Loosening a slide...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BrianT, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I spent a happy Sunday afternoon giving one of Wantage Band's Strad flugels an overhaul, having been unplayed for a while. After a little work I got all the valves completely dismantled and degunged, and the lead pipe tuning slide out. All the valve slides but one came out too, but I couldn't shift the little slide on the second middle valve. I left it soaking in the bath while I had lunch but to no avail. I tried dripping valve oil into the join. Again, no joy. I tried twisting a cloth round the slide and tugging (gently!!!), the twist is to stop the slide flying across the room if it gives suddenly. I couldn't shift it. Do I need special tools to free this up? Or does someone have a sure fire way of doing it. (It's a silver plate finish, so really hot water wouldn't kill the finish like it would if it was laquer.) Also, does anyone else like cleaning instruments? I love it when they're all shiny and everything that should move does... The flugel is now beautiful again - I just wish the little slide would come out.
  2. squirrel

    squirrel Member

    When I bought my trumpet the middle valve slide was stuck on that. I ran very hot tap water through it (holding the valve down), then threaded a duster through and pulled, and it came out fairly easily.
  3. cookie2

    cookie2 Member

    :clap: I have a Strad flugel and had the same problem with the middle valve slide. Squirrel recommended this to me and it did actually work. It is now jammed again though so once it's out you really do have to keep on top of it. You have to keep on top of the valves generally I find, because they stick very easily! :( Any ideas anyone?
  4. squirrel

    squirrel Member

    I recommend regular practice :tongue: <runs and hides>
  5. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    My friendly instrument repairer used a waxy plasticene substance that was malleable when heated, placed and moulded around the slide and left to cool.

    He then gently tapped the plasticene until the slide came free; then he heated the slide to remove the substance. All took about 3 hours and cost a few pounds.

    Might be worth contacting a member of NAMIR for advice.

  6. I like this forum because when I need advice, half the time someone starts a thread to answer it the very same day :)

    Some methods I'd be tempted to try, but never have tried -

    * tap it gently and rapidly around the joint with a wooden spoon, but not hard enough to dent it - go round a few times, trying to loosen it each time. This is a common trick to free up stuck things, as it sets up vibrations which cause cracks to run through whatever is jamming it together. Often, it will come apart straight away. You can do the same with stuck lids on jars, or on siezed mechanical components.

    * run very hot water through the instrument with the valve up (so it doesn't go through the valve tubing), but hold the valve tubing in very cold water. Differential thermal expansion should sort out the rest. Thread a rag through, twist and yank.

    * soak the valve tube, but not the whole instrument obviously, in WD40, and thoroughly wash it off afterwards. NB: I don't know whether this would damage the silver plate - I'd try it on a small area of some other item before risking it on an instrument.

    * someone else has recommended bicarb of soda on another thread - a dilute solution left overnight I believe. Again, I haven't tried it.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2006
  7. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Very Hot Water does the trick 9 times out of 10
  8. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Hot water will (should) only work if you can keep the actual stuck slide cool in some way. As has been said above, if the hot water flows around the tube it'll expand at the same rate as the casing, giving you with a lot of steam and probably scalded fingers, but still leaving you with a stuck slide. ;)

    If you have tried the hot water trick, and gently pulling with a rag, then I think its time to take it in to a reputable repairer who will have done this hundreds of times before and will have all the kit to do it properly. Better to admit defeat and pay a small amount for an easy job that to try too hard and have to shell out for an instrument rebuild. :)

    Oh and if it's any help the 2nd slide was always getting stuck fast on my strad...
  9. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    If your using soaking it in hot water, try putting it straight into cold water after heating it. This should break the seal of whatever is sticking it.

    When Im heating siezed nuts, bearings etc in the farm workshop with the Oxy/Acetalene torch, it frees them every time. Im working on a different hotter heat scale obivously, but it should be the same principal. Your heating the metal to expand, quenching it in water cools it quickly and keeps it in its expanded state, (all be it very minimal distances) and you should be able to move it, rather than letting it cool naturaly and it going back to the original state.

    I used a heat gun (or hairdryer) as alternative ways of heating slides, and with a small tap with rawhide hammer and with pulling pressure, it shocks the slide and it will move. Your just trying to break the rusty type seal (or the old, dried out vaseline!) that has formed by the lack of removing your slides!

    Just remember to clean the slide well with T-cut to polish it up (or very fine emery cloth), wash and use vaseline when reassembling.
  10. Does anyone know where to get this "waxy plasticene", or something like it?

    I have a very very stuck slide here :confused: - I've tried everything else said on this thread. But it's still well and truly stuck :rolleyes:. The instrument has been repaired before, by soldering on a tube from something else, and I think it's at slightly the wrong angle.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  12. I could buy an entire workshop for that price ;)

    It's solved anyway - it just needed another hour. Thank you WD40**!! *sigh of victory*

    ** I squirted WD40 onto the joint, while standing the instrument on its bell in the sink, so that a small amount of it sat around the joint and could work its way downwards into the slide; and I topped it up with another squirt every couple of hours. Now I just have to get rid of the awful taste!
  13. PS. I also found a tiny dent in the 2nd-valve slide, which was making it very stiff. The gentle and careful application of the handle of a kitchen knife has removed said dent, and now that one works aswell.
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - I would have suggested WD40 but the stench can last for ages! :oops:
  15. Thanks ... I think :D

    It's soaking in A BOWL OF WARM WATER WITH WASHING UP LIQUID RIGHT NOW. (damn that caps lock :rolleyes:) Hopefully that will absorb most of it.
  16. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Quite like the smell personally, but those pink elephants keep getting in the way of the music!!!!!!!!
  17. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I considered combining all the suggested methods, thus: first soak the instrument in WD40. Then apply a blowtorch. Then douse flames using the bucket of bicarb solution handily standing nearby. Pick up all the now disjoint bits of pipe and try to join them all together again with plasticene. I like flugels, honest.

    You'll be relieved I didn't actually do the above. Instead I got the little slide out by dripping oil on to the join every day, and tugging with a loop of string I'd tied round (the duster was too fat). Now all the slides slide and all the screws turn and all the valves work. Beautiful!

  18. squirrel

    squirrel Member

    :clap: I love a happy ending.
  19. What kind of oil did you use?
  20. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    It was actually electric shaver oil, which is slightly thicker and clingier than valve oil. Once the slide was out I cleaned it up (lots of yuk solid green stuff inside) and used that brilliant red Selmer slide grease. Works a treat now.


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