DIY lacquer repairs

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Chris Lee, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    My 1990 Sovereign EEflat bass is brass with quite extensive lacquer damage (i.e there isn't any lacquer in places). I know I'm going to have to stump up £1200 or so to get it professionally re-lacquered, but meantime I wondered if I could polish and spray or brush-lacquer the worst of the damage without causing permanent harm to the instrument or the sound it makes, and without making a subseqent profesional re-lacquer job more difficult/impossible.

    Anybody tried that? How did it work out? Good idea? Bad idea?

    Chris Lee
    Newbieish EEflat Sovereign
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Afaik the lacquer used on brass instruments has to be baked on at high temperatures for durability; I'd be worried about not being able to do this as part of a DIY repair, if it were me...
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  3. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    Thx for this AD. I wasn't aware of that.

    Very Best, Chris Lee
  4. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    If you got a factory or repair shop that does a good job of this, you'll see it's very involved and needs lots of special equipment, and quite often it still doesn't go right first time!

    It would be great if there was a DIY solution, but I can't see it working. 1200 bricks for a full strip, polish and laquer sounds pretty fair for a tuba and it will look amazing if it's done well. Get all the dents popped out first too.

    If you love the instrument and play it regularly, it's not that much money.
  5. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Another thing to bear in mind is how long the instrument may be away for. I've just had my bone repaired and relaquered following an accident on Whit Friday. There were several weeks wait for there to be enough brass to fill the oven. Having said that, although my instrument is nearly 30 years old, it looks brand new :).
  6. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    home remedy would make proffesional job harder and more expensive because they would need to remove your efforts. it would change the sound to, a proffesional job is only microns thick so as not to affect the sound. Brush or spray can would muffle the sound.
  7. JDH

    JDH Member

    My suggestion would be as a temporary measure until you have re-lacquered would be to polish the bare patches with Brasso and then apply Renaissance Micro Crystalline Wax which very much slows tarnish. I have used on un-lacquered tuba and it has kept it looking reasonable for up to a year.

    It is used by the British museum to protect exhibits.
    You can purchase Renaissance Wax on-line at Amazon, or on Ebay

  8. fsteers

    fsteers Member

    Don't know if it's available in UK, but Nikolas 2105 Spray Lacquer (available in clear and gold tint) is widely used for spot lacquering by repair techs in the US and Canada. It comes in an aerosol can, is air-drying (no heating or baking necessary), durable, and can be stripped using acetone or paint thinner. Heck, you can even strip it with a long soak in hot water. (It's a nitrocellulose lacquer, like the stuff Boosey/Besson used pre-1980s). A 12 oz (340 g) can is sufficient to cover a 4/4 BBb tuba.

    Another common, temporary "fix" is clear nail polish: again, air-drying, durable, and strips with nail polish remover or acetone.

    With either one, use a light hand when applying: two or three light coats, with 15-20 min drying time between coats, gives a far better result (better adherence, less likelihood of runs, ripples, drips) than one thick coat.

    Oh--and don't smoke while you're applying it or apply it near open flame: nitrocellulose lacquers are extremely flammable to begin with, and even more so in aerosol form.
  9. Daveflug

    Daveflug New Member

    I usually find a bit of Mr Sheen does the trick, works wonders :)
  10. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Yep; I can vouch for the fact that a soak in hot water will remove Pre-1980's Boosey/Besson Lacquer ... (wasn't actually what I was trying to do :oops:)
  11. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    Thanks for all these responses folks. Incidentally GJG as you mention I think some of the damage was caused by hot water (or warm beer maybe) before I owned it. Incidentally it is an ex Nick Etheridge (of 'Tubagility') instrument, and yes, it is well loved and well used so maybe I'll just save up for the real deal. Appreciate your advice anyway.

    Chris Lee
  12. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    On only a tenous relationship to this topic, does anybody have a rough Idea how much it will cost to remove 2 medum sized dints from the Main tube leading to the Bell, and a small dimple from a 1st Valve Tuning pipe on a Compensating SIlver Plated Euphonium?

    Need to work out whether to involve my insurance company after it got mysteriously dented whilst on out platform.
  13. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    I had bad dent damage taken out of an Eflat bow for £70, which I must say seemed suprisingly cheap, and only took about an hour of labour. Job was done by Adrian Jarvis at Dawkes Maidenhead and seemed fine but I have no experience of other repairers for comparison. On that basis I think you would be significantly under £100.

    Very Best

    Chris Lee
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Did he remove the bow or did he use the magnetic dent removal system?
  15. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Member

    [Did he remove the bow or did he use the magnetic dent removal system?]

    You know I'm really not sure. I doubt he removed the bow because there is no new lacquer damage and that would be a major job wouldn't it? I think he must have pulled through progressive sized balls to push the dents out. He didn't seem to be talking about the kind of electromagnet I've seen that you use to sort of 'stroke' the dent out (presumably using balls in the tube as 'hammers' or rollers in conjunction with the magnet). Does that work well? And would taking the bow off give a better result?

    Chris Lee
  16. JDH

    JDH Member

    Removing dents with magnetic balls can be VERY quick. I had a smallish dent in bottom bow of tuba and took to repair man for attention. He literally got it out in the time it took me to go and get my cheque book from the car outside!

    But it all depends where the dent is located.
  17. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    A local technician (Edinburgh) recently had a mate's tuba in for an overhaul and part of the deal was to remove dents. I wasn't bowled over with the results. Lacquer was scratched and dents were only superficially improved. I was going to take my Maestro EEb (silver plated) to him because he was using the magnetic ball system.