Stuck valve on vintage horn

Discussion in 'Horns' started by latinjazzcat, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. latinjazzcat

    latinjazzcat Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    West Virginia
    I recently took a leap for a vintage Committee on Ebay, however, the second valve appears frozen. I figure if nothing else I can use it for parts, however I'd really prefer to have it restored. It doesn't look like any trauma caused the damage, and just froze from lack of use. My question is, can a repair shop fix this, and how time consuming is the process? The extent of my damage experience so far has just been crushed bells, etc, and one incident where there was a dent in the 2nd valve slide, causing the valve to stick. Thanks for your help.
  2. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    A NAPBIRT certified brass tech will have the skills and tools needed to straighten the valve case and get the valve working again. If the plating is too worn then it will need to be replated, which can be expensive. But get a reputable brass tech look at it first.

  3. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson Piano User

    Nov 2, 2003
    mash gently on the connected slide in various directions. that can free the valve.

  4. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    Please, oh please don't do anything with it . . . short of soaking the stuck parts for a week or so in a penetrant . . . to make it easier for a qualified horn technician with the right know-how, tools and parts to get it free.

    If you ruin that super-fragile valve or mess up the valve body though, trying to save a few bucks you may ruin a valuable instrument.

    Let it soak for about a week and then take it to someone VERY qualified, such as Rich Ita. I had a wonderful turn of the century Boston with stuck valves and slides. You'd never know it today. It is a beautiful horn now!


    Tom Turner
  5. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 24, 2004
    Good advice here ... gzent and Tom Turner .

    A NAPBIRT tech can get the job done. It doesn't have to be an "ace" tech (as too often get mentioned here), unless you are interested in a "restoration" ... inquire of the tech if he/she is a brass-specialist or a woodwind-specialist. Ask for references (past customers).

    The "penetrating-oil trick" is well-worth doing, in any event. I have a '44 Committee w/ frozen caps, and a OLDS Recording w/ stuck valve in "soaking mode" right now. I have tools to do the next-step procedures, but in your case, as a "layman", seek-out a good NAPBIRT tech.

    Robert Rowe
  6. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Hmm...I would agree with Mr. Turner on this one. The first thing I would do is examine it. Does anything seriously look outta shape/round? If so, there's your problem, take it to a tech and let them fix it. If everything looks ok, you have a few things you can do, most obviously is use a penetrating oil. Unfortunately, you need to be careful which ones you use, otherwise, I believe some have the potential of damaging the valve itself (not good, by the way). I would first just try holding the horn upside down, and applying a liberal amount of a very thin valve oil. If the oil doesn't immediately penetrate, position the horn to where it can sit for at least 10 minutes. If the oil still hasn't penetrated, you could try something stronger (as far as penetration goes, valve oil ain't great, but you know it won't hurt anything). I believe MicroMist would be ok, and is the best stuff that I've used so far (working on 50 year old oil production units has taught me the value of penetrating oil). I don't think I'd try WD-40, as I believe that has a tendency to leave a film.

    Of course, the tech first idea is by default, probably the best. I just listed those options because oil may be all it needs.
  7. latinjazzcat

    latinjazzcat Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    West Virginia
    Just thought I'd offer an update...I got the horn on Tuesday, and as it turns out, the valve was "stuck" because it was placed in backwards. There was no trauma, and it looks as though it hadn't been touched in many many years (there was still dust on the valve casings when I got it). All the slides pulled out easily except for the main tuning slide, which wasn't stuck by any means. Just neeed some oil to help it move easier. The more I play it, the better the valve action gets. I had been using Hetman, but I found that moving from a synthetic oil to something thicker seems to be helping a bit. THe only thing it needs now is perhaps to have the felts replaced...I think that would perhaps speed the valve action up drastically (they look to be the original felts). Needless to say, it's been a very fun week. The tone is full of character, and I love the way it feels to play.
  8. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    Are you sure it's because of a dent? If it's just stuck from lack of oiling or cleaning you could try rubbing some brasso on it before you try to oil it. Brasso contains one of the lightest grits in it an will gently fix any rough spot on most slow or stuck valves. Chris

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