Polish/clean silver plated trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Shebulba, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Shebulba

    Shebulba New Friend

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    Dec 23, 2014
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    Hello dear forum!
    So I have I silver plated horn that needs to be polished/cleaned on the outside. I dont think it have ever been that before, so how's the best way to do it? I would want it to look like new again!
    Thanks for tips and help :)

    Regards,
    Henrik
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    There are many threads about this here at TrumpetMaster. They all involve using a sink full hot water salt/baking soda and aluminum foil. Take the horn apart and put everything except the valves in the water. About 15-20 minutes later, any silver oxide is gone. Rinse the trumpet a couple of times to get rid of the salt water, then oil/grease and reassemble.
     
  3. Shebulba

    Shebulba New Friend

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    I'm feeling insecure that something can go wrong... is that the best way to do it? Isn't there some kind of polish to buy?
     
  4. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Henrik,

    As others indicated, there is the aluminum foil and salt and or baking soda method. The hotter the water, the better. Do some searches on the site and you can get lots of info on it. I often use that method on horns that are slightly to moderately tarnished. For some reason, it doesn't to an extremely good job for me (think it may be water hardness). So for heavily tarnished horns, I use regular silver polish. Yes, a dozen people will respond that it removes silver. It does. However, I have a Bach Strad ffrom 970 that I used silver polish on for for 35 years until I learned about the aluminum foil method. And yes the horn has several places where the silver in worn- but that occurred from acidic sweat while playing outside here in the South, not from the polish. Point being, try the aluminum foil method, then silver polish if needed.
     
  5. catello

    catello Pianissimo User

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    Dec 14, 2009
    Winter Park, FL
    I like Hagerty Silversmith Spray Polish. The spray gives a nice cover in the hard-to-reach places and dries quickly so you can see where to wipe, and where you missed. Wipe with a nice soft cloth (I use old t-shirts) and q-tips for between the valves and other tight spaces.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    This IS the best way. Electrochemistry in the home. What could possibly go wrong?
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    PS: Do this while out bowling with the boys... leave the wife at home!
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Actually, this is very safe to do and I choose to use the laundry room in my home. I do stay at home with my trusty silver coat Schnauzer at my side. We are both alive today to tell you about the experience, and I do believe my dog's coat has also never been shinier.
     
    coolerdave likes this.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    When silver tarnishes, it combines with sulfur and forms silver sulfide (Ag2S). Silver sulfide is black. When a thin coating of silver sulfide forms on the surface of silver, it darkens the silver. The silver can be returned to its former luster by removing the silver sulfide coating from the surface.

    OK, for all you chemistry geeks out there; here it is and why it is safe:

    There are two ways to remove the coating of silver sulfide. One way is to remove the silver sulfide from the surface using a polish, and rubbing the tarnish off to produce a luster. However, this method also removes some of the silver in the process. The other method is to reverse the chemical reaction and reduce silver sulfide back into silver. This method leaves the silver intact, and is the method used in this demonstration.

    In the reaction, the silver sulfide reacts with the aluminum metal. Aluminum is oxidized to aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and the silver in silver sulfide is reduced back to silver metal. The reaction is given below:

    OXIDATION: 2 Al(s) + 6 OH– (aq) –––> Al2O3(s) + 3 H2O (l) + 6 e–

    REDUCTION: Ag2S(s) + 2 H2O (l) + 2 e– –––> 2 Ag(s) + H2S (aq) + 2 OH– (aq)


    3 Ag2S(s) + 2 Al(s) + 3 H2O (l) –––> 6 Ag(s) + 3 H2S (aq) + Al2O3(s)
    Hydrogen sulfide is also produced. The reaction goes faster when the solution is warm.
    Safety: None
    Disposal: Contents can go down the drain.
     
  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    The most safe method is the aluminum foil method. However, I restate that it has worked well for me on mild to moderately tarnished horns. The hotter the water, the better. I have even tried altering a number of variables. For some reason, it doesn't achieve a fabulous result for me however. Have thought it might be that our water is fairly hard here- good bit of calcium.

    While there are those that act like you have committed a mortal sin if you use silver polish, using it is always a possibility if the aluminum foil method doesn't work well for you. Using polish lets you get a really clean horn- then you can use the aluminum foil method to keep it in good shape. (By the way, every shop I know wipes over their new horns that are on display with polish when they start to tarnish).

    One other thing. If you use sodium choride (salt) with the aluminum, be sure to rinse your horn well. Salt isn't the best thing to have left in a horn.




    I'm open for ideas on improving the aluminum foil method.
     

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