The dreaded green hand. Avoided!!

By: frugalhorn

Jan 17 2013

Category: Uncategorized

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Focal Length:6mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Recently a young player of a Hoyer 802 noticed that her grip/ fingering hand was taking on a green cast/color after a long rehearsal. The lacquer looked good, but apparently there were micro leaks allowing her personal chemistry to react with the brass enough to allow her hand to take on the green reaction to the brass. Those of us that have played un-lacquered horns are totally familiar with this, and when I was young thought it was cool to have the greenish reaction on my hands, sort of badge of being a ‘real’ horn player.  The decision was made to put a NiSi shield on her horn to combat this condition. In stock, I had two designs, shown above. She selected the longer one.

She wanted to keep as much lacquer as possible on her horn, so the philosophy of burnt lacquer indicated a well done job was out….The installation, with a minimum of lacquer loss. became a project, as illustrated in the following pictures. The location of where she wanted the hand grip was located and the part was wired on.HG-4Then, with a sharpie, I outlined the area that lacquer needed to be removed from…The solder will not work on the lacquer so the areas where solder will be applied must be stripped or “de-lacquered”.HG-5Once the outline was complete, the lacquer was carefully removed using both used nail files and sandpaper. There will be some lacquer loss outside the line , but we’ll try to hold it to a minimum.HG-6

In addition to guard on the top of the bell tail, we’ll install a NiSi guard on the lead pipe. The removal of lacquer on the leadpipe was handled in the same manner. Note in the following two pix that the lacquer has been removed where the soldering will be done,HG-7the next pix shows the sanded leadpipe.HG-8Note the belltail/leadpipe brace is still in place. Yet, because of the intrusion, on the two guards this brace will have to be removed, the size altered (shortened at the tips) and re-installed.

Prior to tinning I scuff the area to be tinned with sandpaper to increase adhesion. HG-9

The guards to be installed will be ‘Tinned” This is a process where the inside is lined with a coating of solder prior to installing. There are special tinning fluxes, which allow this to be done.As it is done it appears like this.

HG-11 I use wooden stick cotton swaps to spread the solder when liquid around on the guard.HG-10when done, prior to cleaning, (washing) it looks sort of funky.HG-12once done and washed it appears like this.HG-14

The next step is to partly tin the areas the guards will be solder to on the horn. The Idea is that if both sides have tinned solder, then all you have to do  is reach the temperature where the solder melts to achieve adhesion.


The next step is to wire the guard in place prior to being soldered. I use shields made of old horn tubing to support the tension of the wire, thereby avoiding the creasing of the horns tubing caused by the tension of the wire. I like 18 gauge annealed wire but the most readily available wire is 19 gauge (thinner and less strong). The 19 gauge can be found at local hardware stores where the 18 gauge comes from repair suppliers, like Ferree’s,  Allied or Votaw. The 19 gauge is generally not re-useable and will break during the following process.

HG-15HG-16Once the part is wired in place, heat is applied, hopefully, just to the temperature required to melt the two layers of solder on the two tinned areas.

HG-17Once done remove wires, and the shields, wash and re-solder the brace. then buff and it’s done with a minimum of lacquer loss….HG-19HG-20Ta da ….   another job complete.  Care to know how much?  Email and I’ll tell you.


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