Valve Oil What are the differences?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    The major difference between synthetic and petroleum derivative valve oils is the rate of evaporation and the residue left when the oil evaporates. Synthetics have a very slow evaporative rate and leave no residues on the valve piston. Petroleum derivative valve oils evaporate rapidly leaving a varnish like residue. This means that when using petro base valve oils it is nessecary to lube the valves often. To test various oils for evaporation and residue, use a sheet of glass that is mounted at a slight incline. Apply a drop or two of each oil to be tested near the top of the incline, which will show the viscosity,( thickness ), of the oils. Leave the test panel for a few days and you will observe that the synthetic oil has evaporated very little, if any. Discoloration will show the residue left by evaporation.

  2. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA
    I realize players tend to stay with their favorite oil until it fails and/or until they find something better. I've used several brand sin my lifetime. For this time in my life, I find that Denis Wick Advanced Formula Valve Oil with PTFE developed with trumpet expert Will Spencer is all I use.

    Valve Oil - Denis Wick Mutes, Mouthpieces and Accessories

    It makes my valves "slicker that snot on a glass doorknob" and I don't plan to change anytime soon.

    Best wishes,

  3. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    I certainly agree on the general superiority of the new synthetic oils. It does probably boil down to what interacts well with your saliva. For me, that's Ultra Pure (also a sponsor of this website). For me I use less Ultra Pure than the old petroleum juices and that alleviates the cost considerably. I also like their slide greases.

    Side issue: how careful are you with what you blow thru the horn? Play after eating a lot without flushing out your mouth? On a gig one night, I had a lemonade. The sugar in that stuff immediately started to hang up the valves. So perhaps one reason valve oil lasts a long time for me is that I am very careful to play the horn while clean of mouth. Try it and see if you agree.
  4. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA

    There are lots of us who brush/flush before playing as it keeps the horns cleaner and perform better. You are right in that some may not be as disciplined and may blame poor horn performance (i.e. valves and clogs) on poor workmanship. Think of the mess school music directors and/or private teachers face when students don't follow your rule of consistent brushing/flushing. Their horns are so full of gunk, no wonder they are so hard to get air through the horn. "You mean I have to clean my horn, who has time?" They need to be told to "make time."

    Best wishes,

  5. jmoney422

    jmoney422 New Friend

    Jul 19, 2010
    Lancaster, California
    from my experience, i bought a bottle of "regular" synthetic valve oil made by Yamaha, and when i apply it, it stays on for quite a while, like days to weeks haha, i've never tried Ultra Pure, but this works for me, my valves are very fast, and it stays on for a while. i bought this bottle (which is regular sized mind you, and for dirt cheap), about 4 months ago, and its not even half way gone.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I like Hetmans, all 3 grades. Like the way it lasts and it's not much more than Al Cass.
  7. LuckilyCarolyn

    LuckilyCarolyn New Friend

    May 4, 2010
    Northern Minnesota
    For the past few years I've LOVED my Al Cass- but lately I've found that if there's any hint of strong humidity- my valves are absolute goners.
    Especially if it's durring marching band, I'll need to re-oil durring rehersal. Which is just a hastle.
    I'm wondering if anyone else has issues with humidity and Al Cass? I live in Minnesota and my valves can bear the 30 below car trips in an old buick that couldn't heat up in less than an hour to save it's soul, but it's just that summer humidity that freezes it up?
    Maybe I'm the only one who's experienced this-- let me know.
  8. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    What trumpet do you have? And what year?

    And nice to see another Minnesotan here :-) I'm in Eden Prairie, the south west suburbs.
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    That's an interesting observation and the first time someone has made that connection. But, there are several threads currently active here related to sticky valves and one of the common complaints relates to valves that work fine when being fingered while not playing but start to drag while playing. Of course, there is moisture in our breath just like the Minnesota summer.

    So, perhaps the moisture is the issue and not just the Al Cass oil. In my case, it happens with different oils so there may be an issue with valve clearances when too much water becomes mixed with the oil. I am in the process of evaluating some of the issues in an attempt to try and find some reproducible condition which may explain this.

    Stay tuned.
  10. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I've used the tried and true Al Cass valve oil on all of my horns for over 20 years now. I never had any reason to switch other than curiosity of synthetic oils. This is coming from a guy who regularly drinks coffee during morning practice sessions lol. (I do clean my horns weekly if possible though)
    It may just mean my Yamaha trumpet and flugel valves are more "forgiving" than perhaps other makes or like mentioned before Al Cass just works best with my salival chemestry. I am no expert by all means, I just know what works for my horns and don't see the need to change.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010

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