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Thread: Bent Bell - Fixed by Lee Stofer in Iowa

  1. #1

    Bent Bell - Fixed by Lee Stofer in Iowa

    I played for one of our church's Christmas Eve services, which was a lot of fun. I did a solo for prelude and postlude and played with hymns as well. Videos will come later.

    However, due to an unusual set of unique circumstances, when I popped the rear hatch open, the horn tumbled out onto the driveway. It was in the Bonna case, but sustained damage to the bell. Because of the modifications to my leadpipe, the horn fits very tightly in the case, which I think contributed to the problem (I'm currently trying to find out if the new extra-large Bonna case made for the Miraphone 5050 would hold the horn with a little breathing room). Regardless, I got a bell wrinkle out of the deal.

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    I decided it was time to visit Iowa and go to Lee Stofer's shop in Camanche. It was a great experience! Lee has a long history of doing serious repair work, especially with tubas a euphoniums. His shop is in an outbuilding behind his farmhouse. My wife went along because we were also going to visit an old friend in nearby Davenport. We heard some interesting stories and met his nice black lab named Chewy.

    Lee went to his un-denting machine, which is a steel roller on which he works the bell (protected by some kind of lubricant). He would work it for a while, take it to the bench and clean it to check his work, then go back to the machine for more smoothing. The results are more than I had hoped for:

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    If you looked really closely you could see a bit of imperfection, but I can't even find it always, and I know where it was! He said he didn't think he should work it more because some adverse effects could show up.

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ID:	6513While we were there I left the horn with him overnight so he could do a cleaning and what he calls detailing. He has a tool he used to polish the inside of the tubing and he also polished the valves and caucades. This should help them stay clean longer, perhaps.


    He uses Hetman oils and grease, and sent me home with bottles & a jar of the products he used. It was interesting to me that he used generous amounts of valve oil, more than I ever have. Lee said that Hetman has an anti-corrosion agent, so he likes to get oil in the caucades. He used Hetman 1 on the valves (he normally uses 2, but I said I liked 1 for quicker action) and Hetman grease on the slides. I also got a bottle of 14 bearing and linkage oil and 15 ball joint lubricant. The latter are for the valve cap threads (I think) and for the Amado water keys.

    Lee Stofer has already been mentioned in the repair shops thread. If you live anywhere near Eastern Iowa, give him a call and arrange a visit to get your horn detailed. It's a big step above getting the horn simply cleaned!

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    Last edited by davewerden; 12-30-2018 at 07:12 PM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
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    882
    Ouch, Dave!! You hurt your beautiful horn!! But I am really glad you found a real expert to fix it. I have wondered how things would turn out if I dented my horn and needed the dent taken out. How does that all work having a brushed finish like you and I both do on our E3's? Does the brushed finish still sort of remain after the dent is smoothed or rolled out?

    Much to my astonishment and dismay, I found a tiny little pin prick dent on the bottom bow of my horn when I gave it a good cleaning a while back. The absolute only thing I could think of as to how it happened was when I play in the summer municipal band concerts, I set my horn on a K&M stand when not playing or before the concert starts (with me sitting right there with it). Perhaps someone walked along and kicked up a little stone that hit the bottom bow. I can think of nothing I do that would have done the little dent. I am absolutely paranoid about getting dents, maybe I should look at this as a blessing, so now I won't stress myself out so much.

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    I live not too far from Taylor Music in Aberdeen, SD. They do a lot of repair work on horns nationwide. I thought about taking it there (they were the music store I ordered my Adams through) and seeing if they could use their magnets to fix it, but I worry that they might scuff up the brushed finish on the bottom bow. Any opinions on that?

    Of course, I would call and talk to Stan Kolb, the owner of Taylor Music, before venturing up there. And get his thoughts and ideas on this.

    As for Lee in Iowa, I may go to Iowa and do that horn detailing. I like what he did for your valves. To this day, I have to fuss with my valves to keep them working fast. I put much more valve oil on them than I think I should have to. I almost think the tolerances are too close, but I could be wrong. In any event, I oil every day. I have changed oils numerous times. I am now working with Monster Oil (from some of the folks who play in your old band, Dave). I use the "faster (thin stuff)" type, and it works pretty good, but I need to use it daily as the valves seem to "dry out". Maybe I should slow down my fingering, it actually happens more often when I am working on fast stuff with a lot of valve action.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 12-30-2018 at 06:48 PM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    How does that all work having a brushed finish like you and I both do on our E3's? Does the brushed finish still sort of remain after the dent is smoothed or rolled out?
    I see NO sign of the dent/repair in the finish. I'm sure the lubricant he used (some kind of grease) helped with that.

