Oiling Valves

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by JDH, Apr 29, 2005.


How often do you oil your valves?

  1. Every time you play

    2 vote(s)
  2. Daily

    0 vote(s)
  3. A couple times per week

    2 vote(s)
  4. Weekly

    5 vote(s)
  5. Monthly

    4 vote(s)
  6. Only when they stick, or get slow

    18 vote(s)
  7. Never

    2 vote(s)
  1. JDH

    JDH Member

    I wonder how frequently do most players oil their instrument's valves.
  2. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    All the bleedin' time at the moment! :rant2:
  3. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Never, I rinse the crud off my valves regularly and lightly polish them with autosol, I clean the insides of the valve casing in the bath with a toothbrush, then I fill a jug with boiling water and Fairy liquid to the consistency of weak cordial and dip my valves in that... Done evry week to fortnight keeps them immaculate and incredibly fast... Just wish my fingers were now...!!
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... still road-testing the non-toxic silicon-based Wallace Collection oil and still no probs. after 3 days! (they quote 6+ days).
  5. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Whats the difference, you dont drink it??
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    if it ain't broke...don't oil it ;)
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    .... well, no-one onsite has said they have tried it yet .... so I'll gamble for a while. If it works, it works ... if it doesn't, I'll drink it and sue if it poisons me! :eek:
  8. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Ha... I dont understand valve oil at all... Ive done the above technique for a few years and it works fantastic... Im told Blue juice is supposed to be good, but I know that all oil attracts dust and dirt, thats why I steer clear of it...
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... given your username I would then avoid using oil .... LOL! :rolleyes:
  10. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Ha... If I could give you more rep I would!!
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... gets me thinkin' .... when did valve oil become widely available after good ol' spit was seen as a no-no?
  12. Terrible Tuba

    Terrible Tuba Member

    Oil or no Oil

    This subject seems to be never ending, there is definately totaly confusion throughout the Brass Band movement about wether to use oil on valves or not. I would agree that when you use any type of oil it will give immediate improvement in the valve action but this will be only very short term. This last week I took a cornet to our local instrument repairer because when the instrument got warm the valves started to stick, the player had used over the last month nearly a full bottle of oil to enable her to keep playing.
    I was told by the repairer that valves are a tolerance fit, therefore if kept clean they will not stick unless they are worn or if you are just starting on an instrument that someone else has used for a long period of time in this case everyone presses a valve down in a slightly different way and the valve may bed in to suit the regular player. He said that he only uses oil on worn valves not to make them move freely but as a way of sealing the minute amout of wear between the valve and casing thus preventing leakage.
    Sandman is quite correct from an engineering point of view that any type of oil or grease attracts dust and dirt particles from the air causing the oil to become thicker the start to slow your valve down.
    I also dry my valves and polish them with Autosol about twice a year, clean the casings and from then only use a diluted solution of washing up liquid and water. This solution of water and washing up liquid is actually thiner than oil and does not seem to attract the dust and dirt as quickly as oil.
    Dont forget even the best Rolls Royce needs maintenance, many banders seem to think that an instrument will play forever just by filling the valves with oil.

    Happy banding:D
  13. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Very true words there Terrible Tuba...although I do advocate oiling valves, in the quanties you state there is clearly something else wrong. A whole bottle in a month? :eek: I bet the cornet smelled like a petro-chemical factory.:eek:

    As an engineer myself I have to say that Sandman is right too - oil or grease does attract dust and general crud, which is why at work our technitions are very careful to clean parts before oilling or greasing them. Otherwise you end up with very effective lapping paste (for the uninitated lapping paste is something used to grind down surfaces - on other words not what you need on valves). I use the same theory...I always wipe my valves thoroughly before oilling them, otherwise all you do is seal in the crud that was stopping the valve from working effectively.

    So in answer to the original question...no more than a couple of times a month - basically if one valve starts to stick then I do all three. But I only use valve oil very sparingly and always wipe the valve clean before oilling. As a point of reference my last bottle of Blue Juice lasted for over two years.
  14. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    I find that valves used on a regular basis through regular band practice and personal pracice won't stick and need no oiling at all. I only ever have to oil my valves after a period of not using my instrument, for example after a fortnights holiday
  15. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    Alot of the kids go about oiling their valves by turning their instrument upside down and "pouring" valve oil in the holes in the bottom of the valve casing! Maybe some of it might lubricate the valves but surely most of it just goes inside the valve, then out again when they turn instrument proper way up!

    Usually theres something simple which needs cleaned or theres something wrong with guides or springs when valves start to stick. They wont sort it out in the long run by not taking valves out and cleaning them! Annoys me when you've to keep telling them to take the valves out, wipe them down and oil them properly!

    Ive started just using a spray bottle with water and alittle fairy liquid, applying occationally to keep the valves going, works alright!
  16. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    One point missing in this discussion so far is the proliferation of nylon and other plastic guides. These will wear very quickly if the valve is operated dry, and even a small amount of wear can cause the valve to stick. Yamahas seem to be particularly prone to this problem. Proper lubrication can prevent this wear. And some lubricants may not damage the metal parts of the valve but may injure the plastic parts. Same thing with the springs - they are often not made of the same metal as the valve body, and different lubricants might affect them differently. If you're trying different lubricants, don't just go by how the valve feels when played, but also inspect all the parts for wear or changes in color, which can indicate an undesired reaction.

    I oil my valves whenever I clean them, which is about once a week, as the valves on my Yamaha pro baritone are extremely close tolerance and the slightest bit of dirt anywhere causes an issue. If the instrument is in the case for more than a couple of days, I'll generally oil the valve but only in the channel where the guide runs, just to prevent wear on the plastic guide.

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