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I live in a very small studio apartment, and I live in a humid area as well. Between the salty humidity of the coastal air and my breath, my awesome Buescher TH&C is developing a coat of rust a little at a time. I always wipe it down and swab it out. I have tried adding desiccants to the case, and ventilating my apartment as much as possible. But no matter what I do, it has a little more rust every time I open the case.

I tried removing it with Brasso, which works well on my Mark VI and my 10M and doesn't take the lacquer off. But on this Buescher the laquer is so thin that Brasso takes it right off the horn. I was told that Flitz might work, but then another tech told me it would have the same effect as Brasso, lacquer removal.

So I'm wondering, is there perhaps a solvent, chemical or something else that could take the layer of rust off without removing the lacquer? Also, anything I can do to prevent further rusting?

Thanks in advance for your expertise.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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If you're talking about the red copper oxide that forms on bare brass, then that's not really rust. It's actually caused by the zinc leaching out of the brass and the remaining copper lattice oxidizing. It's harmless to the horn (and you) and actually protects the remaining brass under it, though it does tend to rub off and get your hands dirty.

BTW, anything you rub lacquer with is eventually going to remove it. It's really just a matter of how quickly.

But, if you want shiny, then get yourself a Miracle Cloth

https://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Clot...265&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=miracle+cloth&psc=1

It won't remove the lacquer anywhere near like Brasso will, which is pretty darn good at removing the nitrocellulose lacquers that were used on horns prior to the '60's. It will however remove any and all patina in short order, making for a very bright brass finish. If you want to keep at least some of the brown patina (also oxidation), you can also use some Noxon 7, Wenol, or some other less aggressive, less acidic brass polish. You can moderate how much of the patina you take off better and I've had good luck with all of these on mine.

I have had no success at all with a Blitz metal cloth on bare brass. Doesn't seem to do anything at all on bare brass (including red rot removal), though it's very effective for tarnish on silver and gold finishes. It won't noticeably hurt the neighboring lacquer either, but then neither will a dry microfiber cloth. About the same effect, frankly.

Then, once you have it clean, wax the horn with some Renaissance Wax.

https://www.amazon.com/Renaissance-...id=1512442328&sr=1-1&keywords=renaissance+wax

That will prevent further oxidation of the brass -- at least for awhile. Like any wax, you'll have to renew it occasionally for it to remain effective.
 

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So I'm wondering, is there perhaps a solvent, chemical or something else that could take the layer of rust off without removing the lacquer? Also, anything I can do to prevent further rusting?
Yes, a chem bath and/or sonic cleaning...both done by techs and both requiring a disassembly of the horn.

Also, this cannot be done to keys with pads in 'em. So those would either need to be cleaned by hand or the horn repadded.

Don't buy via amazon.com, BTW. All products are available via other, less destructive venues.

I agree with Maddenma, I would cease using Brasso, quite honestly. It's quite aggressive so it does work well to get off red rot, but it is too abrasive and caustic for a lacquered horn.

Wenol or Maas are better choices as far as pastes go.

Sounds like given your local climate, this is something which is going to have to be regular upkeep. Polishes DO contain residues in them, some products claiming that the residue provides some protective coating. This may or may not be true.

From experience working on bare brass vintage horns, I can tell you there have been times where I have completed a polish job using one product and 6 months later the horn looked great, still....while a different horn, same product started red rotting very quickly. In such instances, I just tried a different brand of polish on it and sometimes, the different brand of polish made the horn patina much nicer. Which suggests to me that different polishes can yield different results.

Best of luck.
 

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While we're on the subject of red rot......
I have a small amount that has formed way down inside my horn's bell, near the key openings. I lightly brushed some of the scale away, with a brass wire brush, the other night, after plugging up the tube with a cloth, to prevent loosened material from going deeper into the horn. Am I better off just leaving it alone, or is what I did helpful?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, a chem bath and/or sonic cleaning...both done by techs and both requiring a disassembly of the horn.

Also, this cannot be done to keys with pads in 'em. So those would either need to be cleaned by hand or the horn repadded.

