Restoring an old cornet

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by fatpauly, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    Leigh McKinney of First Class Brass is finished restoring my 1887 Boston 3-Star "Ne Plus Ultra" cornet. I have posted the whole process online at:

    Comments or questions welcome. Thanks to all who were involved in the restoration of this beautiful instrument. I can't wait to get to play her once again.

    - Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
  2. Annie

    Annie Piano User

    Nov 13, 2003
    Oh wow. When I get the cash, I'm gonna send my Holton to him - no bad damage, but it's in bad condition - the valves need to be restored and in general it could use an overhaul!
  3. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    It's a great job, Paul. I saw photos of Thevor's Olds Ambassador that Leigh just finished this week and is shipping back today. I won't steal Thev's thunder but... Oh man, is that ever one beautiful looking trumpet. I'm not knocking the work that AlaskaProHorns does, but it sure puts them to shame. Can't wait to see what he does to the Eterna cornet of mine.
  5. BigBadWolf

    BigBadWolf Piano User

    Nov 30, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    I realise that this is an old thread, but it was just linked in another. So, my question is, how much does something like this cost? I have, from time to time, seen some horns that I would like to get, but they are in terrible shape, similar to the above. But, I don't want to end up putting $1500 into a horn like that. If a rebuild is reasonably priced then I might be more apt to purchase one of thessse horns.
  6. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Yeah, I was curious too... I just didn't want to bring an old thread up from the dead, but hey, since you already did it! Haha, anyways, yeah, I found out the old trumpet I have is going to cost about $900 from a place here in Az to do it the way I wanted... It's not worth it I don't think...
  7. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    Well let's see. IIRC, Leigh restored my silver plate Boston for about $550, which included some serious body work, as you see in the pictures, and return shipping. He restored my other Boston to gold plate for about $900.

    Depending on the amount of body work and prep and desired finish, expect to spend about $3-500 to restore an instrument to silver plate.

    - Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
  8. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
  9. sparxIII

    sparxIII New Friend

    Nov 1, 2003
    Toronto ON Canada

    Hey Paul,

    Your cornet looks great!

    I guess you can sell off the Olds A6 now!

    Let me know :cool:

  10. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    The only thing better than having a nicely restored Boston 3-Star . . . is having TWO of 'em made in the same year and with serial numbers very close together!

    Here are my two, both restored by Rich Ita. Both cornets were nearly pristine to begin with so they didn't need radical work to them . . . and both retain their original silverplated finish and thus . . . super-sharp original engraving!

    One has rebuilt valves from Andersons. Rich felt the other one played well, even with some valve leakage so he opted to leave the valves in original state. Many collectors don't want replated valves or buffed, replated horns and Rich is definately of the minimalist school . . . unless you ask him to do a refinish job. I prefer this too, although others prefer their vintage horns restored to look like they were just made. Both ways are cool though!

    Both my horns came with a full "kit" (original case and accessories in fine condition), something else I always look for.

    The Bostons are probably the best vintage shepherd crook cornets made. Here are my two:

    I especially like the fixed leadpipe version such as the two I own that were made in the early to mid-teens. One serial number list has my two as 1911 models. Another source says 1913. Since there is an existing Boston ad for their older-design detachable leadpipe version around 1913 it is probable that the fixed leadpipe versions I have were made in 1913.

    Doc Severensen uses the same model and era version I own but his is goldplated and was restored by Dick Ackright. The Bostons are the real deal!

    The one on the bottom is my "player." It has rebuilt valves and has some touched up silver plate in a few fairly small areas. The black spacers were added by me to tune each valve slide perfectly. I had its original "cookie cutter" mouthpiece goldplated, since I love goldplated mouthpieces, and I also use this mouthpiece on my main short cornet . . . my 2001 Flip Oakes "Wild Thing" short model.

    The top one has original valves and was obviously resued from an attic in Maine after being played rarely and briefly, and then put up for decades. Look closely and you'll see a very minor spot on the radius of the second valve slide that is the only spot without perfect original silverplate.


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