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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girlfriends Conn alto sax her mother bought her years ago was recently returned by a friend after many years. This is the 4 digit Vito Conn shooting star from the very early sixties. The horn was left in a leaking closet and the corrosion is as bad as I have seen. A trusted tech has infomed me that most of the springs and rods are rusted in place and the pitting is really bad and he doesn't think it is doable for any price.
We had thought about just cleaning it up for a decoration but again just to take it apart to buff it would be a real challenge.
One idea I had is to obtain a donor horn in decent shape and remove all keywork, including posts from the original and replace all the keywork with the donor horn's. She would also like the horn relacquered and playable if possible but it doesnt have to be perfect work and being playable is optional. She doesnt want to spend over $500 so I dont know if this is doable at all.
She lost her mom many years ago and this has a lot of sentimental meaning to her so I am trying to help.
Any suggestions would be welcome.
 

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Unfortunatley, I dont think its do-able. The most expensive thing in my opinion is the strip buff and relaquer, it is very labour intensive. Then the repair, even using a budget priced repairer, you will easily blow that amount. Best to clean and store for sentimental reasons as indicated
 

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I am always one to urge on people to try a challenge, but in this instance...I agree.

The "magic words" were "rods rusted in place". Whenever I hear this, I just walk the other way.....

Not feasible for your budget. There'd be no point in picking up a 'donor' horn and swapping out the keys, because most 'donors' will be in better shape than what you have there. You can buy one of these for around $150 and if you have a tech put $300 of work into it, you'll have a good Alto there.

I understand, the horn has sentimental value....and it IS possible to actually bring it back. BUT, if you haven't done a teardown, repad, and reassembly before...you don't want THIS horn to be your first experience. And $500 will not get you far in professional tech work if the tech has to spend the first 2 hours just freeing the rods.....

If I rec'd such a horn...I would really just grab the keyguards, neck, and as many keys which might happen to wanna come off...and call it a day.

(BTW...just a relacquer is gonna run about $1000...anyone who says they'll do it cheaper can guarantee it will also look like hell.....)
 

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I surely would have thought it a typo myself had I not run across one years ago.

The Vito brand really does cut a broad swath in its stenciling partnerships.
 

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She would also like the horn relacquered and playable if possible but it doesnt have to be perfect work and being playable is optional. She doesnt want to spend over $500 so I dont know if this is doable at all.
Any suggestions would be welcome.
Chuck- Here's something that clearly falls under the category of "any suggestion".

If you truly don't care if it plays...:

-get the keywork in whatever position you want it to remain in for eternity.
-While still assembled just get a tarp, lay the horn on it, and then brush on a good powerful lacquer stripper everywhere.
-Though you may have to do it a couple of times eventually the old finish'll come off- certainly well enough for our purposes here.
-Rinse well and on to "let the chemicals do the hard work" phase two.
-Get some brite dip stuff, slather it all over and again keep applying several times until things are shiny enough to suit.
-At this point it'll be mostly pretty shiny, be absolutely unplayable- now or ever- and is ready for a quick couple of shots of your clear spray enamel or lacquer of choice.
-Needless to say, the pads (such as remain- I'd jam some pads in all the cups just for looks sake if some have fallen out) are merely cosmetic features at this point- paint right over them.
-Will it look like sin from a couple of feet away? For sure.
-Will it be OK to stand in the corner, hang on the wall, or plant Swedish Ivy in? Yup.

Under $500 (way under) and you get what you pay for, but doable- and from your description this sounds like a two option deal; either way more than you want to spend with a very limited return, or PDC; Pretty Darned Cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JBT, it took awhile to properly identify this horn as it was a 4 digit serial number but obviously not a horn from the early 1900's with the modern keyguards.

I like that PDC suggestion Henry as at this point she doesn't care if it plays. Not sure what "Brite dip stuff " is. She would be okay with a bare brass finish too. I have a Barone bare brass horn I keep out at her place to practice on and she digs that look.
 

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Shouldn't the person the horn was lent to pay to fix it up?

This sort of damage is repairable but the costs make it not worthwhile. If it doesn't need to play I'd leave it as it is. You could spend $500 on something nice to remember her mum by. It's not enough to get horn back looking good.
 

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I was thinkin' about that, as well. Not much of a 'friend', there, if that what they did to the sax.....

Good thought, Henry. I'll take it one step (less) further.

Quite honestly....why even delacquer it at all ?

Just chem-dip the whole thing in a home-made solution and polish it afterward.

1) Fill kitchen sink with warm water (not hot, not tepid). Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Shake in about a 1/4 cup of Barkeeper's Friend powder. Mix up the water so the powder dissolves.

2) Submerge the entire horn in there for 15- 20 minutes, turning if necessary.

3) Take it out, and slather Wright's Copper Cream on the parts which are still nasty. Let it sit for a minute then gently scrub off with a super-fine toohbrush.

4) Rinse in the shower, get all the cream off.

5) Wash with a mild soap (biodegradable dish soap is what I use) and sponge.

6) Dry with a towel, then hairdryer to get the nooks & crannies and pads.

7) If necessary, hit the green, pitted areas with bronze wool or very fine sandpaper.

8) If you want....hit the dull areas with Wenol and polish with a microfibre cloth.

....then hang it up.

Vinegar + Barkeeper's + Wright's + toothbrush = $20.

Time it'll take = 1-2 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was thinkin' about that, as well. Not much of a 'friend', there, if that what they did to the sax.....

Good thought, Henry. I'll take it one step (less) further.

Quite honestly....why even delacquer it at all ?

Just chem-dip the whole thing in a home-made solution and polish it afterward.

1) Fill kitchen sink with warm water (not hot, not tepid). Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Shake in about a 1/4 cup of Barkeeper's Friend powder. Mix up the water so the powder dissolves.

2) Submerge the entire horn in there for 15- 20 minutes, turning if necessary.

3) Take it out, and slather Wright's Copper Cream on the parts which are still nasty. Let it sit for a minute then gently scrub off with a super-fine toohbrush.

4) Rinse in the shower, get all the cream off.

5) Wash with a mild soap (biodegradable dish soap is what I use) and sponge.

6) Dry with a towel, then hairdryer to get the nooks & crannies and pads.

7) If necessary, hit the green, pitted areas with bronze wool or very fine sandpaper.

8) If you want....hit the dull areas with Wenol and polish with a microfibre cloth.

....then hang it up.

Vinegar + Barkeeper's + Wright's + toothbrush = $20.

Time it'll take = 1-2 hours.
I like this idea and we may give this one a try. Thanks to all for your help. I love this website.
 
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