The 220 Swift, aquarium tubing project… + one cool horn! Pt. II

By: frugalhorn

Oct 16 2014

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized


Focal Length:4.8mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Once the tubing, in this case 5/16th”, was filled with melted bird shot (AKA lead ,Pb, plumbum, element #82….) a way of bending into a circle was cooked up. The crooks -25This first bend is a trial run, more for the technique of making a good round bend, of a small circumference.  I’m not interested in the right or wrong length to produce an exact key as of this point. The crooks -26From another view. Having both pitch and cerro alloy in shop someone might wonder why I used the birdshot method of filling the brass tube. The answer is….ta da, pouring a molten metal or pitch down a 5/16″ tube 36″ long is a pain in the butt in my shop. To fill a 1/2″ tubing is not a problem, but the smaller diameter is….plus it makes good fodder for a blog entry.  Working with frozen water is impracticable in small diameter tubing, it melts too quickly.

The crooks -27Then with a torch and special pliers made from a cheap chinese linesman pliers,  (You  have to anneal the pliers prior to drilling  a hole through the pincer part) you melt the lead out of the tube.The crooks -28Note….not all of the lead was melted and some still retained it shot diameter.. In this case the bend may have a small kink in it because the tube was not completely filled….The crooks -29

To correct the kink, I pull bent balls through to round it out. If I were a well equipped shop I’d have method of hydraulically pushing ball through the pipe. Note also in this pix the straight leadpipe which came with the horn to my studio which played in an 40 centime out of tune key…The crooks -30Detail of the dent ball set up. It’s Ferree’s tool, a 36″ cable with a screw joint in the middle, to work on leadpipes, and any other area where the length will work and you have access to both ends of the item being worked. The smallest ball is about 1/4″. It will raise the kink as the ball passes by, sometimes light tapping with a dent hammer helps, generally on bigger tubing….

Well, this pipe finished off played in the key of somewhere around F#.

So the solution is aquarium tubing. I wanted to set this horn up in both E and F. the valve crooks had enough length to tune in E. The original horn probably was in F.

So… knowing that the prototype leadpipe was the wrong length i needed to determine the correct length….The 3/8″ aquarium tubing fits into the leadpipe receiver and a mouth piece fits inside the clear tubing and have  blow with a tuner to determine the length needed for the correct leadpipe.

I forgot to take a full set of pictures, I got so caught up in this demanding work, yada yada yada….The crooks -31Here are the two finished leadpipes, the short one is in F and the longer one is in E.The crooks -43with the aquarium tubing.


This horn is really cool I’ll attach a few pix, including a couple with the makers name and city of work. Prague, Bohemia. Built waaay before the Czech Republic. NiSi is sparingly used, A Vienna horn with rotary valves, which were early well built valves, with the top bearing plate as a part of the valve cover….Its been suggested at 1830-1860 as a build window.The crooks -33

With F crook.

The crooks -34

The crooks -35

The crooks -36


The crooks -38

With E Crook

The crooks -39If anyone has a Langwell, you might be able to find out about this builder. If you send me info, I’ll post it

A really cool horn….


2 comments on “The 220 Swift, aquarium tubing project… + one cool horn! Pt. II”

  1. Very interesting post, Bruce. I enjoyed it a lot. You are a very interesting and talented man.


  2. Bravo!


    John Wilson


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