"Scratch" / Matte / "Brush" -- HOW ?

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Robert Rowe, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    I have some vintage horns that I want to keep; mostly because they are outstanding "players". Without exception, they had extensive lacquer-wear...sooo, I removed the remaining lacquer. One horn in particular, has a lot of v small scratches and minute pitting in the brass. I decided to give the raw brass a matte, or "brush" finish. I "trialed-&-errored" my way about the task, but it was a lot of work !! I still can't get in those "nooks & crannies" in the valve -cluster very well. I rather like the overall appearance now.
    Can anyone comment on how to do all this ?? Is there a "set" method for this type of finish a "DIY-er" can manage ??

    Robert Rowe

    Is this a great country...or, what ??
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Robert, you might try a search through this sub-forum. Seems to me that Leigh from Eclipse posted a while back (about a year?) on how he does it to the horns he builds. There was some technical information about the grit to use (3M abrasive pads of some spec), etc. You could always email him directly as well although I suspect he's a pretty busy lad these days.

    Maybe one of the other members will recall the post and can point you to it faster.
     
  3. MUSICandCHARACTER

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Bingo! You da man, Jim.
     
  5. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Hey, thanx a lot, guys !!
    What a great read that was...Leigh was extraordinarily detailed in the explanation of the process. I am gratified to learn about doing this work by hand with the 3M abrassive pads -- it is how I achieved the best results.
    I'm not going to have the re-lacquering done, for the time being, and I've found I simply "touch-it-up" now-&-then with the extra-fine abrasive pad.
    That Getzen Eterna Cornet in the pics really looks terrific, doesn't it ??

    Robert Rowe
     
  6. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    For Tootsall:
    I went back into earlier posts, in attempting to glean more info and examples of the "scratch" (matte / "brush", etc.) finish, and I saw the Getzen Eterna Cornet of yours'; guessing this is one of the horns presented in your avatar (??). Looks nice ! Assuming you do play this horn with some regularity, I'm wondering if you've experienced any wear-areas as yet (in the finish) ?

    Is "Ed" your name...(?). I imagine "Toots" or "Tootsie" is improper...(?)


    Regards,
    Robert Rowe
     
  7. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Ha Ha! Naaa, you can call me whatever you like as long as you don't call me too late for dinner.

    The horn I mostly play is the matte finish Eclipse MR trumpet that accompanies the cornet. While Leigh was building the MR for me I sent the cornet over to him for some mild customization and refinishing so that they would be a "matched set". The entire story is to be found in last year's Eclipse contest logs.

    As far as durability of the finish is concerned... no, there have been no "shiny spots" yet. I had wanted a matte finish (actually satin) ever since I saw a photo of one of Roy Lawler's cornets. I was going to ask Leigh to do a satin finish for me (soda bead blasting instead of "scratching") but he talked me out of it. His stated reason was that the relative consistency of the satin finish would mean that ANY and ALL marks, scratches, blemishes, etc. would show up immediately while the (relative) randomness of a scratch finish c/w swirl marks, etc. would tend to hide those little marks. As an example, I wear an engineering ring on my left hand. From time to time it can touch the surface of the horn (not while I'm playing but while I'm must handling it). It has left a couple of very tiny "lines" that are all but invisible from more than a foot away. Do that to a satin finish and the mark would stick out like a sore thumb. (I don't wear a wedding ring on my finger... the one through my nose is sufficient warning to the single ladies!)

    The other "advantage" of the scratch finish is that they are hand done and no two will ever be identical. Therefore each horn that he makes or restores with the scratch finish is unique in it's own, small way.

    The other thing I would recommend is the gold finish. Yes, it's more costly than silver. No, I am not one of those people whose skin secretions eat through silver or brass. No, I do not live in a wet, humid, or salty environment (I live in what it virtually a desert environment near the Rocky Mountains). BUT... the "maintenance" requirements of the gold finish is incredibly low. If you just touch a bright silver horn you'll leave finger marks... not so on brush gold plate. The only areas that require "polishing" (actually I just give it a quick wash and rinse once a month or so) are the inside of the bell and a couple of the bright areas on the slides; otherwise the horn doesn't need anywhere near as many "surface cleanings" as a silver plate horn. It doesn't tarnish, always looks "new". Leigh's satin silver is a very dramatic and "retro" finish as well but if you're going to spend the bucks for custom work, might as well go that last mile. (Like ordering a new car...might as well spend the extra $200 or whatever for cruise control).
     
  8. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Thanx, again "Ed" ( has a nice "ring" to it, huh?) !
    All seriousness aside, I have really learned something from your timely and factual comments -- I do appreciate it, v much ! I was never entirely sure what exactly "satin" finish is -- I believe that's what some of my early silver horns have (?)... and then, someone informed me that it could be "bead-blasted" finish ( ...?). I have an old Odell "pea-shooter" that has a rough, dark finish of some sort -- the brand-engraving area and the slides are shiny, though -- maybe this is the "bead-blasted" finish ?
    In any case, your horns are truly outstanding in appearance -- very distinctive. I compliment your originality and good taste. I would never copy someone's idea, but I may contemplate some variation on the theme of contrasting finishes like your horns. I am pleased with the "scratch" finish I have achieved on my "player horn" (it's a Paris leBlanc LB, with 1st & 3rd valve triggers -- like the OLDS Mendez, and it has a "cross-over" wrap, with the tuning slide entering the 3rd vale casing on the left side -- opposite the "normal" arrangement)...and it is a great candidate for "resusitation-&-restoration"). Meanwhile, I just play the heck out of it !

    Thanx, again !
    Robert Rowe
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I think you'll find that a satin finish is accomplished by "bead blasting". Some have called it "sand blasting" but that is in error... true sandblasting (using sand grit) would eat through brass "in a wink". Softer "soda" beads (someone correct me... Calcium?) are used which will mark but not erode the brass, leaving a very even "satin" or silky finish. There is another type of "media blasting" that uses silica beads but I think that might again be too aggressive for brass.... probably for fine detail work on harder metals such as iron or steel.

    If you can find a picture of one of the horns that Leigh has done with scratch surface/silver plate you'll see something that is very similar to the old "retro" finishes that used to be available 50-odd years back. Yamaha has a satin surface, silver plate option available on their new Xeno lineup. (They call it "matte"... look for 8345RGSM).

    A guy named Rich Ita specialises in restoring old cornets and the satin silver finish is one that he has done numerous times. I don't have it handy right now (someone will chime in with it) but he has an excellent website with great photos of some of his restorations.

    Don't worry about copying those finishes at all...they certainly aren't mine...it was Leigh McKinney's craftmanship that put it together. You want to check out http://www.eclipsetrumpets.com and see some of his finish options. Perhaps there are some pictures still around the website here of last year's 1st prize-winner's horn (and accessories!)... truly outstanding and distinctive.
     
  10. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA

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