Feedback: Scratched/Brushed Lacquer

Discussion in 'Horns' started by hendersj, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. hendersj

    hendersj New Friend

    May 28, 2004
    I have been trumpet shopping for some time (fun and frustrating) and have chosen a Kanstul 1500A - just down to deciding whether to purchase one I've played local in lacquer or ordering scratch lacquer (like the looks of) from WWBW

    Has anyone experienced any durability issues with scratch finish on any horn?

    A Kanstul reseller told me that some problems have arose regarding lacquer adhering to scratch finish as well as traditional finish

    I am wondering if this advice may be biased based on the horns this representative has in stock - I trust the person but would like a second opinion

    Anyone have any positive or negative experiences

    Thanks - this forum really helped point me in the right direction in shopping
  2. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Hi Hendersj

    I am afraid you have been told the wrong information completely!

    Anyone who knows anything about the lacquering processes of horns or indeed any finishing will know for a fact that a scratched surface is the best surface for a coating to adhere to.

    It is a polished surface that would have a weaker bond.

    I think you may have guessed correct that what the person has in stock may be dictating what they are saying to you when it comes to the sale.

    It is not just in the trumpet or instrument world where this is found to be true either, when plasterers plaster rough walls they more often than not put on what they call a rough coat of plaster first and when almost dry they score it with their trowels to give the next application a great bonding base.
    If you like that finish then go for it!

    Out of interest you might want to ask this person a few questions of your own on the phone!
    1 what type of lacquer do they use then?
    2 At what temperature is it stoved off?
    3 Do they use a pre oven drying off period? and if so for how long?
    4 How long is it baked for and at what temperature?

    If they cannot answer these questions for you on the phone straight away then they are not in my opinion fit to answer any others about lacquer.

    I should add that the other reason that they may have told you this is that they may have been misled themselves by someone else?

    Just my opinion!!


  3. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London

    Note to self : never answer any questions about lacquer.

    By the way Leigh, I had heard the thing about scratch finishes wearing off faster too, so it might be a common myth?
  4. Hornie

    Hornie New Friend

    Mar 14, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Leigh, since I just got a horn in brushed lacquer, your words are good to hear.


    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    The average salesperson would have no idea about such things. They could of course call the company and ask -- some might even consider it a trade secret.

    The best they could say is it is a cellulose lacquer (not likely on a newer horn) or an epoxy lacquer. Anyone who has finished or refinished a horn could answer those questions -- but even if you get answers, what does it mean?

    Is it better to pre-oven dry? Are there diminishing returns? The temperature matters for what reason? Depends some on the lacquer mix, etc.

    These are very complex questions that depend a lot on what lacquer and mix of lacquer is used. Humidity is a factor (long been a problem for Weril in Brazil until recently). Environmental control is a factor. Lots of factors!

    The scratched surface does make a nice surface to adhere to. Kanstul's scratched finish upon inspecting several horns seems very nice. Do you really need to know the oven temperature to make a lacquer decision?

  6. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Oh come on Jim, you know me well enough by now!

    I was in no way saying that the players need to know anything about the lacquering set up, what i am saying is that a dealer who is willing to say that scratch surface lacquers are not as good as polished surface ones should have done this himself to be able to give out his opinion like that.

    If i need some info on fixing a part of my car i'll ask a guy who fixes cars, not a guy who watched someone else fix one once.

    You know as well as i do that this dealer had that particular polished finish horn in stock and wanted to sell that one instead of the customer going direct to kanstul or waiting for that one to come through.

    I know that it isnt easy out there with many dealers and too few customers, but these kind of selling tactics are just not right in my opinion.

    I am lucky that i have a dealer there that tells it just like it is, no more no less. If he needs any technical info about the manufacturing side of things then he phones me! he doesnt guess at it or make something up just to sell a horn.
    That is the kind of trust you need when working overseas with dealers.

    I am sure that you run your ship in much the same manner Jim from what i have read :)


  7. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    Leigh, can you tell something about the proces of scratching or brushing surface. Do you use special polishing paste to get the effect.

    And are you using a silver layer or copper layer when you do the scratch gold finish, or is it put directly on the raw brass ?
  8. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Hi Erik

    No i don't mind telling you the way we do it at all!

    Firstly from manufacture we need to de-solder the entire instrument from the blueish stains that are left
    Then i polish the whole instrument lightly, this gives us a great surface and will show up anything that i do not like! Scratching straight away is easier but can hide some things that are not correct and that is not our way.
    Then if itis a fully scratched horn we hold the instrument on a trumpet bell mandrel and set about scratching the horn by hand (no machines used) with 3M scotchbrite pads until the desired effect is reached and the horn is covered.
    We then do exactly the same thing again 2 more times with different and softer grade scotchbrites until we reach the final soft scratch effect that we prefer.

    You can of course do just the first scotchbrite and leave it at that, but its just down to personal preference.

