sticking valves

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by E flat fred, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    I am having gtrouble with my euph, Boosey and Hawkes Sovereign 4 valve.
    I use Blue juice to lubricate the valves and practice two hours a day but after 5 days the valves are sticking again until more blue juice is applied.
    Is it best to wipe all the residue off the valves PRIOR to appying new blue juice or should I just apply new blue juice straight onto the valves.
    The guide pins (metal attached to valves not plastic inserts) are clean and the guide grooves are also clean.
    What else can be done?
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    If I'm not going to be playing my instrument for any period of time, I tend to loosen the valve caps. Some valve oils are better than others when it comes to evaporation of the compound. Maybe blue juice isn't the best for your purpose?
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  3. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    This does not apply as I practice 2 hours a day and attend band practice twice a week so I do not have time to loosen the valve tops
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I have to assume that the valves enter into the casings smoothly as well?
  5. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    as mooth as silk.
    It is just on the return after pressing them down and the springs have the right tension in them.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Difficult to call on this one. Looks like you will have to take the euph to your local reliable techy.
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    If it's all the valves, and they are perfect when the blue juice has been freshly applied, that would suggest that it is a simple lubrication problem.

    With the amount you're playing it may just be that you do need to oil them that much - a drop of oil every 10 hours isn't that much of an ordeal. Alternatively there may be residue problems which might be sorted out by a thorough clean of the valves \ casings or else a change of valve oil brand.

    Having said that I've had problems with several sovereign EEb's where the valves seem fine if you waggle them or play fast runs, but at certain points in slow passages they then stick on the 'upstroke', sometimes (particularly 4th valve) only happening if your hand is at a certain angle. This is likely to be a wear problem necessitating 'lapping' of the valves to remove any slight grooves or waves that have developed causing the valve to catch.

    It is apparently possible to try this at home by applying a tiny amount of toothpaste or a 'lapping compound' (see here) to the valve and then replacing \ rotating \ pressing the valve lots of times, followed by a very thorough rinse. Probably better to take it to a repairer to get it done properly though.
  8. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    i had this trouble with my besson BBb. What i did is loosen valves after practice etc all the time and next time it sticks i would take it out and wipe it down with a cloth then put a small amount of valve oil on and now i haven't had this trouble thing ages! at least 6months!

  9. jerseylugs

    jerseylugs New Member

    Possibly an extreme solution but it works well, especially on a re-aquired euph.
    a) Is it a new euph or have you bought it from someone ?
    b) Are you the only one who plays it ?
    c)If it isn't a new euph has it always had blue juice ?
    If it's not yours from new then the prob could be that the previous player pressed the valves at a slightly different angle.
    If someone else plays it regularly then the valves are not being pressed the same way every time.
    Have you always used blue juice on this Euph and have you tried using something else for example I use Selmer ?
    What you could try is when you clean the Euph next time get some brasso and put a tiny bit on each valve and spin them vigourously in each casing. Wash this off and then oil them as normal.
    This is a great way of getting knackered valves working again but I wouldn't suggest using it on a new Instrument as If the valves are that bad return it to the manufacturer.
  10. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    2 hrs everyday!!
  11. bumper-euph

    bumper-euph Member

    Hi, here's a tip i was given and it has never fact 2 tips......don't use the lubricant you are using at the moment........!!...get some rotor valve oil, the red stuff..take out each valve in turn and wipe with kitchen roll, put about five spots of the rotor oil at diferent parts of the valve, place the valve in the instrument and work it until it becomes almost as free as it should be. It will be very sluggish to start with but persevere with it, then, when it is free-er, take out the valve, DO NOT WIPE IT....just lubricate it with a good valve oil,windcraft sell a good one in a white bottle,put it back and you will be amazed......then, if need be, oil them every time you use it...there's no law that states you musn't oil them whenever you want too......try it...let me know if it's better....;););):tup
  12. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    Thank you, that is very interesting.
    Where do I get the rotor valve oil?
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Interesting! I suppose this is the same idea as the "Slide O Mix" stuff that trombonists use on their slides - two layers, one sticking to the outside, one sticking to the inside - the friction is supposedly between the fluids rather than fluid and metal.

    Not sure if that's what actually happens in reality, but it works pretty well.

    Fred - any music shop will sell rotary valve oil.
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting tip about the rotary oil - not one I'd heard before.

    Anyway I think one of the key things here is that you say you don't clean the valves in between oiling. IMO that's a bit of a no-no. All you will be doing is applying good valve oil over any muck that may have been causing the valve to stick in the first place.

    Whatever you do you have to be sure you are starting with clean valves and casings. To clean the casing feed a lint-free cloth down the bore (please use something soft which will not scratch the bore! Something like a pencil with a rubber on the end, surrounded by the cloth and pushed down rubber first) and when the cloth is fairly tight in the bore remove the pencil and turn the cloth a few times. Repeat a couple of times for each valve casing. Then give your valves a good rub-down with another lint-free cloth. Now everything is nice and clean you can apply your valve oil. Provided you clean your instrument regularly, after that initial wipe-down you should be OK to just wipe the valves themselves. But every time you clean your euph you should clean both valves and casings.

    Incidentally I have a problem with Blue Juice and would never use it after I experienced both my flugel and my wife's baritone filling with blueish-green crud alarmingly quickly. I switched brands and have never seen the same problem. That said, I know people who swear by it, but I wouldn't use it on my precious flugel again.
  15. Chucky

    Chucky New Member

    i use blue juice and everytime i put my intrument away i just loosen my top and bottom valve caps and little.
    apparently if you dont do that the moisture builds up and causes sticky valves.
    when i do oil i always wipe the valves over and clean inside by pulling a cloth through.
    that just what works for me though.
  16. tootnbuzz

    tootnbuzz Member

    I agree with Ronnie_the_Lizard. Geat advice!!
    I have used the toothpaste method many times on school instruments and on two of my own horns and found it worked great. It repaired a minor valve problem and did not require a trip to the repairman. Just don't forget to wash out the instrument very well to get all the toothpaste out.
  17. Big Fella

    Big Fella Member

    I was told a method of periodically cleaning valves from a tuba teacher of mine many years ago, that I still use to this day.
    About once every 6 months take the valves out of the instrument, remove as much of the plastic, rubber and felt things as you can then squirt nail polish remover onto the valve, and set fire to the thing..
    It has worked for me for years, and I also know a few people who use a similar technique on smaller instruments.
    A friend of mine uses a similar method to clean the trigger valves on his trombone..
    Have never had any problems with damage to any valve.

  18. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    It may be that your euphonium doesn't like Blue Juice.
    I used to use Blue Juice on my trumpet, but all the valves started sticking and it was becoming an absolute nightmare. My local friendly brass repair guy helped me remove all traces of Blue Juice and now I use Yamaha Light Synthetic Valve Oil on my trumpet, which is fantastic.
  19. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    I know folk who swear by Blue juice
    I know folk who swear at Blue juice

    Maybe change oil?
  20. ScaryFlugel

    ScaryFlugel Member

    I am not a blue juice fan. Now I’m sure it is wonderful for some people/instruments, but after I started using it on my Bach flugel, I started getting insoluble solid white deposits on the valves, which, ultimately, meant I had to trade the flugel in and get a new one. :)( or :) depending on your viewpoint!)

    Never came up with a satisfactory explanation, but I suspected some sort of electrolytic reaction between the various dissimilar metals in the valve. I suspect the blue juice was too thin to protect the joints against my noxious saliva...

    Switched to a thicker oil and the problem went away.

    However, many do love blue juice. Personally, I’m scared off it.