Maintenance is the most important part of anything, whether it is a vehicle, building, or a musical instrument. Having the knowledge, experience, and equipment to maintain musical instruments is critical for doing quality work. I pride myself in having the latest in facilities, equipment, and over 50 years of experience to do the work right the first time.
First, the instrument is disassembled and immersed in diluted muriatic acid. This helps remove some of the dirt and buildup in the instrument.
Tuning slides and valves are scratch brushed to satin finish with brass wire wheel. Brass brushes are used inside casings to cross hatch and remove any glazing.
The instrument and all the parts are then immersed into the ultrasonic machine to remove the majority of the dirt and buildup.
The instrument is then washed with soap and water with flexible brushes to remove any loose deposits. After thoroughly rinsing and drying with an air hose and wiping with towels, the instrument is then checked for any loose or missing braces or ferrules, which are then repaired. Accessible dents are removed at this time and the instrument is inspected for any other necessary repairs, such as red rot, etc.
The instrument is then assembled replacing all felts, cork, and lubricants. The instrument is checked for correct water key and valve springs, and tuning slides that need truing. It is then play tested making sure the instrument plays well.
The trombone is disassembled and inspected for slide or bell damage. The inside handslide tubes are buffed with a chrome polish on the buffing lathe to remove any silicon or other deposits. The trombone is then immersed in the ultrasonic machine for cleaning.
The inside tubes on the tuning slide are put in muriatic and scratchbrushed. If the trombone has valves or rotors, they are cleaned at this time. The instrument is washed, rinsed, and dried with compressed air and a lint free towel.
The bell is inspected for dents and loose solder ferrules, and repaired as needed. The bell is then reassembled.
After polishing the inside tubes and cleaning, the handslide is inspected for dents and alignment. Many handslides have outside tubes that are not parallel and dents in the outside tubes, which need to be removed. Some slides can be corrected by removing the bottom bow to relieve the stress, and then resoldered on the trombone slide leveling stone. Other slides that are twisted, or the tubes are bent, need to be completely disassembled to be properly repaired.
All four tubes are straightened while spinning on the lathe, and dents are removed from the bottom bow. The handslide is then reassembled on the slide leveling stone so that it is parallel and laying flat on the stone. After making sure the outside slide is true, the inside tubes are soldered and tested. Solder joints are then hand polished and spot lacquered. The slide is then lubricated with the owner's choice of lubricant, and tested until it meets my standards.
Ultrasonic cleaning machine. State of the art method of using sound waves instead of chemicals (some carcinogenic) to restore your instrument to original condition or better. The same method is used to clean medical equipment. Unlike chemicals, sound waves do not etch the inside of the instrument. Also, unlike chemical dips, all brass instruments including tubas can be totally immersed in 90 gallon ultrasonic machines and remove buffing rouge left from the factory. Silver instruments are not affected by the ultrasonic detergent.
1956 South Bend 16" Lathe. Used for many procedures including straightening trombone tubes, fabricating custom parts, or sanding tenon corks for woodwinds.
Magnetic Dent Removal System. Used primarily for larger instruments that have dents not easily removed with existing mandrels. Prior to the dent magnets, instruments would have to be disassembled to have dents removed from branches. Instruments such as tubas and metal sousaphones no longer have to be disassembled for most dents. Click the photo to visit the MDRS website.
5605 Ansborough Ave. Waterloo, IA 50701
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The man that hath no musick in himself, Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; - William Shakespeare