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Thread: Bold New Experiment with Piston Valve Maintenance. Wanna Join Me?

  1. #1

    Bold New Experiment with Piston Valve Maintenance. Wanna Join Me?

    I just cleaned my horn again, largely to get rid of the crud that builds up at the bottom of the pistons and to a lesser extent to clean the little coating that develops inside the tubes. Wouldn't it be nice if we could reduce that valve buildup?

    Then I saw a post on Facebook about oiling valves. Many folks talked about how long they can go between oiling with [brand] oil. One technician responded that it is a fallacy to talk about when valves NEED oil - they should be oiled daily, regardless of whether they are slow or sticking. Oil can help protect that metals.

    I have previously tried 2 methods: 1) oiling when something got slow or started to stick, and 2) oiling before I practice each day.

    Now I am introducing the "Dave Werden Patented () Oiling Method Number 3." This is an experiment. In version 2 above, I'd oil the valves and then proceed to blow air and various other...stuff... into the horn and onto the valves. Then when I got done I put the horn away (after draining water from all the tubes). Any crud that had gotten on the pistons would sit there in the metal petri dish and "evolve" until I practiced next time.

    I'm going back to Hetmann #1 now, which is pretty good at staying around and not evaporating quickly. But I'm reversing the oiling procedure a bit. Each day when my practice concludes, I take out the pistons, wipe them off, wipe out the bottom space where the spring rests under the piston, and then re-oil. Then I put the horn away. The next day I begin practicing with smooth valves, which is nice. But more importantly, I have cleaned off the bio-ingredients from the pistons and added the protection of the oil. [I'm also adding a once-a-week procedure where I swab out the casings and clean the bottom cap before re-oiling.]

    Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm going to keep up the process and see if the horn stays clean longer. Does anyone else want to try the experiment? If so, please report your findings here (as I will later).
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    381
    This is what I try to do regularly. (several years ago I heard that this was preferable...so that is what I started doing.)
    Larry Herzog Jr.
    Adams Custom Series E3 euphonium (Selected model, silver-plated)
    Denis Wick SM4U mouthpiece (gold-plated)

    Twitter: iMav
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    Founder of geekhack.org

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by iMav View Post
    This is what I try to do regularly. (several years ago I heard that this was preferable...so that is what I started doing.)
    Well, there goes my patent!!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    I just cleaned my horn again, largely to get rid of the crud that builds up at the bottom of the pistons and to a lesser extent to clean the little coating that develops inside the tubes. Wouldn't it be nice if we could reduce that valve buildup?

    Then I saw a post on Facebook about oiling valves. Many folks talked about how long they can go between oiling with [brand] oil. One technician responded that it is a fallacy to talk about when valves NEED oil - they should be oiled daily, regardless of whether they are slow or sticking. Oil can help protect that metals.

    I have previously tried 2 methods: 1) oiling when something got slow or started to stick, and 2) oiling before I practice each day.

    Now I am introducing the "Dave Werden Patented () Oiling Method Number 3." This is an experiment. In version 2 above, I'd oil the valves and then proceed to blow air and various other...stuff... into the horn and onto the valves. Then when I got done I put the horn away (after draining water from all the tubes). Any crud that had gotten on the pistons would sit there in the metal petri dish and "evolve" until I practiced next time.

    I'm going back to Hetmann #1 now, which is pretty good at staying around and not evaporating quickly. But I'm reversing the oiling procedure a bit. Each day when my practice concludes, I take out the pistons, wipe them off, wipe out the bottom space where the spring rests under the piston, and then re-oil. Then I put the horn away. The next day I begin practicing with smooth valves, which is nice. But more importantly, I have cleaned off the bio-ingredients from the pistons and added the protection of the oil. [I'm also adding a once-a-week procedure where I swab out the casings and clean the bottom cap before re-oiling.]

    Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm going to keep up the process and see if the horn stays clean longer. Does anyone else want to try the experiment? If so, please report your findings here (as I will later).
    Are you swabbing out the casings with a brush and water, or what?
    Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium, Denis Wick 4AL
    Besson New Standard

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Are you swabbing out the casings with a brush and water, or what?
    For this type of routine, where I am not swabbing ugly crud, I use a smooth micro fiber cloth, which I push through with one of my HW brushes. The fact that there is a brush inside the cloth as I push it through helps it fill out the cylinder more smoothly (in my head, anyway). I don't wet the cloth or anything.

    If I have ugly buildup after weeks or months of neglect, I start with the largest HW brush, spray it with Alisyn solvent, and then run it through. I clean the brush and repeat. If the cylinder passes my eyeball test, then I use the same micro fiber process I described above.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    I've been oiling *after* practice for years based on the advice of Mike Milnarik, a Boston area tuba pro. He publishes a nice daily routine and to quote from it: "Best time to oil your valves... AFTER you finish practicing/playing. It will help to prevent build up in your valves that will begin to grow when the instrument isn't being played.". I do one other thing that may be helpful: I don't put the instrument in it's case after practicing, but keep it upright in it's stand. This is to keep the goop that collects in the bottom caps from getting into the rest of the horn. If I know that my next playing will require using the case, then my oiling routine includes removing the pistons and caps, swabbing the casing and cleaning the bottom caps. Since I rehearse at least once a week, this keeps things pretty clean.
    Carroll Arbogast
    Piano Technician
    CMA Piano Care

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Helston, Cornwall
    Posts
    23
    As my instrument has just been serviced I will join you in this endeavour, it does make sense thinking about it.
    Harry Weir - York Eminence 4052 & DW 4AL

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    381
    Much of this (at least for ME) comes down to time. I currently keep my horns in a locker in my local college fine arts building. (I rehearse with both the college and community bands there and also do most of my practicing there (lots of individual practice rooms available.) If I need to run back to work, I may not always have time to wipe down the valves and oil them.
    Larry Herzog Jr.
    Adams Custom Series E3 euphonium (Selected model, silver-plated)
    Denis Wick SM4U mouthpiece (gold-plated)

    Twitter: iMav
    Facebook: iMav
    Email: me@imav.org
    Founder of geekhack.org

    Linktree: iMav


    All things EUPHONIUM! Guilded server

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Posts
    65
    I perform a post-practice clean/oil out of necessity, otherwise my Sterling's recalcitrant 2nd valve acts up. Seemed a nuisance initially, but like flossing and brushing before bed, has become a mindless, quick habit.
    My music room has an attached kitchen with a large stainless sink & faucet with a pull-out hose, so I pull the main slide and set it aside, then pull and rinse the mouthpiece, lock the 4th and run water into the leadpipe, depressing the valves in turn to flush it all.
    Blow the water out, re-insert the main, and oil the valves.
    It's almost quicker to do than to describe, and the reward is a clean, consistent horn (insignificant amount of gunk when I perform a major clean once or twice a year, whereas I used to accumulate large globs of green stuff and have to laboriously disassemble and thoroughly clean much more frequently).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NYC metro area
    Posts
    468
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    [snip]Now I am introducing the "Dave Werden Patented () Oiling Method Number 3." [snip]
    I am reminded of a one-man play I saw on Broadway a number of years ago, about Louis Armstrong (I'm sorry I forget the actor's name; he segued perfectly from sounding like Armstrong to sounding like his manager Joe Glaser [of course, I never heard Glaser speak; this was more a matter of meeting my expectations of what the voice would be]). Anyway, one of the scenes was Armstrong in his dressing room after a concert. The actor completely disassembled the trumpet and cleaned it while talking to the unseen others in the room. I assumed at the time that this was based on what Armstrong actually did after each concert.

    I'm sorry, Dave, but it's possible that Armstrong had done it first, and that the U.S. Patent Office may consider your method to be "prior art."
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1 (DE 101XTG9 mouthpiece in the drawer)
    Bach 36B trombone; Bach 6.5AL mouthpiece (pBone on loan to granddaughter)
    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) keep me company while practicing

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