    I have a personal theory about this, but I did not bounce it off Lee for confirmation. I got the dent fixed quickly for a few reasons, and one of those was that I was afraid if the dent remained there for months the lacquer might stretch or get brittle or something. I figured the quicker it was fixed the less likely it was to show. It might not have mattered on a horn this new, and might matter more on an old horn where the lacquer could already be more brittle. As I said, just a theory!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    I live not too far from Taylor Music in Aberdeen, SD. They do a lot of repair work on horns nationwide. I thought about taking it there (they were the music store I ordered my Adams through) and seeing if they could use their magnets to fix it, but I worry that they might scuff up the brushed finish on the bottom bow. Any opinions on that?
    I would assume there is a way to protect the finish, either with grease or a cloth or something, but I'm pretty green in this area!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  5. #5
    Wow Dave. You couldn't have had a better job done! Impressive work! I'm sure your heart sank when the horn hit the ground!
    Ben Dawley
    Music Director,
    Calvary Baptist Church & Academy
    Euphonium, Mid-Michigan Brass Band

    Adams E1
    Sterling Silver Bell
    Brushed Lacquer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    882
    Well, when it rains it pours. I mentioned above that I found a tiny little pin prick dent in the bottom bow on my Adams E3 a while back. I contacted Lee Stofer after reading about Dave's mishap and repair above. I am going to ITEC and so is Lee, so he suggested we might meet right after ITEC. Well, no sooner than Lee and I started our conversation, the hand brace came unsoldered/undone on my Adams on the side closest to the bell. Fortunately the other side did not come undone simultaneously or I would have dropped my horn. So, now, after another conversation with Lee, I am, believe it or not, packaging up the Adams (myself) and sending it to Lee by Greyhound (Lee says most of his work comes to him that way and never a problem - I am already a nervous wreck). Linda and I started today, and will finish packaging it up tomorrow. I have read all I can about packaging (I have sent several horns before with good results in all but one case).

    I also plan to bring my 1956 B&H Imperial to ITEC and get a quote from Lee for a complete restore (although the horn is already in remarkably good condition, not much to do in my opinion). If the quote sounds okey-dokey, then I will leave the horn with him and let him work on it on his schedule over the next several months. He is extremely busy, so just getting him to bite on some new work is gratifying. He remarked to me that he sold a 1957 B&H Imperial a long while back and could kick himself for doing that, so maybe working on my 1956 model will be some sort of therapy for the emotional loss of his long gone horn.

    I will report back on my experience with Lee, which I expect to be excellent. I am really anxious to see what he can do for the Imperial. It has that gun metal type finish (not frosted, not shiny except inside the bell, and not brushed). Not sure how you "redo" a finish like that, might not even need it actually. I just have a couple very minor dents, a piece of metal work needed on the 4th valve casing, new valve guides installed, and probably all new corks, felts, etc. That is all I know about. Oh, and the 3rd valve compensating slide is stuck and I haven't done much to get it unstuck.

    My Wessex to the rescue!! I am playing Blue Bells of Scotland this semester in New Horizons Band, and will probably perform it in concert about a dozen times over the next 3-4 months. Got it out yesterday and am getting used to it again for a month or two. Still a really nice horn to have, and I am glad I kept it.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  7. #7
    Interesting - I also had my hand brace come off on that side on my E3. I wonder if Adams just goes light on the hand brace solder.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    Well, when it rains it pours. I mentioned above that I found a tiny little pin prick dent in the bottom bow on my Adams E3 a while back. I contacted Lee Stofer after reading about Dave's mishap and repair above. I am going to ITEC and so is Lee, so he suggested we might meet right after ITEC. Well, no sooner than Lee and I started our conversation, the hand brace came unsoldered/undone on my Adams on the side closest to the bell. Fortunately the other side did not come undone simultaneously or I would have dropped my horn. So, now, after another conversation with Lee, I am, believe it or not, packaging up the Adams (myself) and sending it to Lee by Greyhound (Lee says most of his work comes to him that way and never a problem - I am already a nervous wreck). Linda and I started today, and will finish packaging it up tomorrow. I have read all I can about packaging (I have sent several horns before with good results in all but one case).