Don't buy via amazon.com, BTW. All products are available via other, less destructive venues.

I agree with Maddenma, I would cease using Brasso, quite honestly. It's quite aggressive so it does work well to get off red rot, but it is too abrasive and caustic for a lacquered horn.

Wenol or Maas are better choices as far as pastes go.

Sounds like given your local climate, this is something which is going to have to be regular upkeep. Polishes DO contain residues in them, some products claiming that the residue provides some protective coating. This may or may not be true.

From experience working on bare brass vintage horns, I can tell you there have been times where I have completed a polish job using one product and 6 months later the horn looked great, still....while a different horn, same product started red rotting very quickly. In such instances, I just tried a different brand of polish on it and sometimes, the different brand of polish made the horn patina much nicer. Which suggests to me that different polishes can yield different results.

Best of luck.

Thanks! I looked at the horn again and you guys are right, the rust or whatever it is is not on the lacquer but on the little spots where the lacquer has come off.

It's funny I talked to an old time tech about it, he said he can't understand why musicians have stopped relacquering their horns. He said back in the day no pro would be caught dead with a horn with even a little of the lacquer gone, and that's why there's so many early relacs out there. He said what people don't understand is the lacquer or plating is there to protect the horn, and for a valuable horn it's asenine not to get it relac'd or replated. I'm taking his advice seriously, in spite of the lowered market value. I play my horns and I want them to last and look good. I'm thinking of getting my Mark VI silver plated when I get it overhauled next year, which is surprisingly cheap.

I'm wondering, why is amazon destructive? I personally quit shopping there because I hate that site. It's annoying, too many hoops to jump through. And I used to sell there too and quit when I realized what a rip off it was. They were charging customers for shipping more than they were reimburding the seller, a hidden fee. I still use greedbay but I'm trying to quit them too, same reasons.
 

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Thanks! I looked at the horn again and you guys are right, the rust or whatever it is is not on the lacquer but on the little spots where the lacquer has come off.

It's funny I talked to an old time tech about it, he said he can't understand why musicians have stopped relacquering their horns. He said back in the day no pro would be caught dead with a horn with even a little of the lacquer gone, and that's why there's so many early relacs out there. He said what people don't understand is the lacquer or plating is there to protect the horn, and for a valuable horn it's asenine not to get it relac'd or replated. I'm taking his advice seriously, in spite of the lowered market value. I play my horns and I want them to last and look good. I'm thinking of getting my Mark VI silver plated when I get it overhauled next year, which is surprisingly cheap.
The old school standard was to buff the crap out of the horn, making metal thin in places, oftentimes rounding off tone holes, or even cutting through the rolls on rolled tone holes. It made the horn as shiny as a new one.

A few people (Wichita Band Instrument) will do a hand polish prior to spraying new lacquer. The small pits and scratches will remain visible under the new lacquer. The horn will not be as mirror-finish as a new one or a severely buffed one, but it still looks darn good from more than a couple of feet away, and it is once again protected against corrosion.

I would not do a machine buffing and relacquer, but I would do a hand polish and relacquer.

Also, the image of a horn with tarnish/corrosion has changed, from the days when that was seen as "unable to afford a decent looking horn" to an increased acceptance of wear and patina. After all, people with 300 year old Guarnerius violins don't have them chemically stripped with methylene chloride, sanded with a belt sander, and refinished with a polyurethane finish because the old finish looks ratty. The appreciation of patina as an indication of age and quality has spread to the saxophone world.

The surface corrosion/tarnish that occurs on a saxophone proceeds so slowly that it will not have any deleterious effect on function, within your or your children's lifetimes.
 

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I'm thinking of getting my Mark VI silver plated when I get it overhauled next year, which is surprisingly cheap.
If you're going to do anything with the finish, silver plate is the way to go, imo, especially if you are getting the horn overhauled (in which case the keys, etc, will have to be removed to do the work). Silver plate provides excellent protection, lasts much longer than lacquer, and looks great. Of course you'll have to polish it occasionally, but that's not a big deal if you at least wipe the horn down regularly.
 

