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Thread: Resilience Oils valve oil review

  1. #1

    Resilience Oils valve oil review

    After having tried pretty much everything, I've settled on a synthetic valve oil from Yamaha for the past several years that worked well enough for me. I could get it easily from my local music store or Amazon, and it seemed to minimize but not necessarily eliminate the sludgy deposits I ended up with in the bottom valve caps and valve ports with some other synthetic oils. It didn't have a strong smell. But it still wasn't perfect. Storing instruments for a while (which I often do, owning dozens of brass instruments) I'd sometimes take out instruments I hadn't used in a while and find the valves frozen, even though I had carefully wiped and re-oiled the valves when I put them away. And my body chemistry seemed to promote the buildup of mineral deposits on the pistons that I understand would cause oil to dry up and cause sticking. I'd often pull a valve out of a casing to find no film of oil on the valve, but lots of little droplets of water there instead. I found myself always leaving a bottle of valve oil on my stand during rehearsals, because I'd need to re-oil at least the first two valves up to a couple of times during a multi-hour rehearsal.

    A few weeks ago, Jonathan Hodgetts of Wessex Tubas posted on this forum that Wessex uses and recommends Resilience Oils for their instruments. ( I have a favorable impression of Jonathan and his team, so my interest was piqued. I hadn't heard of this brand before, so I headed over to their web site. The copy on their web site was intriguing, but a glowing video review from Chris Olka (tubist in the Cincinnati Symphony and all-around super cool guy) sold it for me - I did some searching online and the easiest way to order a bottle was on eBay from Austin Custom Brass who has them listed with buy-it-now. What ACB sent me (lightning quick!) was the original formula of Resilience Oils, just labeled "Professional F-1 Valve Oil." This turns out to be the medium weight (or #2) offering from Resilience. Resilience has also come out with a lighter formula, which is labeled "Valve Oil #1 LIGHT." I suspect Resilience intended to have just one grade of valve oil, but found that their original formulation was a little too thick for some instruments and decided to expand the product range, in the meantime working through their supply of original bottles without this labeling distinction. In the past, I had tried light/regular/vintage formulations from Yamaha as well as light/regular/classic formulations from Hetman and had always found that the regular weight oil worked best for me. Light always seemed to offer no speed advantage on my collection of instruments but evaporate faster from my valves. This was, unfortunately for me, not the case with the Resilience Oil #2. I tried this on my approximately 1-year-old Adams E3 euphonium, my 2.5 year-old Yamaha Neo YBH-831S baritone, and a Mount Vernon Vincent Bach bass trumpet from 1959, which I assume had a valve replate job when it was restored at some point before I got it. On all three of these instruments, the valve action was just a little too sluggish for my tastes with the #2 oil. These are all fairly new (or renewed) valves on pro-quality instruments, and I prefer a light valve spring, so your mileage may vary. But I'd say that the #2 formulation would be best for older instruments that have gotten a lot of use and/or student-quality instruments with looser tolerances and that #1 should be the go-to formula for most everyone else.

    While the #2 oil was just a little bit slow on my valves, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't play it, and I did recognize that something pretty special was happening. I made it through a whole brass band rehearsal with my Yamaha baritone without having to re-apply oil. This instrument is probably due for a chemical cleaning at my tech, and even though I've recently cleaned it at home, I think it's getting a build-up of those aforementioned mineral deposits which cause the oil to dry out very quickly. That just wasn't happening! I wondered how long it could go and practiced that instrument every day for a week without re-applying oil. I've heard tales of people who can do that - apply valve oil once a week - but it's never been my experience. I keep my instruments clean, brush my teeth before I play, but I've never been able to go multiple days without oiling valves. Yet here I was a week later, having played the instrument every day, and it still had a very visible film of oil coating each piston. I was also impressed with the generous and sturdy 2oz. bottle which had a very good dropper on it which was capable of metering out just a tiny bit of oil on each piston. I’ve had some valve oil in the past that I just could not dispense without making a huge mess, and this was not the case with the Resilience Oil.

