Good Cleaning Methods

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Phil Kersh, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Phil Kersh

    Phil Kersh Pianissimo User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Provo, Utah
    I have a question about a sticky 3rd valve. When I clean the horn with soap and water, the valve works nicely, but a few days later it starts to hang up. I'm assuming there may be some build up. I am looking for ideas of some good processes that have worked for you.
  2. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze New Friend

    Apr 23, 2007

    Try getting a white scotchbrite pad and trim it down to fit into a cleaning pad.
    The White pad is the finest 3m makes and will help scrub the casing clean.
    If you still have the problem, buy another cleaning rod that you could cut off the end and chuck up to a cordless drill and "polish' the bore.
    Make sure the pad is fitted loose in the bore so you don't over do it.
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Phil, might sound a bit trite but, have you tried more oil more often?:dontknow:
  4. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I have a paper on trumpet maintanance I can send you. e mail me directly.
  5. Phil Kersh

    Phil Kersh Pianissimo User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Provo, Utah
    Ted, thanks for the suggestion. I oil every day, but I'm willing to consider that the oil may not be thin/thick enough. In times past I've had to change the viscosity of my oil to counteract however my saliva is being at that time. I just find it strange that the first 2 valves are a charm and so is the third-for a day or two. I also understand that a good sonic clean may be the best option as well.
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    You mentioned cleaning with soap and water to make it work again. Does that mean only the piston or do you clean the casing, too? What if you simply wipe the piston with a clean cloth - does that allow it to start working again? When the piston is clean and dry, do you feel any binding at all as you remove/insert the piston or rotate it the casing? Has it done this ever since the horn was new?

    These questions relate to the clearance between the piston and casing. In some cases the clearance is so tight that the combination of valve oil and saliva fills the gap and creates drag. Although in such a case, I wonder why it takes days rather than minutes for the condition to show up.
  7. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005

    I had some problems with my horn like this and upon examination my tech (Jim Becker, Osmun Brass) showed me that the plating was worn away on the valve in question. I had the valves rebuilt (it was a 1965 horn and this was just last year so it sorta makes sense....) and it now works like a charm....just pull the valve and see if you can see the plating (nickel, monel, whatever) is worn away at all....

  8. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I have seen this before:
    Never on my horn but on friends:

    When I got my trumpet it came with Ultra Pure oil.
    I love it.

    Both people who had this problem fixed it by using the Ultra Pure oil.

    I am not related to the Ultra Pure guy or any way affiliated with that company.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    NEVER EVER DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Removing ANY material from the valve does not solve the problem. Valves do not get bigger when they wear out, they get smaller. If something is causing the valve to hang, it is NOT excess material on the valve or in the casing.

    Why does the third valve hang? because it is closest to our mouth and gets "thinned out" the fastest.

    Petroleum based valve oils really only lubricate for less than a day. Then the lubricating part has evaporated. The reason that the valve does not stick right away is because the additives that bind water are left - waiting to thin out the next application of oil!

    To oil correctly, you MUST remove the valve, dry it and the casing, then apply oil. Oil floats on water, so dry casings and valves insure the best bond for the oil and the least wear due to friction.

    True synthetic oils do not evaporate as fast (or at all), so they last longer. That is a mixed blessing as regular cleaning keeps the grunge out and we get lazy when we get away with it.

    if this is an old horn, or has worn valves, the thinnest, fastest oils do not have enough viscosity and therefore give up pretty quickly. For older horns I have had excellent results with La Tromba T1 synthetic.
  10. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    It's not as dangerous as it sounds. The white pad is the one with no abrasives, so it's actually reasonably safe to use, although you wouldn't expect to need anything like it for routine trumpet cleaning. I wouldn't use it in a drill, though - it's safe enough for some hand use, but polishing can get out of hand.
    In addition to the oil Rowuk mentioned, Slikstuf valve oil is a good one for valves with looser tolerances; Hetman also makes a similar product. Definitely try a synthetic oil, though; whether you need low or high viscosity, there are several good choices available.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009

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