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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Stripping & polishing guidance in the General forums; I bought a 1930's Olds Super recently. Although the valves and slides are in remarkable condition, the lacquer is in ...
  1. #1
    Piano User craigph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Stripping & polishing guidance

    I bought a 1930's Olds Super recently. Although the valves and slides are in remarkable condition, the lacquer is in really bad shape. (Considering the vintage, it must have been nitrocellulose.) I decided to try stripping off the lacquer, polishing the raw brass and then putting on a coat of wax to seal it. (And perhaps in the future get it relacquered professionally.)

    I put the horn into a hot bath for a while. The lacquer didn't seem to all be coming off so I moved it into a large plastic trash can which I then filled with boiled water (covering half of the horn at a time). After drying it off it seemed that a lot of lacquer had come off but some was still remaining. Today I bought some kind of aerosol paint remover which creates a foaming covering like oven cleaner. I left it on for 20 - 30 minutes or so and then washed it off, washed the horn with soap and let it dry. I'm still not sure if ALL of the lacquer has been removed or not. I tried polishing it with MAAS. Looks good but there are a number of dark 'freckles'. Its not all that noticeable and looks a lot better than when I received the horn, but I would prefer an even, polished surface.

    I have a few questions about stripping and polishing lacquer and hope someone with experience can give me some guidance.

    What are the dark spots (freckles) all over? And how would you deal with them? I guess it is spots of lacquer that didn't get removed. Or maybe they are spots with even more tarnish than the rest. If it is the former I suppose another dose of paint remover would work. If it is the latter, more polishing with MAAS?

    How do you deal with polishing fine-detailed areas, corners and crevices? I am thinking about around the valve block, pinky ring etc. Also, what do you do with the bottom caps or other small bits? Difficult to hold onto them and polish such a small thing. I'm wondering if I should use a toothbrush with MAAS on it for doing the knurling on the bottom caps, or around braces etc. Any tips?

    Ars longa, vita brevis

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User Brekelefuw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Stripping & polishing guidance

    Purchase a wooden trumpet mandrel (or some sort of tapered piece of wood) and mount that in a vise. You won't need ot hold the horn then. Or you could put two wooden dowels on a piece of wood and put them through the valve casing and mount the wood block in a vise. Make sure it fits snuggly so you don't pull the trumpet off of the dowels and on to the floor though.
    After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. ~Aldous Huxley
    If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' until you do suck-a-seed. ~ Clark Terry

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