    After exchanging a few emails with Matt Simianer, Resilience Oils proprietor, I ordered some of the number #1 light valve oil. The light valve oil isn’t quite odorless, it has a little bit of a petrochemical smell, and does leave a little bit of an oily spot if you should happen to spill a drop on your clothes or couch, which wasn’t the case with the #2. On the instrument, I can sometimes detect a tiny bit of the scent, especially if I happen to inhale through the instrument, but it's nowhere near as bad as some conventional valve oils which have a much stronger scent. But it did provide a nice quick valve action on all my instruments without sacrificing any of the longevity or smooth feel. Even though it’s thinner, the protective and lubricating film was still there after multiple days of playing. This is extremely impressive! I’ve been playing on the #1 oil for about a week and the #2 for about a week before that and haven’t noticed any gummy deposits yet, just a little bit of cloudy water in the bottom piston caps. I’d want another month or so of data before I declare them completely deposit-free, but it’s looking positive.

    Resilience Oils’ web site goes into a lot of detail about what makes their oil different. I’m not an expert in chemistry and in fact hardly remember any of my high school chemistry class, but I talked to a few friends and read a few web pages, so I’ll attempt to convey my understanding about this. The base stock for Resilience Oil is something called a Poly Alpha Olefin, or PAO. There is a lot of info on the web about this being used for synthetic automobile engine oil, but not much else. Apparently a PAO is made by chaining multiple olefin molecules made of carbon and hydrogen atoms into a polymer, with a more complex hydrocarbon at the alpha or first position. This chain or lattice of olefins can be provided at designer lengths – you can order them with 4 olefins, or 10, or 20, or 40, and so on. This provides a consistent molecule size. In conventional oils, there are molecules of different sizes. The smaller molecules evaporate first which changes the behavior of the oil. This is very similar to some of the marketing literature that Yamaha provides with their synthetic valve oil, but it’s not clear whether Yamaha also uses PAOs or some other synthetic base.

    The other advantage of PAOs is consistent performance across a huge range of temperatures. I don’t expect my brass instruments to ever be anywhere close to the 250 degrees F that you might find in a car engine, but PAOs seem like they hold up far beyond that. It’s nice to know that playing in the sun or leaving my instrument in the car on a frozen night won’t affect the oil performance.

    Resilience’s web site talks about the ability for PAOs to absorb and neutralize the acids and other organic contaminants that enter an instrument through the player’s breath and saliva. While I couldn’t find any information on the web to corroborate this, my limited experience thus far strongly suggests that it works and isn’t just marketing fluff.

    It’s worth noting that while most synthetic oils are made in a lab, their ultimate origins are natural. PAOs seem to be generally made from ethylene gas which comes from… <wait for it>… refining petroleum. Resilience points out that this process results in a purer product, giving us the oil molecules but without many of the contaminants including traces of heavy metals found in conventional oils.

    Finally, Resilience claims to include additives that prevent corrosion, especially of stainless steel valve pistons. Stainless has been touted as a superior material for valves to be made of, and I’m not positive that’s 100% true, but it does have some disadvantages as well. I have experienced stainless steel mouthpieces where the chromium has been separated by friction from the rest of the alloy in some of the surface layers of the stem and has resulted in some very subtle but unmistakable rust happening. Resilience says that their additives help stabilize the alloy and prevent the leaching of chromium. The oil worked great on my Adams euphonium with stainless valves, but worked equally as well on the Yamaha and Bach instruments with monel pistons. I look forward to trying it on more of my instruments with both stainless and monel pistons.

