Rotary valves - help please!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cookie2, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. cookie2

    cookie2 Member


    About a year ago I was bought an old Eb flugel with rotary valves. I only play it occasionally for fun, and the valves have completely jammed up (I know, I've neglected it terribly :oops: ). I can't even figure out how to open them up to get any kind of lubricant into them.

    Does anyone have any suggestions/experience in this area? I promise if you can help I will never let it happen again!

    (Any contributions from orchestral/french horn players will be treated in the strictest confidence ;) )

  2. bennem

    bennem Member

    From what I have been told the last thing you want to do is open them up. There are too many bits that will go "ping" and you will never get the thing back together again. No doubt someone will come along and say its a doddle to put them back together but I have never tried.

    What I do is put oil down the the particular valve tubing and let it seep into the valve. This should free it up.
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You really have to know what you are doing with rotors. Take it to a repairer. They probably won't charge very much for a clean out and general health check. I know a few people who are confident enough to open up rotory valves, but in general, leave it to someone who knows.
  4. cookie2

    cookie2 Member

    Thanks guys!

    I'll give it a go Bennem, but if that doesn't work I think I'll leave it to the pros!
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  6. cookie2

    cookie2 Member

    Useful links, cheers - ones with pictures suit me fine! I'll have a little look with the diagram but I don't want to take the risk of doing any damage by mucking around. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing after all!

    Doesn't it make you appreciate how great pistons are?
  7. JDH

    JDH Member

    Pull out the slide of the relevant valve/s and put plenty of valve oil down (the same as you use on piston valves) and leave an hour or two. Then try getting the valve/s moving by holding the end of the rotor spindle with your fingers (use no tools - they can too easily cause damage) and try rotating the valve. You can use some strength as you are not likely to cause any damage with your bare fingers as long as you are just holding the rotor spindle. Whatever you do, DON'T try to get moving by pressing the valve lever key as this may bend the rods.

    If this does not work, take it to a professional instrument repairer for attention.

    To make sure this does not happen again, try to play the flugel at least once a week, if only for five minutes. If you cannot do that, make sure you well oil it before you put it away. Rotary valves are generally very reliable if they are used regularly (I have only had one valve stick in a year on my rotary tuba), but can be a real pain if left unused for a while.

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