... and I think I'm all that and a bag of potato chips ROFL

    Seriously, I am trying my best to do this right... and hopefully it won't be a complete disaster -- and if it is, I've noticed recently that Dent Balls sets sell for MORE on Ebay then they cost to order directly from Ferree's... so I guess I know I will get all my investment in tools back at the very least. :thumbsup:

    Lovin the replies so far and thanx to all that have contributed, I really do appreciate it. I KNOW there are plenty of you out there that know your way around a dent ball and burnisher, so please please feel free to contribute.

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