Older instrument - Mineral deposits in tubes?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mush-mouth, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    Instrument in question: 1989 Selmer Bundy. It was my first ever real instrument, and it has a huge amount of sentimental value.

    I have an instrument that probably was never cleaned correctly. There seems to be a hard mineral build-up in the interior of the tubes. The lead pipe, tuner slide, and the valve slides, and probably the main bell tube are all affected. The valve action is not affected by this build up, but all of the tuning slides are, slightly -- that is, it's not entirely an "internal cosmetic" issue.

    It's a whitish, very hard mineral material that does not respond to soap or hot water.

    This is an older instrument that has seen better days. I'm not concerned about the outward appearance of the instrument as it's terribly bent and dinged up. However, I'd like it to play the best it can.

    External corrosion (and petina, etc) is forgivable, mechanical corrosion is not so much. That said, would a diluted vinegar bath help to dissolve this internal mineral deposit problem, and if so, will it cause any secondary corrosion, (or petina) on the internal tubes that might interfere with the action of the instrument? Is there a better way to remove these mineral deposits from a decrepit instrument?
  2. RUFocused

    RUFocused Pianissimo User

    Apr 26, 2009
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Yes the Vinegar bath will help, or should help anyway, Go buy a cleaning kit that includes a long double headed brush with plastic coating on the wire, a Valve brush and a mouthpiece brush.
    Take the horn apart and wipe off all of the remaining oils and grease. Set your valves aside in a cup filled with water up to the top of the piston and no more and 1 drop of lemon dish soap. Let them sit until you are done.
    In a container soak the horn in a bath of 1:3 Vin:H2O solution and let it sit for 15 minutes. Take the brush and "snake" out all the tubing. repeat if ness.

    When you are done and the mineral buildup is gone then dry the horn completely and the valves and valve casing too.
    Oil and grease.
    Repeat this process once a year at the very least.

    No, it shouldn't harm the external at all.

    Good luck!!
  3. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    Thanks Jason!

    This particular horn literally went through hell and back!! (house fire)...

    After posting this, I went back and looked through all the valves and pistons, and noticed a small amount of "rust" on the first valve piston. It looks like Iron rust, but is perhaps some other kind of alloy corrosion. However, it does not affect the action of the instrument. In all likely hood, this particular corrosion spot has been there for 20 years. It does not impede the action of the trumpet, however, I can feel the spot with my fingers when rubbing the valve piston itself. Should I worry about this spot? I don't really think so. If it takes a decade to become a problem then I don't care. And like I said, the valve action is fine.

    I think I answered my own question. I'll leave be...

    Thanks again for the advice. I'll fix this first thing on the morrow.
  4. mush-mouth

    mush-mouth Pianissimo User

    Aug 3, 2009
    Edit: repeat post
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Vinegar isn't strong enough to remove mineral deposits.
    Get yourself some generic mineral remover at a hardware store or a farm supply store.
    It will be a mild acid. Dump it in and let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse it out.
    That should melt away the deposits. CLR and Lime Away work for this too, but are more expensive for no good reason.

    The spots on the valves are evidence of the plating wearing thin and the brass underneath is reacting with the air and other "stuff" it contacts. Eventually it will start sticking.

  6. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    Mineral depoits aren't the biggest problem trumpets are degisnged to withstand a normal amount of mineral desposits. Just get it professional chemical cleaned and they will clean and remove some dents. Then from there just clean it your self about every 3 months and get it chemcal cleaned once a year.

    Also be sure to wipe the instrument once your done playing from day to day.
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I also have a Selmer Bundy about that same age that has 'been through a war'. I am in the process of cleaning it. Mine does not seem to have the mineral deposits that you describe so I will not address the interior cleaning any more than has already been recommended. But, I am planning to strip the lacquer (which is shot) and then hand-polish it. Like yours, the valves still work fine so I am not planning to do anything with them.

    There are a number of threads on this forum that deal with stripping lacquer, removing tarnish and red brass and polishing the raw brass. You might want to do a search for something like 'aluminum foil' as many of these threads discuss a method of cleaning (after disassembling the trumpet as described in other posts here). This method involves wrapping the trumpet in foil and then soaking it in a bucket of boiling water (I use a large laundry tub which allows the trumpet to be completely submerged) with some 'sodium carbonate' for several hours (Note - this is not baking soda; it is in some laundry products, I use BIZ pre-laundry conditioner). The hot water will help remove the old lacquer and the aluminum foil, launday soap and brass, form a low-voltage 'battery' which helps to reduce the tarnish on the surface and then the brass can be polished with metal polish or cleaner/wax. The other threads will give more details.

    I have used this approach on at least 10 trumpets and have had very good results on all of them. I have not done it on my Bundy yet but I plan to do it tomorrow so I will post the results on this thread when I have done it. I am also experienceing with TARN-X which appears to be comething completely different from any other metal treatment but I have not yet figured out how it works so I will try that in various ways as I go along and let you know what I find out.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I second this. I have a paper i wrote on trumpet maintainance. If anyone is interested in a copy just e mail me directly.
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    As I promised, I did a clean and strip of my Selmer Bundy over the weekend. I disassembled it, wrapped the body, the tuning slides, and the valve caps in aluminum foil and put them in a plastic tub filled with boiling water mixed with 1 cup of Biz laundry pre-soak powder and left it for 2 hours. When I removed the parts, the lacquer peeled off like loose cellophane and left the exposed bare brass. An intersting note is that during the soaking, I could see continuous bubbles rising from the parts and when it was done, the aluminum foil was black and almost completely disintegrated which shows how vigorous the chemical action is.

    I then used a combination of Mother's Billet Metal Polish and Mequiar's Cleaner/Wax (automotive stuff) to polish the brass. It came out looking great. I greased the slides, cleaned and oiled the valves and put the whole thing back together. The brass that had been protected by the lacquer polished nicely but there were numerous scratches, gouges, and some pretty severe pitting that are still visible. It would take some significant mechanical buffing to take off enough metal to remove all of those flaws but most are small enough that they are not noticeable from 5 feet away.

    Prior to the cleaning, the trumpet looked like it would never play again. The bellpipe looked like someone very heavy had sat on it and it was curved so badly that both the front brace and the 2nd valve brace had buckled and broken loose along with the leadpipe 2nd valve brace. (I have not had those fixed yet but I used a plastic wiretie to hold the thing together.) The bell has a crease in it. The water keys were missing springs and corks (I replaced those.) The valves looked to be in ok condition and when I checked the compresson (by removing the 1st valve slide, pressing the 1st valve, putting my thumb over the 1st valve outlet pipe, and blowing into the leadpipe - this method tests all 3 valves at once) I found it to be nearly perfect (barely noticeable leakage).

    I then played it. I was totally amazed. I has a nice, clear, bright tone to it. The valves are very free and fast. It is really an excellent player. I don't know about the history of this model and how it is perceived generally in the marketplace but I find it to be a very credible model.

    Here are some before and after photos. The first shows the bent bellpipe. The second shows the tarnish and staining as well as the broken front brace due to the trauma that caused the bending of the bell. The last two are after the cleaning/polishing.
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Danger! Danger! Danger!

    Vinegar (acetic acid) plus brass (copper) results in verdigris, nasty stuff. To kill it, (or other acids) rinse your horn with baking soda and water, then water. To disolve it, alcohol will work.

    Have fun, and stay well!

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