    I also plan to bring my 1956 B&H Imperial to ITEC and get a quote from Lee for a complete restore (although the horn is already in remarkably good condition, not much to do in my opinion). If the quote sounds okey-dokey, then I will leave the horn with him and let him work on it on his schedule over the next several months. He is extremely busy, so just getting him to bite on some new work is gratifying. He remarked to me that he sold a 1957 B&H Imperial a long while back and could kick himself for doing that, so maybe working on my 1956 model will be some sort of therapy for the emotional loss of his long gone horn.

    I will report back on my experience with Lee, which I expect to be excellent. I am really anxious to see what he can do for the Imperial. It has that gun metal type finish (not frosted, not shiny except inside the bell, and not brushed). Not sure how you "redo" a finish like that, might not even need it actually. I just have a couple very minor dents, a piece of metal work needed on the 4th valve casing, new valve guides installed, and probably all new corks, felts, etc. That is all I know about. Oh, and the 3rd valve compensating slide is stuck and I haven't done much to get it unstuck.

    My Wessex to the rescue!! I am playing Blue Bells of Scotland this semester in New Horizons Band, and will probably perform it in concert about a dozen times over the next 3-4 months. Got it out yesterday and am getting used to it again for a month or two. Still a really nice horn to have, and I am glad I kept it.
    Mike Taylor
    Adams E3 - SS Bell/Brushed Lacquer
    Besson BE2056 Baritone
    Yamaha YBH-301M Marching Baritone
    Illinois Brass Band
    Red Shield Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band
    Star United Mini Corps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sturgis, South Dakota
    Posts
    882
    Quote Originally Posted by miketeachesclass View Post
    Interesting - I also had my hand brace come off on that side on my E3. I wonder if Adams just goes light on the hand brace solder.
    I talked to someone I know locally when this happened (this fellow is a very good instrument repairman), and he said that the brace coming undone is a trivial matter to fix. That made me feel about 1/100th better, I don't like ANYTHING going foul on my beautiful horn! I sent a message to Miel at Adams, and he said it was very minor and could be fixed by any competent repairperson. Since I already wanted Lee Stofer (Iowa) to do a couple things to the horn, I went ahead and sent it to him for fixing. I wrote about packing it up in a post above. My wife and I sent it to Lee by Greyhound Bus on January 8th and it arrived and was picked up on January 11th. Lee reports that the horn arrived in perfect condition (well, except for the things I sent it to him for to get fixed/worked on).

    So, it has been there a couple weeks. Lee threw out an estimate of a month when I asked if I could send it to him now, rather than waiting for ITEC. I know he is getting ready for the Tuba/Euphonium Workshop at TUSAB in early Feb, so I can only hope he gets to it shortly. I have been playing my Wessex in band. A great horn in its own right, so not too much of a problem, but I MISS my Adams!

    Mike - Did you get your brace fixed already? Locally? Turn out okay? Hope so.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    I see NO sign of the dent/repair in the finish. I'm sure the lubricant he used (some kind of grease) helped with that.

    I have a personal theory about this, but I did not bounce it off Lee for confirmation. I got the dent fixed quickly for a few reasons, and one of those was that I was afraid if the dent remained there for months the lacquer might stretch or get brittle or something. I figured the quicker it was fixed the less likely it was to show. It might not have mattered on a horn this new, and might matter more on an old horn where the lacquer could already be more brittle. As I said, just a theory!
    Lubricating the tools definitely helps. The burnishers, mandrels, rollers etc. must be kept highly polished; the lubricant helps protect them from surface rust. There is also an adhesive tape sold by one of the repair supply companies that is used to protect plated finishes which are prone to cracking of the finish. (as opposed to lacquer over brass which can be removed, the brass polished and the lacquer redone.)
    The burnishing is done over the tape and the tape then removed.
    Weril H980 euph
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