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Thread: Cleaning valves

  1. #1

    Cleaning valves

    I'm revisiting the Wright's silver cream discussion that pops up from time to time. I've used it on my slides, but haven't heard anyone talk about using on valves. Is it ok to occasionally use on valves for thorough cleaning or should I stick with the Dawn detergent and water?

  2. #2
    I would not use it on valves. As far as I can tell it's gentle enough, but this line in the description worries me:

    PROTECT - Leave behind a protective coating which prevents tarnish
    If your pistons are nickel plated or are made of stainless steel (as opposed to monel), then I would consider using Flitz, which I describe in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFfZ5TIlizw

    It's pretty gentle and cleans the valves nicely:

    Flitz Polish
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. While I have used Wrights Silver Cream to polish off the plaque build-up on valves, I always wash the valve throughly with soap and water afterwards. If in doubt, don't use it!

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  4. #4
    Thanks, when in doubt, leave it out. Good advice

  5. #5
    pistons - soak in distilled vinegar for about 20 minutes and then scrub with a brush with nylon bristles. Rinse well with clean water. They typically don't need polishing, they've been honed and lapped at the factory. Polish is going to get in there and you're going to go several cleaning cycles to get it all out. You just need to get any mineral deposits off.
    --
    Barry

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    pistons - soak in distilled vinegar for about 20 minutes and then scrub with a brush with nylon bristles. Rinse well with clean water. They typically don't need polishing, they've been honed and lapped at the factory. Polish is going to get in there and you're going to go several cleaning cycles to get it all out. You just need to get any mineral deposits off.
    Barry, we use vinegar (white) for a lot of cleaning chores around the house. But I worried that it might not be good for the brass that is in all the piston's caucades. Not so? Thanks.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. #7
    I've tried a number of cleaners, including vinegar. However, I've had the best results with a valve cleaner that Jerry Pollard makes. It's excellent. Here's a link: https://www.prestovalves.com/product...aner-and-brush

    He also has a product to remove calcium deposits on the valves.

    Robert Pendergast, DM

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    The problem with any chemical that will attack the mineral deposits (typically calcium) is that it will also attack the brass -- in particular by leeching the zinc out of it, leaving holes in the "matrix". Leaving your valve exposed to acetic acid (vinegar) will definitely do this. I know because I came very close to causing some damage to one of my instruments in this way.

    On the other hand, a common and recommended way of cleaning rotary valves of deposits is to dip them in muriatic (hydrochloric acid) for a few seconds. There's a good Youtube demo of this.

    The key lies in how strong the acid is and how long the exposure is. Barry's recommendation of about 20 minutes for concentrated ascetic acid seems about right. Do not do something like letting valves soak in acid over night. Bad idea.
    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)

  9. #9
    And remove the finger buttons if they have mother of pearl or abalone inserts!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Barry, we use vinegar (white) for a lot of cleaning chores around the house. But I worried that it might not be good for the brass that is in all the piston's caucades. Not so? Thanks.
    It can absolutely damage the brass if they are in there too long, but vinegar is a much weaker acid than the stuff techs use to achieve the same goal. As long as you keep an eye on it and don't do it too often it's safe. One thing to be aware of is you should make sure you take the stem and valve guides off. Depending on what they are made of they could have a more severe reaction.

    Soap isn't the greatest idea because it leaves a soap film on there. You'll need some sort of degreaser to remove that.
    --
    Barry

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