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Conn new Wonder Thread size

1421 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  alleycatdad
Ok, so it's my first post and I'm asking for help....that never happens...


My 11-year-old is learning to play, and he's dragged me into the process with him, and as an old Baritone horn player, it's turning out to be a lot of fun. I hate owning stuff I can't work on, at least in a basic fashion, so I've been keeping an eye out for something to learn to work on...

That project has arrived, and in the words of Chief Brody (Jaws): We're gonna need a bigger boat.

I've fallen into a 1922 Conn New Wonder that, despite it's age and travails, is a sweet player.

However, it's the most abused instrument I've seen in a long time-maybe ever. Much of the silver plate is gone from the keywork, and the culprit, in the form of hard red Jeweler's Rouge, lurks in every crevice. Some rocket scientist put this poor thing on a buffing wheel-assembled (and, apparently, with his eyes closed)! I don't care a lot about looks, but how anyone could do this to a horn is beyond me. Look closer and you can see that most of the key barrels in the lower stack (at least) have been swedged.....with lineman's pliers....

Amazingly, leaks are few and minor and it wants badly to play--and, to my inexperienced chops, play easily and well.


So much for the history.

My immediate need is related to the fact that the main rod for the lower key stack had (probably) been buggered and cut short, and a new screwdriver slot poorly cut into the [new] end. On removal, one side of the slot departed the rod, and I was extraordinarily lucky to get it out at all. Anyway, I need a new rod. I live in a remote area and have no local resources. I'm an OK gunsmith, and I can fix a carburetor, if that helps... ["Carburetor"; a french word that means, "DON'T MESS WITH IT, STUPID..."]

So, can you direct me to a source for appropriate rod stock? And--most importantly--a threading die in the appropriate thread (which I don't know what it is....)?

My hardware store stops at 1/4-20 in terms of being able to ID a thread size, so any educated guesses on that are welcome as well.

Obviously, as I get deeper into this project, there's gonna be more issues but I'm new at this and would like to get it together so I can play it a bit and get to know her before I make any further ugly discoveries. It's sure a lot better horn than the ex-rental Jupiter I'm using now...

Thanks for your help!

Steve Alley
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Hey thanks! I figure I can work up to the fine tuning aspects of this; it is, after all, my learning horn. With all of the teeth marks in the key tubes I have difficulty believing that it's worth the time and effort to make post fit perfect. I'm not interested in turning out a fully restored horn; right now it's unplayable becuase I can't renistall the lower stack, so that's a priority. It already plays better than the student horn I use now.

I'm not disinclined to learn how to do as much as I can, but I'd like to learn in steps (kindasorta) if I can. This all came about because the F# key spring was too weak to open the cup on it's own and it works in a hole so the stack had to come off. The rod issue was a bonus! If I can get back to where I started then I can begin to prioritize what needs to be done. Realistically, this horn will never be a candidate for a high-dollar, perfection is the goal resto; it's just been so abused even to my eye that I'll be grateful to keep it playing. I think it's already to the point of dimishing returns, which is how I ended up with it.

If I can learn some useful skills and keep it playing without investing stupid amounts of $$ (wife: "Too late!") then I will be happy.

Thanks for your help!

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