    Surgical gloves are used throughout these processes as sweat from your hands can very easily stain the scratched areas and cause you to go over it all again.

    For a scratch instrument with polished accents:-

    Before any scratching i will polish to a rouged finish (mirror finish) the parts of the horn that will be staying shiny
    Then those parts are very carefully masked off (covered) with tape and then we can carry on with the scratch areas while not affecting the polished ones.
    Then of course the tape is removed.

    After this the horn is degreased for lacquering

    Many companies use chemical degreasants in degreasing tanks!

    We used to use this many years ago and it is on the whole very good,however in the UK and europe certain chemicals that we used for this have been outlawed as hazardous to the enviroment (rightly so)

    Many chemical suppliers have made what they see as replacements for this but i never thought that they were as good.

    This post is gonna drag on i can see it now! :lol: sorry folks!

    A degreasing tank is great as it does degrease all in one go in seconds,a tank is about 3ft by 3ft by 4ft deep.
    The tank has heating elements at the bottom

    The degreasant is poured into the tank until it covers the elements by about 2 inches or so.
    When the elements heat the liquid to a certain temperature it starts to bubble and a very hot mist starts to form (just like fog) this builds up and starts to rise up the tank.
    Of course if this is not controlled the mist would come out of the tank and fill the room , so at the top of the tank cold water pipes run around the perimeter.
    The hot mist reaches this point and is kept down to that level by touching the cold pipes.

    The tank is then ready to use and what you do is simply to have a rod or jig that you can hold the instrument on safely and firmly, you then dip the whole instrument into the mist (just the mist) not the liquid at the bottom!

    Dipping for only a few seconds is enough

    The hot mist will take away all dirty polishing deposits left behind or indeed any grease completely.

    The horn may need just a wipe over after this to takle care of the odd liquid stain, but that is it! it is then ready for the lacquering.

    Sorry again so long!

    We on the other hand do it a different way! takes a longer time but works great and doesnt give us problems that some people get later on.

    We use industrial steam machines by hand to go over the whole instrument with very hot jets of steam, it is very effective and gets out dirt from everywhere.
    We then go over the horn with soft cloths and cold degreasant to catch any grease that may have escaped us.

    The we are almost ready for lacquering!

    The instrument is corked up in every hole so that no lacquer can be sprayed inside the valve section or slide tubes.
    The instrument is then put into the oven to warm it up for 5 minutes or so.
    This does 2 things:-
    Firstly it heats the horn up which aids the spraying process, lacquer does not like to be sprayed onto too cold a surface.
    And secondly the heat will evaporate any residue of grease that we may have possibly missed (a fail safe!)

    After this the instrument is sprayed by a small Greek man called John (my partner)
    After he has covered with lacquer how he wants the horn is hung up from a rail and left,to allow the lacquer to cure (go tacky) for 10 mins or so.
    Then the horn is hung in our oven at 160oC for 25 to 35 minutes depending on the instrument.
    When the time is up the horn is taken from the oven, hung up and allowed to cool.

    It is then ready for final finishing!!!

    I think thats the most writing i'e done since i left school! :lol:

    Well like i said i am sorry to drag this on but it may help some people understand what goes on??
    Of course some people already know.

    Warning!!!!!!! Do not think of baking a horn in you wifes or mom's oven at home, it is not the same thing at all !!

    This could be highly dangerous and very likely life threatening!

    Lacquer is highly explosive and must be vented correctly when baking it!

    Our ovens have blast walls in one side of them that will explode outwards if a build up of fumes were to explode, saving the lives of anyone within 30 to 40 feet of the explosion.

    The lacquer that you guy's may use at home from a can is air drying lacquer anyway and does not need baking.

    I hope this helped Erik?


  9. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Sorry Erik

    After all that i forgot to tell you about the plating!

    We use a flash plate of silver under our gold, it is very good!

    The secret of great plating is down to the surface of the material that will be plated
    It must be prepared to a fantastic standard in order for the plate to adhere to it, the worse the surface the worse the plating.



    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Oh I agree. It was a salesman's tactic. Whether they had done one themselves are not, they should know. In graduate school I sold new and used cars for a friend of mine who inherited his father's dealership.

    I only worked Fridays and Saturdays when he needed extra help. One month I was salesperson of the month, out selling everyone. How did I do that? By being honest and by knowing the product. I could answer questions. If I couldn't, I would find out. If I didn't have one in stock, I would try to find one -- somewhere.

    I had someone order a mouthpiece from me that was out-of-stock and backordered for at least a month. It was for a HS player's birthday the first week in July. I bought a mouthpiece from my competitor at retail, and shipped it so this kid could get his birthday present on time. I lost money on the deal -- but hopefully I made a player's day.

    A salesman needs to have some character IMO. Otherwise, go elsewhere.

    I have great respect for what you do Leigh! Your explanation above was excellent (although here in the US I believe they still degrease most of the time chemically -- they just have to handle the chemicals via EPA protocols).



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