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Thread: 1903 Lyon and Healy "Own Make" Euphonium (Repair)

  1. 1903 Lyon and Healy "Own Make" Euphonium (Repair)

    I recently purchased this euphonium off of craigslist for $30. At the time all that the add said was "old euphonium for decoration or repair" with one picture showing it. I went to check it out. When I got there the guy had just sprayed WD-40 into the hole on the bottom valve caps to free up the valves! He didn't even know they came out. It smelled and didn't make much of a noise at all when trying to play it, but for 30 dollars I thought it would be a fun project either way.

    Did some research online and came across the horn-u-copia website. They had a lot of information on the Own Make instruments. With the serial number I was able to find a round-about date of manufacture, 1903. There was records of an identical horn on there with the serial number 3365. The one I have is 3367.

    After cleaning up the instrument a little and oiling the valves properly it still wouldn't play. I gave it a look over and found a crack along the length of the leadpipe. I ended up wrapping it with plumbers tape to try and seal it up so i could try to play some notes. It worked but not very good.

    Long story short, I ended up taking off the lead pipe and plan on fixing it. I thought I would share the horn with you guys and see if you have any tips or warnings before I progress on this project. Some photos are in the links below.

    The brass is showing through on the mouthpiece and I know that there can be a danger of getting exposed to lead.

  2. #2
    Cool old horn! I'm wondering how in the world the leadpipe split like that, I've never seen that kind of crack before.
    Avid horn collector, check my profile to see what I've got (not enough room to reasonably squeeze 14 horns down here!)
    YouTube Channel: TheNEWTrombonium

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by sirendude2015 View Post
    Cool old horn! I'm wondering how in the world the leadpipe split like that, I've never seen that kind of crack before.
    It's not unusual for instruments of that age. The brass gets brittle when it's that old. You see a lot of them with patches on them. I like to have my tech braze a brass wire onto the crack and then grind it down even, but that's very expensive.

  4. From my understanding, Leadpipes are made from a piece of brass tubing that is extruded, pulled to the final length, and then bent to shape. However, the break in this leadpipe appears to be originally from a seam where the metal was brazed together and has come undone. Considering the age on this horn (1903) could the extruding method not have been developed yet? Or possibly could it had been developed but just not widely used? Or could this be just a cheap-O horn that "brazing a sheet of metal into a tube" was more cost effective than extruding?

    Either way, I took it to a local music store and got a quote for a repair and options on what might be the best way to go about it. The tech there said that he could braze it back together, but the metal is so corroded that the pipe might just crumble when it was heated up. So he said the best option would probably be to buy a new replacement pipe and have that fitted to the horn. That way I don't have to worry about the brazing coming undone or worry about whether the old one will crumble or not.

    He also said that he could probably reuse the shank off of the old leadpipe. But since I'm going to get a new mouthpiece anyways, it probably doesn't matter.

    In the meantime, I have wrapped the entire pipe thoroughly in plumbers thread tape. It seals the horn up enough to play some notes out of it, but it doesn't sound the greatest. The low notes are fairly difficult to sound and are hard make the correct pitch. I was kind of hoping to do the repair myself, but I might just bite the bullet and let the shop do the repair. It still needs 3 of the 4 of the tuning slides unseized, a spit key attached (currently just a hole sealed up with plumbers tape), and one end of the main tuning slide soldered back on (Its the only slide not seized and one end of it just fell off when I pulled the slide out). If it comes out playable, I'll only be invested $200-$300 and have neat little horn.

  5. #5
    Seamless tubing invented well before then and certainly was widely used by 1900, especially for a factory mass-produced instrument like a Lyon & Healy (because seamed tubing was always more labor intensive), but it's not inconceivable that it was used on your instrument.

    If you really want to have it restored, I'd have someone who specializes in antiques work on it and not just your local music store. Their aim will always be to save as much of the original instrument as possible.

    Your first picture makes it look more like a crack than a seam that has opened up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    NYC metro area
    I'd suggest this guy for antique horn restoration.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  7. Here is a Quick sound sample of the horn. I wrapped the leaks in a lot of plumbers tape to seal it up. The low notes are kind of hard to get out still.

  8. Here's some pictures of the horn wrapped up in plumbers tape.

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