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Thread: Refurbishing your horn

  1. Refurbishing your horn

    Just curious on this. Over time, a horn will pick up a few belt scratches, small insignificant dents, maybe minor bell scratches from setting it "bell down" on the floor during practice or rehearsal (which I realize is verboten), the finish fading in some spots, etc. And if you buy a used horn, some of those issues come with it. And I'm referring to issues that don't affect playability. Do any of you ever completely refurbish your horns to "like new", or is that even possible, and is it an expense that's not ever necessary?
    Last edited by Roger; 09-22-2020 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Adding clarification

  2. #2
    I put my 1923 Conn 86I in for a complete rehab job, including replating the valves, a couple years ago. It was an expensive proposition ($1800), and I probably won't recover that cost if I ever sell it, but it was worth the expense to me; the horn looks like it just came from the factory (which was about a mile from our house). I've owned that horn since 1960; we bought it for $200 from the original owner.

    D
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  3. #3
    I had a rather unfortunate accident a while ago with my last horn, rendering it unplayable. Since I needed my horn for my studies, refurbishing it was my only option since it was far cheaper than buying a new one. I shipped my horn to McQueens for the job, a well known reputable brass shop based in Manchester, UK. You can find the thread I worte about all that right here: http://www.dwerden.com/forum/showthr...etely-restored!
    The cost of a refurb, while steep, was justified in my case since my instrument was not playable anymore. Be aware that a refurb involves completely dissasembling an instrument, undenting all the parts, filling up possible cracks in the brass, sanding off the finish, assembling everything back together and refinishing it. As they sand off the finish, a tiny layer of brass will come off too, so with all the parts realigned, undented and the loss of some material there will most likely be a change in the playing characteristics of the instrument. In my particular case the fourth valve played even more stuffy than before, but your experience may vary. In the end I did not regret my decision to getting my euph refurbished as it still played better than it was after the accident. I would not recommend to refurbish a horn over some cosmetical damage as long as it still plays well.
    This link directs to a great video where an old King baritone gets an complete overhaul with commentary by the brass technician: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSRc...annel=jimflys2
    Last edited by Vito; 09-22-2020 at 01:02 PM.

  4. Great advice, Vito, thank you. By the way, my post comes from someone who still wears clothes I bought 20 years ago and drives a 2001 Ford Taurus with 245,000 miles on it and has some rust and dents!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    753
    My New Standard was completely restored by Dan Oberloh in Seatle a few years ago. Not cheap ($3,500), but it was ultimately worth it.

    I was really picky, Dan really put up with me, and it looks gorgeous. It was upgraded to emulate a Prestige.

    Dennis
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  6. #6
    I think, for a full Refurbish treatment, there really is a certain level it has to have reached, as well as some connection you may have with the horn.

    If the cost of getting something you just bought restored to "like new" is more than simply finding another better example and selling yours, it's not really worth it. Many of my horns are used, and they have a little wear, a few minor dents, etc, but nothing bad enough that would justify a total teardown. There is quite a bit that can be fixed without having to do a full restore.

    Here are two examples from the Oberloh website, probably from 10+ years ago:

    http://www.oberloh.com/silvermirafoneeconojob.htm
    http://www.oberloh.com/gallery/alxcctuba.htm
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS Euphonium, 1952 B&H Imperial Eb Tuba, Yamaha YBB-631S BBb Tuba, and a bunch of trombones.

  7. I had my 1980 round stamp redone around mid 1990's. It was a lacquer horn with lots of wear due to the fragile nature of the old nitrocellulose lacquer that Besson used. No serious dents, but lots of nicks and scratches. While I gave it to Osmun Music to do, they actually shipped it to one shop in Minnesota for disassembly, stripping, de-denting, brass polish. It the valve section went to Anderson Plating in Elkhart, IN for valve replating and machining. Then the horn was re-assembled in Minnesota and went back to Anderson for final silver plate (to replace the lacquer). I recall that I paid $1,500 (20 years ago). I think I originally purchased the horn for around $800. I sold it in 2007 to a student of Dave Werden's for $3,000.

    Now, using this experience is problematic since it was over 20 years ago. Further, Anderson no longer does the valve work (and there are few places in the US that do.)
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    Further, Anderson no longer does the valve work (and there are few places in the US that do.)
    When did they quit? They did my Conn's valves, and that was just a couple years ago.

    D
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  9. Quote Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
    When did they quit? They did my Conn's valves, and that was just a couple years ago.D
    They had a senior technician who knew how to do this work. He retired. They were unable to hire/train a replacement who could do this work adequately (they tried) so they left the business.

    Replating and machining the piston after replating is not the hard part. The hard part is boring and honing the cylinder (with the large holes all around it) and ending up with a perfectly round and straight sided cylinder, and THEN getting a replated piston to fit with just the right tolerances. I had a long conversation with Paul Riggett on this topic when his techs were working with York in Markneukirchen from about 2007-2009 on trying to get their valve production under control. They never really did and it is not un-common for York valves to not be able to "spin" in the bore or have adverse wear. According to Paul, you have to know how to compensate for what happens with the boreing tools as it passes through the ports where there is no material on one side and yet is cutting material on the other side.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by daruby View Post
    They had a senior technician . . .
    I guess I was lucky to get mine done when I die :-O

    D
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

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