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Thread: old instrument case restoration

  1. #1

    old instrument case restoration

    Does anybody have any experience with or recommendations for a place where I can have a vintage case repaired? Rough edges and now a missing piece of cloth where a new puppy managed to rip off a section. Conn euphonium case with just the usual black canvas-type fabric.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,142
    Don’t have any personal experience in getting a hard case restored but a good luggage repair business should be able to do this.
    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
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  3. #3
    I had to repair my Conn hard case last year. I talked to a well connected repair guy in Phoenix and the people he knew are all out of business. Too easy to find a generic vinyl case, I guess. If you are concerned about the inside felt, you can buy the material you need at a fabric store and try cutting and gluing down yourself. If not, perhaps an upholstery shop could help you out. If the plywood is damaged, then it's a different story. Whatever, expect to pay big bucks to get it restored. I easily had $500 in materials and 100 hours of labor in mine. It came out great and if I had to do it again, I could probably cut the material costs by 30% and the labor in half.

  4. #4
    It's looking like I will just re-cover it with some Tolex. Doesn't appear to be too difficult. Thanks everybody.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,990
    If you're going to recover it, then depending on how much effort (or differential effort) you'd be willing to tolerate, you might consider taking an approach like what's used to build "stitch and glue" boats (kayaks, canoes, and other small boats). This involves using fiberglass fabric applied to the surface and seams, then sanded and painted. One advantage of this is that you'd end up with what's pretty close to a light but fully protective and almost indestructable case. Using this technique, you can build an extraordinarily strong 16' kayak that weighs only about 35 lbs, for example.

    Gluing any kind of fabric on is messy and very difficult to avoid wrinkles and get the edges/seams right. With the fiberglass (liquid + fabric), you get a hard surface where you can sand out any imperfections. I think you can get all you need at Lowes or Home Depot or auto stores. You wouldn't really need to try to use sheets of the fabric on the larger surfaces, but just use strips butted together and filled with the liquid fiberglass. It would be probably be more expensive than any kind of standard fabric glue-on approach, but you'd end up with a case for the ages.

    Just a thought.
    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)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    527
    Its a shame that some of the craftsmanship of both instrument making and with cases and other things is starting to disappear. Vintage restoration of anything is harder to find these days.
    John 3:16

    Yamaha YSL-630 Trombone
    Conn 15I Euphonium
    Mack Brass Euphonium
    Conn Victor 5H Trombone
    Yamaha 354 Trombone
    Mack Brass 200S BBb Tuba

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,990
    In such circumstances (even though some stores in the area advertise "luggage repair") I've had to resort to the services of shoe repair people -- and THEY'RE getting harder and harder to find. However, there are a couple around in this area who -- if they'll take the work -- do excellent jobs. It's really not feasible to take something like a euphonium case, ship it half-way (or all the way) across the country, have it repaired there, and then have it shipped back. A flute or clarinet case, yeah (though why anyone would do that rather than replace it, I don't know), but anything larger? No.
    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)

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