Lucy, the shop cat. The screwbell discussion from 4 1/2 years ago.

By: frugalhorn

Apr 15 2011

Category: Uncategorized


Lucy, the shop cat and I have been following the screwbell discussion on the Memphis site.

I’ve considered chiming in, but I seldom market to the high pro.  Additionally have no status among the high-end builders/techs, so my comments are mute.  Most of my work is done to either satisfy my own curiosity or to make up a good functioning horn that plays well and will satisfy a young hornist into college, or for re-emergent adults that are returning to the world of playing and don’t want to break the bank.

Many of the horns I rebuild are in fact frankenhorns. They are horns that have had a previous life and often were badly damaged. One of my favorite horns are the Cleveland built Reynolds Pottag and Chambers, and the later FEO2, 3. 4 series. Unfortunately, few have made it through the years since the 50/60’s as closet horns. Many Reynolds “have been ridden hard and put away wet.” To their credit, as Carl Geyer noted, they had good valves. Not knowing, but I have a hunch, that they were annealed a bit harder or their alloys were a tad different, but the flares were/are brittle and when folded at the bell brace were generally cracked or torn by the work-person putting the horn back “In play condition”. In some ways this damage may have shortened the service life of some of these horns thereby saving the valves. These are some of the horns I screwbell. Not to take on jets, but to save a horn. Often the tear will fall under here the ringset rides. Then both the flare and tail can be saved. Sometimes the tear will be below where the ringset rides so a new (used, vintage) flare is sought out. When looking for a donor flare, I generally look for one that is about the same “thousands” metal as the original, preferably by the same maker.  I also look for a good trashcan ring, not a “gong”. I suppose my enjoyment comes from the problem solving side of it.

The second reason I screwbell horns is for my younger clients who have to ‘ride the bus’ and size is an issue.

The third reason is, what the Memphis list has talked about, a client asks them to do it.


2 comments on “Lucy, the shop cat. The screwbell discussion from 4 1/2 years ago.”

  1. Lucy’s saying “Hunh?”


  2. Reblogged this on tubbshornstudio and commented:

    a blog form 2011, shortly after Lucy arrived, deaf, and declawed. Turned loose in farm country by a previous owner to “make it in the wild”. She died over a year ago, but managed to get in about three years of being spoiled….The discussion mentioned was pre-facebook sites, but in many ways still stands….


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