Unsoldering braces

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrassBandMajor, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    How do you unsolder braces?
    Do you just apply constant flame towards the gap of the braces where the solder is?
  2. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    You best the brace near the solder joint
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Depending where the brace is the removal may need a slightly different tecnique, what are you trying to do or is this just a general how to do question?

    Regards, Stuart.
  4. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Since brass instruments are basically plumbing, you can learn the basics from this video and adapt to suit your purpose. Remember that you can grille yourself into the hospital and/or burn your house down if you're not careful! Have a fire extinguisher and a phone handy, and make sure you don't have to use either. Also, breathing solder fumes can cause irreparable damage to your lungs, etc. and shorten your lifespan significantly, perhaps dramatically.

  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Having had 70+ years of soldering I am sure I have breathed my share of Hydrochloric acid fumes from soldering galvanized iron, Phosphoric acid from soldering stainless steel and NiChrome resistance wire, a working life of electronic manufacture and repair breathing resin fumes and fumes from electric arc welding I cannot generate enough compression to play a Double high C although I think this is more due to having only 50% muscle strength from a mild polio as a child.

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    Yea for me it must have been the paint chips, asbestos coverd duct work and lead plumbing. If not for all that I know that double high C would be in the bag!
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    First, I make sure that the horn is firmly locked into my vice so that is cannot fall over or be dropped. I make a wooden jig for this so no excess pressure is applied to the valve group.
    Second, I put on my leather gloves.

    The rest depends on the brace. If it is the leadpipe, I will insert a wood dowel into the leadpipe to let me apply a bit of leverage to separate the brace from the leadpipe side first. Sometimes more than one brace must be unsoldered.

    I hardly ever do braces myself (except to help a student of mine when we have no time to wait). It probably is no big deal, but trumpets simply play better when everything is perfectly aligned and no tension is required during assembly to make parts fit. We have an artisan in Switzerland that has taken Bach trumpets to their performance limits. His name is René Spada who strips the horns and reassembles them with watchmaker precision. The results are incredible and well worth the approx. €1000 that it costs.

    I am sure that there is an annealing process on the tubing and brace when soldering that WILL change the way the horn plays/sounds. The trick with experience is minimizing the chance for potential loss.
  8. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    The plumbing video shows an example much more simplistic than joints you will come across on a trumpet.

    For a bell "Z" brace which is only held in place by its own solder joint, hold the trumpet in a jig and warm the metal around the joint, continually moving the torch and favoring parts with greater mass. When the solder is soft, slip in a thin aluminum (or similar) strip to separate the joint until it cools down. Unsolder the other end similarly and remove the brace.

    An internal brace such as bell to valve casing needs to have the front bell "Z" brace removed first to allow flexing of the bell to remove the brace, both joints of which are heated together.

    Please familiarize yourself with the disclaimer in my signature.
  9. Bochawa!!!

    Bochawa!!! Forte User

    Nov 4, 2007
    A friend of mine, who IS a tech, has a box of old business cards he uses for this purpose. My first reaction was, " MAN!!! Aren't you afraid of it catching on fire?" He said, "Naw. It's not hot enough."
  10. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I too use old business card or manila tags to slip between braces, however on many student horns I have to work on, there is so much stress in them that when the joint is heated the brace and the section pop apart far enough not to need a spacer.

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