    I also tried out the main tuning slide grease and the “kick gel” intended for tuning slides that move while you play such as 1st and 3rd valve slides on trumpets, tuning slides oriented to be pulled while you play on tuba, and main tuning slide triggers on euphonium. The main tuning slide grease has a great feel. The weight of the grease seems perfect, it’s tight enough that short slides like compensating loops and the 2nd valve tuning slide don’t fall out, but free enough that long tuning slides like the 3rd valve aren’t too heavy. This eliminates the need, with my instruments at least, for carrying multiple weights of grease for different parts of the instrument. A competing product from Hetman feels good as well, but tends to go away really quickly due to dissolving in water or valve oil in the instrument and/or the friction of being pulled to dump water constantly. All the tuning slides I treated with Resilience MTS grease are still working smoothly a week later. This isn’t quite enough time to know for sure if it truly has “resilience” but it’s looking good so far. I’ll update everyone in another few weeks. It comes in a small tub and I applied with my fingers, which is less optimal than the syringe or squeeze bottle that Hetman comes with (I think Hetman has experimented with many different packaging solutions and may have also come in a little tub at some point) however it did wipe off very easily after I was done applying. I’m impressed with the Kick Gel product which has a similar feel to the light tuning slide oil from Hetman. Again, too early to know if it holds up better or not but I will post an update once I have more experience.

    Overall, I’m really impressed with these products. I’d like to see them distributed through Amazon or somewhere else where I can get them consistently same or next-day, and I’d like to see some rotary valve oil available (I’m going to try the #2 on rotors when I get a chance to clean out an instrument, but the web site hints at a rotor-specific formulation coming in 2018-haha) But as far as actually working on my instruments, it’s clear that this oil is fantastic. One thing I’ve noticed is that different brands of valve oil work with different levels of success for different people, due to differences in their instruments, maintenance habits, and body chemistries. In trading a few emails with Matt, he seems to have put a lot of work into getting these products just right, and I think it shows. Resilience Oils work great for me, but they might not for you. Based on the miraculous success I’ve seen with them, I’d suggest you try it out and see.
    Last edited by bbocaner; 04-25-2019 at 12:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Excellent and very thorough review Barry!! Thanks for taking the time to do this. I now have piqued interest as well.
    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
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  3. #3
    OK, I'm interested! I just order the #1 oil and the standard grease. I'll wait until after a recital I have next weekend and then give 'em a try.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    I can't wait to hear what you think, Dave. I'm really enthusiastic about this stuff!

  5. #5
    Not sure, but I think we're in the realm of being beta testers! The order # I got is 137.

    I'm anxious to try it. A little oil smell won't bother me. I'm happy with Hetmann #1, but if this new stuff gives me less residue I'll love it!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    I've heard two competing theories for the sludge you get in your valves with Hetman and some other synthetic oils. Resilience's web site says it's because mineral-oil based oils absorb water and this creates an emulsion. Like a valve mayonnaise. Ewwww! The other theory I've heard is that bacteria like to feed on the molecules found in some synthetic oils and this creates a biofilm of bacteria and their waste products. I don't know which is true but they both sound plausible to me and maybe some of both is happening? Like I said, I think it's still too early to tell if this happens with Resilience or not for me, but I think that the longevity and protection for the instrument is pretty great, so I'm enthusiastic either way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Great review -- the sort of detail that's really useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    I’d like to see them distributed through Amazon or somewhere else where I can get them consistently same or next-day, and I’d like to see some rotary valve oil available
    Yeah, these were the two suggestions that I made immediately to Matt as critical business decisions.
    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
    Thanks for the outstanding review, Barry. I am going to order the #1 and Kick Gel immediately. I'm currently pretty happy with Doc's Juice from Monster, but it does not last nearly as long as the Resilience seems to. Maybe this is "THE" valve oil.
    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
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Anderson, Indiana
    I was able to obtain a free sample of Resilience Oil F1 Valve oil (evidently now referred to as oil #2 according to bbocaner). I tried it for several weeks. I found it to be one of the slickest and longest lasting valve oils that I've tried. However, I've had a problem with gunk/slime build up with every synthetic oil that I've tried. Unfortunately, that included Resilience Oil. Probably this is only a problem with my personal chemistry as I think that Resilience Oil is otherwise a great valve oil.

  10. #10
    Oh.. that's disappointing to hear. I'll have to give it some more time to see whether or not I have that problem. So far so good for me, but time will tell!


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