Trumpet Finish Restore/Cleaning

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by Jcob.T, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Jcob.T

    Jcob.T New Friend

    Aug 13, 2011
    Hello Everyone... This is my second post today, Im looking for a new trumpet instead of my Bach 1530 that i've had ever since i started playing trumpet, but until I find a new trumpet I have to put up with my 1530... So what i wanted to know is how to fully clean a trumpet i've had my 1530 for about 5 years now and it was my uncles before that so despite the baths i gave it it still has gunk in the tubing. also it has millions of micro scratches and deeper scratches along with oxidation and chips in the lacquer and little pink/black specks. so i wanted to know if there is a product that will polish my finish and make it look almost new, and also a way on how to get the gunk build up out. Thanks
  2. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    pink spots...? sounds like red rot, especially on the lead pipe and tuning slide.
    Take it to a tech and they can ultrasonically clean the horn and polish it.
    Even so I doubt a 1530 is worth spending the money to refinish (strip, dent work, buff, re-lacquer)

    Have it cleaned professionally, make any needed repairs, then may just strip it to raw brass and let it patina naturally. A stripped horn that has an even natural finish will look better than a horn that has bad lacquer.

    If you strip it then you can hand polish it with a cream metal polish such as 'Flitz' and then wax with some Mother's Carnuba wax.
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    There are two issues here:
    (1) Cleaning the interior - you say you have been giving it "baths". What have you been doing for that? How can you tell that there is still "gunk" in the tubing? Gunk can be several types. Some is removed with a snake brush while soaking the disassembled horn in warm, soapy water. Other types may be mineral deposits that can only be removed chemically. You need to know which type it is. There are many threads here about cleaning it of either type of gunk.

    (2) Cleaning the exterior - the pink/black specs may or may not be "red rot". Even if it is, a good interior cleaning can stop or slow the progression and give many more years of good service. But, either way, it is possible to improve the appearance without stripping the remaining lacquer. If it is mostly scratches, keeping the lacquer that you have is better than stripping as it still provides some protection against tarnish. The scratches are similar to scratches in the paint of a car - they cannot be removed but in the case of the trumpet, since the lacquer is clear, if the brass under the scratches can be cleaned, they will not be so noticeable.

    The problem is that once the lacquer is scratched or worn through to the brass, tarnish occurs in the scratched or worn areas and becomes dark so the scratch is noticeable. There is a product available at hardware stores called Tarn-X and it is a thin liquid which can penetrate down to the brass in the scratched areas (sometimes - depending on how wide and deep the scratch is). If you apply some of that right over the scratched areas and rub it in and let it sit for awhile and then rinse it off, you can remove some of the dark tarnish and make the scratches less visible. Note that Tarn-X is pretty aggressive so it should only be left on for a few (maybe 20-30) minutes and then be washed off (do this with the valve pistons removed) and dried followed by using lacquer polish or car wax and rubbing vigorously in the scratched areas. It may take doing this a few times - maybe a month apart each time - to really show much improvement although I have had horns where after one application, the scratches were barely visible.

    Anyway, this may make the horn look good enough that you won't be embarrassed while you are looking for a new one.

    Good luck.

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