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Thread: GENERAL: Horn finish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Posts
    6

    GENERAL: Horn finish

    Is it possible/practical to get an entirely new finish on my horn? As in, I have a lacquered horn, but want silver-plated. Can that be done? And how much would it be roughly?

  2. #2
    1) Yes, it can be done.
    2) Probably cheaper to sell your horn and buy another. An $800 cost wouldn't surprise me, and it could be more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,984
    Silver has gone down quite a bit over the past couple of months. So getting something plated now MIGHT not be such a bad deal.

    If you want to know the bitter truth, contact Anderson Plating (http://www.andersonsilverplating.com...nstrument.html), tell them what you have and what you want done, and they will give you price for it. You would then need to ship the instrument to them and also pay for the shipping back.

    An alternative would be to take the instrument to a repair shop and tell them you want it plated. If they don't laugh and ridicule the idea, they would then do exactly what I described in the previous paragraph and add a service charge.

    In my view, unless you're crazy to have a silver horn, this is overly expensive and a bit nutty to do. But I really don't like silver finishes because I feel they take entirely too much effort to maintain. The new polishes, and the polishing cloths, make this a lot easier than it used to be; and they reduce the frequency of tending to the finish, but I still find it irritating.

    If you aren't totally crazy to have s silver finish, there are three other possibilities: (1) Have the horn re-lacquered (much cheaper than silver); (2) Strip the finish off yourself and go with raw brass; and (3) Strip the finish off and re-lacquer it yourself using spray cans from Lowes. I'm going to do (2) on a couple of older horns I have because I like raw brass and don't want to take the time to put lacquer on them (I may change my mind on this). (3) may sound tacky to you (no pun intended, or not much), but I have seen it recommended by some very good instrument techs. You just need to be careful about two things if you go that route: (a) Be absolutely fanatical about cleaning and polishing the brass after you strip the finish; and (b) Be sure to use multiple thin coats when you re-lacquer -- rather than a heavy coat that will run, drip, and leave a very amateurish result. If you decide to re-lacquer it yourself, you could think way outside the box and go with something like black, or dark blue, or hot pink, or polka-dots, or ...
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. #4
    The last time I thought about getting a horn refinished into satin gold, the price quote I got was about $4,000; refinishing horns gets real pricey, real fast. Personally, if getting a silver horn is paramount to you right now, I think you should just go and get a silver horn. Plating jobs are tricky business as it is. What horn do you currently play on?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,108
    I knew someone who had his Besson new standard silver plated after having the lacquer removed. I remember him saying it cost him around $1500 - and that was about 15 years ago.

    I agree with the above, if you want a silver horn I would look into selling your present horn and getting a silver model.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  6. Kanstul should be able to do it. They seem to give very good prices, perhaps since they bulk silver plate their own horns anyway.
    Christopher Chen
    bolded are for sale
    B&H 967 - Globe Stamp
    B&H 960 (3 valve comp euph) - Globe Stamp
    Salvation Army Triumphonic Eb Alto, silver plated


    On the lookout for:
    Silver plated:
    pre '93, post '06 Sovereign Alto/Tenor Horn
    pre '93, post '06 Sovereign Baritone (3 valve)

    York/Sterling/LMI variants accepted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,984
    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    I knew someone who had his Besson new standard silver plated after having the lacquer removed. I remember him saying it cost him around $1500 - and that was about 15 years ago.
    Yikes! You can get one of the Chinese clones new in silver plate for less than 2/3 of that. I cannot personally vouch for the quality or thickness of the silver finish in that case. I do note that with respect to the 1924 Buescher tuba I have, it was offered in three thicknesses of silver plating: single, double, and triple. I have no idea which of those mine is sporting, but the thickness of that finish is astounding to me. I say this based on all the cutting and soldering I did on the horn to get it to play to 440 and have usable water valves. Just sanding the silver plate down to the brass surface so that I could solder an Amado water key to it took much more effort than I expected.

    I also have seen several of the nickel-plated St. Pete tubas where the plating has been worn down the brass in the usual contact areas -- and after only a few years. That Buescher of mine is almost 90 years old and I don't see any places where the finish is worn down to the brass other than on the bottom edge of the bottom bow guard. Another tubist has commented that as an undergraduate he played on a nickel-plated horn and the plating was HEAVY -- much more than on the St. Petes. Times and practices have changed. And if you're looking at getting a plated instrument it may be wise to get a good idea of how thickly plated it is.

    I've had mouthpieces gold plated, and while the initial result approximated (but did not quite match) the appearance of Schilke factory plating, in about a year the silver underplate was showing thorough and the gold appearance was significantly lighter than the dark factory plating.

    It would be a real shame to pour a bunch of money into a plating an instrument (or acquiring one that is plated) only to discover that in one or two or three years, that plating was wearing away.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    362
    I'm giving a shout-out to Kanstul. Last year, my buddy needed the tuning slide lengthened on his Miraphone 184. He called in advance, and they did it why we waited. The repair cost was unbelievably low in my opinion. Kanstul (Anaheim) was a very friendly outfit. We also met with Zig Kanstul and got a tour of their showroom. I know they offer a variety of other repairs too. I would recommend checking them out.
    Miraphone 5050
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra (~sigh~ back again!)
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

  9. Replating and Overhauling a horn....

    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    I knew someone who had his Besson new standard silver plated after having the lacquer removed. I remember him saying it cost him around $1500 - and that was about 15 years ago.

    I agree with the above, if you want a silver horn I would look into selling your present horn and getting a silver model.
    Actually, I think that was me. In about the year 2000, I had my 1980 Sovereign 967 overhauled. Osmun sent the horn to Elkhorn, WI to be "undented" and lacquer stripped (since the old nitro-cellulose lacquer was about 50% gone anyway). At this point the choice was either to buff and relacquer the horn or to have it silver plated. I had the horn sent to Anderson for silver plating of the whole horn. It returned to me about 6 mos. after I gave it up, and the cost was about $1500. But at thios point, I essentially had a brand new Globe-stamp Sovereign 967 for $1500 (plus its original 1980 purchase price of $1500), which I continued to play through the summer of 2007, when I got my Prestige. This horn is still being played by one of Dave Werden's students in the MN area. In the near new condition the horn was in when I sold it in 2007 for $3000, I broke even after over 25 years of owning and playing the horn.

    There is no way you can compare restoring a valued old friend like my Globe Stamp or a good New Standard with purchasing a new Schiller, et. al. Clearly, a new Schiller will be cheaper, but if you have an "old friend" horn or if you like the particular sound and playability of a particular horn, then you should consider what you are willing to pay to have it restored. The biggest issue, however, is the length of time the horn will be out of service and whether you are dealing wioth a reputable service shop. I know of horror stories of horns and repair deposits disappearing into small service shops that go belly up or that dissasemble a horn without the skills to properly overhaul and repair it. And the obligatory Anderson plating will almost certainly add 3 months to the turn around...

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone & Conn 24I/25I euphonium
    New England Brass Band/Metropolitan Wind Symphony
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,108
    Actually Doug, I forgot you told me about you having that done. I was referring to Fred Dart, who used to play in the Air Force Band back in the '60s under Col. Howard. His Besson was from about 1968 and lacquered. After teaching at OSU and then Kentucky, he had that work done. He also had his lead pipe replaced to Lg shank around that time. Fred is still playing the same horn too.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

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