Descaling the interior. More FEO-1 stuff w/color altered pix…

By: frugalhorn

Feb 17 2013

Category: Uncategorized


Focal Length:6mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

The interior of the Reynolds had the usual amount of green scale. It is important to remove this because it shows things down and any flakes of it that might break loose are like having a grinding compound in the valve casing causing scaring or scratching. Different methods had been used, I’ve known people who use sulfuric acid, but is nasty stuff and must be highly diluted ( no more than 10%) to not be overly aggressive. I remember one story of a tech who was cleaning valves, using sulfuric  acid and the phone rang, the call was an out-of-state family emergency call and when it was done, and his brain clicked back into tech mode, the valves had been altered….

Reynolds FEO-1-3The pix above w/o color altering. There are voluminous ‘chat room ‘ discussions of the best way to clean up valves in this condition. The bottom line seems to be, either “less than two minutes in a stronger solution, like CLR, “The Works” (dollar store), simple green,  vinegar, coffee pot cleaners or a dilution of, say, 6 parts water to 1 of the stronger cleaners for longer periods.  The bottom line is after your ‘soak’ to get things really clean, by good, repeated washings with soap and  warm water. (When fooling with any, even mild, acid wear rubber gloves.) FEO1-3-5I use slightly warmed CLR for less than a minute, I don’t answer the phone, I don’t do it when there is someone over to chat. It will not only remove the scale from the bronze rotor but will slightly “redden” it because molecular zinc is removed from the surface. It is in just long enough to remove the scale, you have to watch it, not go visiting social web sites, etc.  (the CLR container clearly states, don’t use it on brass). FEO1-5-10After the valves have soaked they are put in a rinse of warm water  ( I do one valve at a time, because some have lost their markings as to which valve casing they go into, and this keeps them all squared away) once the valve number indicators can be established they can come together in a pile ) You’ll note the presence of one brass “Olds” valve cover in this pix, the old FEO1 had a single brass valve cover when it arrived. More on this later.

FEO1-3-1In addition to cleaning the green scale from the valves, the casings also will need some attention, The same rules apply, either quickly or diluted. Sometimes , if the bell is removed, I immerse the entire corpus in a dilute solution, or on occasion will pack the valve casings with paper towels and, using a large plastic syringe soak the paper with the solution so that the pressure of the paper in the casing will keep the solution contact with the casing walls. In addition to the casings proper, you’ll notice the knuckles and adjoining slides are also encrusted. FEO1-5-5

The green crud, mostly removed. If I had a ultrasonic cleaner, I assume it would be spotless. Or so I hear from the ultra sound advocates. I don’t have one, so for now I don’t know….Reynolds FEO-1-9Parts of the horn’s exterior were also encrused, so this was removes with a green scrubby, some solution and some elbow grease.FEO1-5-9so now it’s time to put it back together, parts are hand polished, not buffed. FEO1-5-3note how the bell brace is completely above the ring set, not even showing in this pix.FEO1-5-1more to come….I know these techniques will go contrary to many others techniques, chime in and I post for a complete discussion of this process.



2 comments on “Descaling the interior. More FEO-1 stuff w/color altered pix…”

  1. Years and years ago when I was playing in an overseas orchestra under contract, I met Ed Backhouse who use to work at Paxman, UK. He suggested and demonstrated a cleaning procedure using just a scraper for valves. It works pretty well and is quite safe providing one uses a light touch. On the other hand, years and years and years ago, I was told a story by Ron Richards, a repairman in Hawai’i, where I was working one summer as an, “intern”, about a set of valves that were left in the cleaning solution overnight. The valves were not to be found the next day. Presumably they’d been desolved into (agressive) solution. What I’d give to be a fly on the wall of that shop when the customer came in to collect that particular horn.

    Fast is not always good.


  2. Makes you wonder what the acid was? Pretty potent.


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