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+3 to "Just say NO to Brasso" on a lacquered instrument.

+2 for silver plate - especially near salt water. It is much more resilient than lacquer.

FWIW, here's an ol' Buescher after a modern silver plate job. Is it original? No. Does it play? Oh, yes.



 

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Discussion Starter #9
+3 to "Just say NO to Brasso" on a lacquered instrument.

+2 for silver plate - especially near salt water. It is much more resilient than lacquer.

FWIW, here's an ol' Buescher after a modern silver plate job. Is it original? No. Does it play? Oh, yes.



Hey that looks fantastic! Is that yours? That's definitely what I'm doing with my VI. It's at that stage where the pitting is making the horn look like a ratty piece of junk. Getting those Oleg joint replacements too, since it rattles like an old milk truck. I wonder if there's some place that still does nickel plating too? I like that shiny mirror look even better.
 

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Hey that looks fantastic! Is that yours? That's definitely what I'm doing with my VI. It's at that stage where the pitting is making the horn look like a ratty piece of junk. Getting those Oleg joint replacements too, since it rattles like an old milk truck. I wonder if there's some place that still does nickel plating too? I like that shiny mirror look even better.
That was my Big B. I also had a King Super 20, and Buescher TH&C at the same time. It was the convergence of I-need-to-sort-this-out-for-myself and opportunity. It was pretty amazing to have top quality (recent overhauls) examples of three premier American tenors to compare head-to-head. I got to compare them all with a set of Borgani Jubilee tenors in various finishes (silver plate, silver pearl, gold pearl, and unlacquered) as well.

If you are committed to your Mk VI, I highly recommend getting it plated during overhaul. SotW member "Cashsax" recently had his Mk VI done - check out his thread for another opinion.

Here're my remaining tenors - a pair of Borgani Jubilees, both overhauled by Matt Stohrer. The silver plate was my #1 for the last 10 years, and the silver pearl horn is the one I've been playing for the last several months since it came back from Matt. Whoooeee, there's nothing like a great horn with a fresh overhaul!

 

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While we're on the subject of red rot......
I have a small amount that has formed way down inside my horn's bell, near the key openings. I lightly brushed some of the scale away, with a brass wire brush, the other night, after plugging up the tube with a cloth, to prevent loosened material from going deeper into the horn. Am I better off just leaving it alone, or is what I did helpful?
Leave it be. It's not hurting anything at all.
 

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...I'm thinking of getting my Mark VI silver plated when I get it overhauled next year, which is surprisingly cheap.
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The price might depend on both the degree of preparation and how thick the silver is. A "decorative" plating will last very little time before wearing through, like the throat A key (etc) on many late model Buffet clarinets!!!
 

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The price might depend on both the degree of preparation and how thick the silver is. A "decorative" plating will last very little time before wearing through, like the throat A key (etc) on many late model Buffet clarinets!!!
I suspect the biggest variation in cost will be the amount of prep. If you want a mirror finish silver plating there will have to be a great deal of preparation, buffing, etc. Plating will show any remaining dings, scratches, pits, even more clearly than a lacquer finish.

On the other hand, the satin silver finish if done right can be quite attractive (it was the most common finish in the days when silver plating was common) and surely requires less prep though there is the added step of sand/shot blasting.
 

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The price might depend on both the degree of preparation and how thick the silver is. A "decorative" plating will last very little time before wearing through..
Good point. Anderson's does a good job. My 156 Buescher was done at Anderson's (Gayle at vintagesax, where I got the horn, uses them) and after nearly 10 years it still looks fantastic.
 

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My old TT curved soprano probably had its original silver plate buffed off decades ago in favor of one or two, goopy lacquerings. When it started to rust beyond control, I had the horn restored to its original silver plate. It played great before, and great after. It being one of the older curvies with limited keywork, I put more into this then the horn was worth. But it was worth saving to me, and I'm glad I did.
 

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.... I put more into this then the horn was worth. But it was worth saving to me, and I'm glad I did.
This is always the case, not just a issue with an old curvy.
 
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