This past Saturday was one of Ontario's larger antique shows: the Christie Classic.
It was about 40 minutes away from my parents house so me and my mom went there. It only happens one day a year. She goes for quilts and fabric, and I go for vintage instruments.
The show was looking to be an unsuccessful one for me until I got to the final row of booths. I seller had an old beat up Buescher Aristocrat listed for $100. When I saw the price I decided I wouldn't buy it, but after he saw me inspecting the horn he said he would let it go for $60. That was really an offer I couldn't refuse, because I love getting new horns, and having projects to work on.
So today I went in to work to pull the horn apart and put it back together. Here are photos and descriptions of my day
The horn had some pretty bad dents, but the overall condition of the tubing and valves was excellent. The valve look brand new, and the slides pop with lots of compression.
The bell was twisted and the bell stem had been crushed.
This is the bell stem when it came in. You can see the crushed area. If I took a picture from below you would see that it was pushed in by about half the diameter of the tubing.
This is the bell area that was twisted and dented. I don't really know how the dent happened, but it was like a barber's pole.
A blurry shot of the whole cornet. Things are a bit bent throughout the horn.
Here is the bell stem after using some dent balls and a driver/retriever to push the dents up. Looks round to me!
The next step, after taking the bell stem/crook dents out is to pull the bell off. The reason I left the bell on for the first round of dents is because the act of taking dents out of the crook and stem makes the curvature of the crook open up. We don't want it to open up because then the bell will be like Dizzy's!!
Here is the bell off of the horn. Now with 100% less dents.
Once the bell is ready to be put back on I have to check to make sure the stem is parallel to the bell flare, and align the bell on the horn stress free.
The leadpipe was also bent in at the mouthpiece receiver, so while the horn was off I put a mouthpiece into the receiver and adjusted the bend of the leadpipe to be straighter. Because of this I had to also adjust the S braces that go from the bell to the leadpipe to match the new alignment of the bell and leadpipe.
An above shot of the horn after soldering. The brass goes pink when it is heated up. My goal is to not use lots of heat, but sometimes it is inevitable.
The excess solder is scraped off and then the areas are ragged with buffing compound. I like the raw brass look, so I didn't want to shine it all up.
Finally the last step was to take some 3M synthetic #00 steel wool and give the bell and slides a scratch brush finish. You have to be careful not to go crazy with this as it IS removing some brass and if you overdo it the sound can change.
Well, that is how I spent my Sunday. Stay tuned, because my next project is repairing my friend's Shires trombone which was run over by a car!