Emergency repair and maintenance kit

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by GijsVis, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    Hey all,

    I've been thinking about putting a repair and maintenance kit together for a while, since a lot of people already come to me to ask to do maintenance or do little things like replacing corks and such or what to do about this or that problem on their instrument, I thought of making a kit to help straight away, rather than taking it home. (And my conductor will love me for keeping 'his' orchestra together :lol: ). By no means I want to perform mayor or professional repairs, but just the little things and some cleaning

    I want to keep it compact, so I might be able to just put it in my case.

    What I came up with putting in yet are:
    - Oil and grease, quite obviously, to make parts moving again
    - Penetration oil, if something is stuck, that might loosen it up
    - A small rubber/rawhide mallet and a small pencil torch
    - A conical mouthpiece brush, to clean mouthpieces or other tubing or valves
    - A small flashlight, to check within tubing
    - I will be munufacturing a mouthpiece puller soon with an old friend of my father, who is the instrument maker of the University of Leiden
    Other peoples ideas:
    - Swiss army knife/leatherman
    - Spare parts (corks, felts)
    - Small screwdrivers and a pair of flat smooth jaw pliers

    Now I'm posting this because I'ld love to hear suggestions about what to add or remove or how to do things with relatively low tech gear. I'm also wondering about woodwind instrument repair and cleaning, I don't know a lot about that, but I would like to learn about is, since a lot of people also ask me about that (stuck pads and stuff).

    Anxiously waiting,
    Gijs (Adrian)
  2. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    It might not be worth making a mouthpiece puller they are already comercially available at a low price. You might want to add a few spares to your list, water key corks for example. As for woodwind well I find a blow torch to the wood usually sorts the metal bits out as they come out of ash very easily.
    GijsVis likes this.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    A Swiss Army knife can be useful as well.
  4. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    Well it's a nice learning project to make a mouthpiece puller and it isn't that hard at all, with the machinery available at my work, so that won't be that much of a problem. As for parts, we can probably make it out of spare or left parts out of our stock, so costs will be close to none.

    Spare parts are a great idea, I'll add some water corks and felts, any other suggestions?

    I thought it would be splendid; using the torch on the woodwinds will turn our orchestra into a brassband! :lol:
  5. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    A torch is a horrible idea to give to anyone not trained in instrument repair, unless of course you are a repair tech trying to get more business.
  6. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    As a semi-professional welder and a machine maintenance and repair tech, I'm quite familiar with torches, so I know how to use them and what damage they can do, I've soldered before on brass instruments, which did go as planned. I don't plan to do mayor repair jobs like fixing valves, I do know when to send them to a professional musical instrument tech, but what I would like to know is what to use and perhaps some information about pro's how they do it.
  7. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Having attended a week long music camp averaging 100 people for the past 24 years with an extensive tool kit and a shoe box of assorted brass instrument parts the only on site repairs I have been called to do was drilling a hole in a replacement violin tuning peg, fitting a new screw to a music stand, replacing an arm screw in a pair of glasses, a broken trumpet valve spring and a waterkey spring.

    Of course there have been saxophones dropped and bent, not the sort of repair that can be easily done on site, violin strings broken, I expect the strings to look after their own. The camp is a 4 hour drive from major repairers.

    I would add to your list a set of small screwdrivers and a pair of flat smooth jaw pliers. Take the scenearo of a trumpet on a stand is knocked over, two of the valves are now sticking intermittantly, oiling does not help, this is a common ocurrence and usually requires the attention of a skilled technician.

    Regards, Stuart.
  8. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003

    I see from your other thread that you are 17...that is pretty young. Please don't take this as an ageist statement, but here goes..

    I am a professional repair tech, I went to a technical college after apprenticing in a music store and got trained. I am still learning all the time. That said, I remember when I was 17, I thought I knew much more than I actually did. You can do a lot of damage really quickly with a torch, a mallet and a homemade mouthpiece puller if you think you know more than you really do. I would recommend you send these repairs to a trained tech, and maybe ask to watch for a while in exchange for all the business you will be bringing him. You are 17, at this point in your life, it is your job to learn, not work. Please don't take this as me putting you down, I'm not saying don't play around with instrument repair, I'm saying don't hone your skills on instruments that your fellow students/musicians need on a daily basis. What happens when you take your torch to free a stuck tuning slide and the solder joint holding the brace/spit valve/finger ring pops off? What if the lacquer burns? Can you fix it so the horns owner won't be able to notice that it happened? Will they be happy about it after the fact? All repair techs make mistakes, even ones who have been doing it for 30 years. The real pros have the skills (or materials) on hand to make it right before returning the horn to the customer. Again I'm not saying don't practice repair, I'm not saying don't make your own puller (although I don't see why you want to, the bobcat which works nicely can be had for under $50, any machine shop would charge much more than that in labor alone to fabricate one, consider what you'd charge in your machine shop...time is money.) I'm not saying you're not skilled or competent, I'm just saying that learning on peoples instruments is a bad idea. It is nice of you to volunteer to do these repairs, I assume for free, but you have to realize that by doing that you are
    a. taking money out of the pockets of your local repair tech, money they count on to pay their bills
    b. putting yourself in financial danger, what happens if you do damage a horn while trying to fix it, and you can't make it right? My guess is the owner will insist that you pay for the horn to be repaired in a shop, like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.
    c. you will be learning repair using tools and supplies that were not really made for the industry. Not all mallets, greases, oils, torches etc...are the same. Using the wrong tools early on in your repair career can make you learn bad habits. This is especially true for the torch, learning on a torch that is much too hot or not hot enough will make things difficult for you later in life when trying to use the correct tools.

    So in conclusion, get some water key corks, some springs, some valve oil and a mouthpiece brush. If you have a problem that can't be fixed with those supplies, take it to a shop and ask to watch.

    Please don't be offended by this post, just my honest advice.
  9. Jolter

    Jolter Piano User

    Apr 1, 2009
    Seconding the multitool. I always bring my trusty Leatherman Blast to gigs. More than once, some saxophone player has had a need to bend a spring or adjust a screw, and a multitool is adequate for that. I prefer lending the tools and have them learn to repair their own instruments, rather than getting involved myself. Last time was at a symphony gig where a number of music stand lights were drooping and blinding the people in front.

    I find that between all the brass players, there is usually enough oil to go around for most purposes.

    If a mouthpiece gets stuck at band camp, it's hardly a disaster (until someone tries to fix it and fails). It's an annoyance when it won't fit in the case, that's all. Have a repairman fix it when you get home.
  10. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Throw the Swiss Army Knife and the pliers away and get yourself a Leatherman or a Bucktool that can be used for mjost occasions. Only - for brass instrument - emergency repaiors - get a smaller one with adequately sized pliers. For woodwind repairs, you'll need the bigger versions with the big hacksaw... ;)

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