Total overhaul (Oops)

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Heavens2kadonka, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
    32
    1,329
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    What horn would be worth it?

    I mean, HUGE dent work, maybe a recreation slide or two, new plating, the works.

    Van
     
  2. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    90
    0
    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    This past year, I had 5 of my horns restored/overhauled. The first two were my Boston 3-Star cornets. One is an 1887 vintage and the other is a chipper 1904. I sent them to Leigh McKinney, who did a spectacular job on them and returned them to me in about 6 weeks total time. The 1887 had a sever injury - torn bell lip and wire, but Leigh performed magic and fixed things right up. I had him replate the 1887 in silver and the 1904 in gold. I even built special box racks for them and they sit proudly on the family room wall looking spectacular and in easy reach when I have the urge to play.

    Next, I sent a pair of Olds Recordings (a 1955 cornet and a 1968 trumpet) to Charlie Melk for dent removal, sanding out pitting and relaquering. Again, in about 4 weeks, the horns returned, looking as good as they probably did new, playing beautifully, and finding a new home in a frame I built for the parlor wall and always in handy reach when the urge strikes me.

    Finally, I just picked up my 1954 Olds Ambassador cornet which had its bell replace with a new Yamaha shepherds crook bell. I delivered this horn to Larry Mizell in Hagerstown, Maryland, and he plated the whole horn in silver with gold on the tuning slides, finger buttons, and top/bottom caps. He also overhauled the horn. Now it looks just a sweet and sassy as it plays, and hangs next to my bed so I can play it while getting ready for work in the mornings.

    The Olds restorations each cost about $400 and the Bostons cost about $600 and $900, for the extra metal and valve work and for plating to gold. Yup, this adds up to some serious change, but I have no regrets on giving these beauties a new lease on life.

    Were these restoration jobs worth it? From a strictly financial point of view, I thing the Bostons now are worth more than I have invested in them, the Recordings are a break-even, and the Ambassador would probably loose me money. But I think these are all spectacular players and getting them to look as good as they play was worth it.

    Sadly, I only have one more horn to restore right now - a 1947 Conn 48B Vocabell, but I can't decide how to refinish it. It was just lacquer, but now is mostly raw brass. I think silver would be more in line with its art deco lines, however, i am really liking gold these days. Any suggestions?

    - Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
     
  3. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
    32
    1,329
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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    I would say if you think silver would fit its style at the time, yet you also like gold, go for both! Gold plate the receiver, slides, and caps, but silver the rest. Heck, why don't you mix polished with scratch plating? I think scratching the inside of the bell is AWESOME.

    Even better, if the bell isnt already full-engraved, see if you can get someone to scratch art deco shapes in the bell plating (Like, polished silver bell, but the art deco shapes are scratch silver)!


    Another idea, you could have the valve block section clear lacquer, the slides silver (With gold accents here and there?), the leadpipe silver, and the bell full 24k gold plate, scratching the bell inside?


    Have you ever considered nickel silver? It really grows on you, and it looks *SO* good with clear lacquer...

    Van
     
  4. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    801
    1
    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Well, I'd definitely love to send my Studio off. I've kinda figured out that the main tuning slide and the third valve slide aren't original. Kinda annoying. But, it still plays like a dream. Anyway, the main thing stopping me is the fact that they'd have to remove a lot of metal to replate it, and I don't really wanna change the way this horn plays. Otherwise Leigh would have already gotten this thing.
     
  5. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    513
    7
    Dec 24, 2004
    Sorry to be "nitpicky" ..., but, can we correct the spelling in the topic to "Overhaul" ?

    I, for one, enjoy all the suggestions for finish options and supporting opinions. Thankfully, there are a great variety of ways to go. It engenders individuality. I could not impose my preferences on someone else.

    One thing I don't believe I have ever seen, is the inside bell to be made to look like a "spun-aluminum" finish. Remember the "MOON" hubcaps on the Cal-look street rods?

    Robert Rowe
     
  6. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

    Age:
    32
    1,329
    1
    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    Bleh I suck at spelling.

    I'm planning on sending my Couesnon Medal to get it worked over. I then plan on getting a scratch lacquer/nickel silver plating job, since that would look so good on the horn...

    I don't think I've ever seen those hubs before..
     
  7. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

    513
    7
    Dec 24, 2004
    Van, (Heavens2kadonka) --
    ...don't sweat the spelling -- no big thing.

    Those "MOON" hubcaps looked like thousands of minute concentric circles machined into the surface (not polished). They were used a lot on the Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) record speed-attempt "lakesters", as wheel covers to prevent air turbulence from entering the wheels; and, inspired the company to market same for street rods. It would be a cool look for a horn bell.

    I like your idea for nickle-plating. This type of plating/finish seems to be rarer these days.
    Hope you take some "before-&-after" pics, if you get the work done.

    Robert Rowe
     
  8. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    1,520
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    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    What metal are you thinking would have to be removed? Is the horn so pitted that you think the whole thing would require extensive buffing? Or are you thinking the silvery stuff would need to be buffed off before new plating could be applied?

    If you're thinking the latter, and if your Studio is a pre-Fullerton two-tone one, then stop. Thinking about removing metal, that is. The silvery stuff is solid nickel silver, not nickel plating. The two are not the same. Nickel silver is an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel, and the LA Studio bell flare is nickel silver through and through. Nickel plate is pure nickel plated over a base metal. There's a lot of confusion over this, but nickel silver and nickel plate are two completely different things.
     
  9. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    801
    1
    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Well, you just told me more about my horn than I knew. My wish is that the LA (I've traced it to somewhere around 1950) Studio be restored to original condition, two tone and all.the nickel on the bell still shows just fine, but the nickel on the valve casing is just about gone, or whatever the top layer was (there's a dull silver metal now). I really wish I could explain it better, but that's just what I was told when I had the thing looked at over the winter break.
     
  10. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    1,520
    629
    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Lacquered brass is shiny -- raw brass gets tarnished and dull looking. Lacquered nickel silver is shiny -- raw nickel silver gets tarnished and dull looking.

    There's nothing missing from the nickel-silver valve balusters on your Studio but lacquer. It sounds like if you had the entire horn relacquered by a reputable shop it would all be nice and shiny.
     

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