How "hand made" is a Schilke?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by WFUnix, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. WFUnix

    WFUnix New Friend

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    Dec 8, 2003
    On a thread on TrumpetHerald, one poster claims that V-Raptors claim to take 14 hours of assembly to build, while Schilkes take 4 hours. I thought Schilke Trumpets were hand made? I'd love to hear what some of you have to say that are in the know. I haven't had the opportunity to visit the Schilke factory yet.

    Thanks,

    WFUnix
     
  2. Happy Canuck

    Happy Canuck Piano User

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    Oct 31, 2003
    Toronto, ON Canada
    On Jim's Schilke Loyalist site he has one reference that it took 80 hours to assemble a horn. Whoever gave you the 4 hour number would be in error, I think!

    The M-series trumpets had almost nothing in common with the manufacturing quality and quality control found in Schilke's "custom" horns, as they were not manufactured of the same parts or with the same processes. According to a former employee, they were often assembled in an hour, whereas Schilke used to brag that the "real horns" required 80 hours of manufacturing time.
     
  3. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    That was me over on TH, quoting what KO told me at ITG.

    80 hours IS NOT a real number. At $40 per hour (an extremely low, all in labor cost, including benefits) the labor alone would be $3,200. Schilke would not be in business today if that were so.

    KO was telling me that the difference in time comes from things like fitzing with the receiver for two or three hours; soldering it, then testing it, then unsoldering it, moving it, retesting it, etc. They claim to do this type of obsessive assembly on all critical element, including bracing, receiver/leadpipe, valve lapping, etc., etc.

    Whether Reeve's time is efficient, I have no idea. It wouldn't be surprising if someone that had been assembling 50 horns per month for ten years were at the task, they might be five times as fast and just as good, or better, than someone that's yet to complete 100 horns.

    I suspect that the Reeves group isn't entirely efficient and might spend have as much time as KO suggests with more experience. Schilke's assemblers may be more experienced and efficient, such that their horns are just as well made as the V-Raptor. I've played and examined both closely and could not point to any quality differences other than I preferred the V-Raptor.

    Dave
     
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Fit and finish on my Schilke is immaculate...not a flaw to be seen anywhere. I believe that they do at the factory what the guys who "rebuild" other brands of horns do in their private shops (for an additional price of course). If, as you say, they take the extra hours to hand fit everything...why then that's what you pay for and that's why they have a reputation for consistency and accuracy.

    Have you ever looked into the bottom caps of a Schilke? I have... THEY ARE NUMBERED with the correct valve number. I presume this is to ensure that the flats line up when they are put on.

    "Quality is in the little details"
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2007
  5. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    Yes, no doubt, Schilke makes a great product. Almost bought one myself. ;-)
     
  6. theoldmaz

    theoldmaz New Friend

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    Jan 30, 2004
    Oak Park, Illinois
    Schilke Build Time

    It takes about 45 hours to produce a Schilke Custom Trumpet. This is because each of the instruments is built to order using parts that must fit perfectly. All the tubing is honed, hand fit and lapped as are the valves and casings. There are no soldering jigs, robotics or prefabricated parts imported from Mexico, China, or Europe. It's all done with care and great skill by the same people that have been building Schilke Trumpets for over twenty years. Once they're put together and ready for final finishing, they are inspected and refined to what has become known as Schilke quality standards by the same person that has done so for over forty years. After plating, the slides are hand-lapped and aligned, the valves are honed and fit, hand-lapped and, finally, the instrument is throughly cleaned in a state-of-the-art ultrasonic bath and de-ionized water rinse.
    I think all of these details mean very little without understanding that Schilke never wanted to make a lot of money or a lot of trumpets; what he wanted was to make the best trumpet in the world. History will be the judge of how well he succeeded.
     
  7. trpguyy

    trpguyy Piano User

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    Nov 26, 2003
    Sorry, but I don't believe that they take 45 hours to make. If that is the case, Schilke sure wasn't looking to make a profit. Anyone know of any other trumpet makers who pay money for people to buy their horns? (no ZeuS jokes please). Schilkes are great horns, I'm getting mine next week. But there's no way that I can buy mine new in the store for $1,700 if they take 45 hours to make.

    EDIT: hahahahahaaaa...that's Schilke Custom trumpets you were talking about...haaahahah whoops.
    What I said is still true though. "Regular" Schilkes don't take 45 hours to make. :lol:
     
  8. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    Denver
    Still, I'm curious to know how much time is spent on a production (non-custom) Schilke. Is KO totally out of line in his four to six hour statement?

    Dave
     
  9. theoldmaz

    theoldmaz New Friend

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    Jan 30, 2004
    Oak Park, Illinois
    Truth or Fiction

    If you add the number of people who are involved in the production of the Schilke trumpet(man/hours per week) and consider the number of trumpets made, on average, per week( 20 to 25) and aslo consider the possibility that Schlike Trumpets are extremely underpriced, you might begin to understand why they are the most amazing value in the business.
     
  10. theoldmaz

    theoldmaz New Friend

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    Jan 30, 2004
    Oak Park, Illinois
    There is no such thing as a non-custom Schilke.
    KO has no idea what he is talking about! And I do, because I've worked for the Schilke Company for forty-two years. :!:
     

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