Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1961 Conn 10M that I really love the sound of, but don't love the appearance. Right now she is in the sort of "half ugly spotted lacquer/half pretty patina" look. I'm contemplating stripping the remaining lacquer from the main bell, neck, and other visible areas. (I really wouldn't mind it if some lacquer survived under the keywork or on the toneholes/whatever. doesn't need to be perfect).

1. What will the horn look like when I chemically remove the lacquer? (the parts where there was lacquer before). Will it be shiny brass, or...?

2.How long does it take for the sax to develop a "patina?"

3. I don't like the idea of buffing whatsoever. I don't want the sax to be polished, otherwise I'd just go at it with some Wenol and in the process strip away all of the current patina. Is some buffing going to be necessary?

4. The sax is already missing major portions of lacquer, so it can't do all that much harm to remove the rest of it, right?

I've read every post in about the last 20 pages on this topic, but most tend to deal with horns that either have a lot more lacquer to start with, or people who want to buff the whole thing and start a patina from scratch, whereas I don't mind it being hodepodged. Or, people who want to know how to take the lacquer off. I'm going to start with nailpolish remover/acetone, and work my way to stronger stuff if necessary.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
I have a 1961 Conn 10M that I really love the sound of, but don't love the appearance. Right now she is in the sort of "half ugly spotted lacquer/half pretty patina" look. I'm contemplating stripping the remaining lacquer from the main bell, neck, and other visible areas. (I really wouldn't mind it if some lacquer survived under the keywork or on the toneholes/whatever. doesn't need to be perfect).

1. "What will the horn look like when I chemically remove the lacquer? (the parts where there was lacquer before). Will it be shiny brass, or...?"

If you use solvents as you suggest, it will look the same as it does now. Dull with tarnish, except for the places where the lacquer was still protecting the pristine brass surface, which will be shiny.

2. "How long does it take for the sax to develop a "patina?""

This depends hugely on the corrosive properties of the atmosphere to which you expose it. Especially products of combustion, industrial pollution, chlorine form spa pool vapour, vapours from household cleaners perhaps, flatus, certain cooking vapours (especially garlic & onion) atmosphere, vapours from plastics and wool carpet, etc, etc. Not to mention how corrosive you perspiration may or may not be.

3. "I don't like the idea of buffing whatsoever. I don't want the sax to be polished, otherwise I'd just go at it with some Wenol and in the process strip away all of the current patina. Is some buffing going to be necessary?"

If you want to get rid of the tarnish, either an industrial chemical bath that attacks the corrosion itself is necessary, or you need some abrasive process. This is called "polishing". Wenol is just such an abrasive agent, that 'polishes'. Buffing, done carefully, is exactly the same as polishing except at a much speedier rate. Of course, buffing can also be done with much more abrasive buffing compound, which can remove metal quite fast.

4. "The sax is already missing major portions of lacquer, so it can't do all that much harm to remove the rest of it, right?"

True. However it depends on whether you regard that corroded look as 'harm'. Corrosion destroys a thin layer of the base metal, but in the case of brass, that same corrosion can protect the surface from further corrosion.

BTW, tarnish = corrosion = patina. Although we tend to use the term 'patina' for the 'type' of corrosion that effectively protects, in the environment to which your sax is exposed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Acetone requires a lot of ventilation, and it will burn your skin. The fumes bother my eyes, too. You need to think about how you will apply it and remove it safely. If you're working at home, you probably can't just fill the bathtub with Acetone and dip the sax without having trouble with the fumes.

I've used Acetone a great deal. It's amazing when it does what you want. Be careful though - I would pick a small area in a part of the sax that people can not see. It could be just 1 inch square. Use Acetone on just that limited area, and see what you think. You could probably use a cotton swab or a rag. Better yet, try it out on an old junk sax that you don't care about.

Do it outside. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Be careful.

When you're done, the surface will be raw with no protection. Acetone also serves as a degreaser, and it will remove everything that was protecting the surface. Watch it carefully, or you may get even more discoloration instead of a nice patina.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,939 Posts
Please check the MSDSs. I recall acetone listed as a carcinogen. Yes, it is a great solvent but one that has fallen from favor (ie, no longer for "general use") unless it is the only solvent that works in a particular application.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I might as well update. Whenever I get bored, I've been taking off small areas of lacquer using nail-polish remover. It requires a little tough rubbing, but no "true abrasives." Seems like the brass tarnishes pretty quickly and is slowly starting to blend well
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,939 Posts
Nail polish remover is typically a large volume fraction of acetone.

I hope you "get bored" in a well ventilated space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Dr G said:
Nail polish remover is typically a large volume fraction of acetone.

I hope you "get bored" in a well ventilated space.
well...it depends if I want to get my special "visions" or not...:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Dr G said:
Please check the MSDSs. I recall acetone listed as a carcinogen. Yes, it is a great solvent but one that has fallen from favor (ie, no longer for "general use") unless it is the only solvent that works in a particular application.
I tried a few different products, none of which were successful at removing the lacquer. IMO, the nailpolish remover (acetone solution) was the safest thing I could find that would do the job. I always follow proper safety precautions, and of course work in ventilated areas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
I once used a lacquer remover that i got from a hardware store, it was in the paint section, It worked great, I hope you have patience, the stuff goes on, you wait a few hours, it turns white, and you have to clean it all off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
469 Posts
Just look for a regular paint stripper that washes off in water. Brush it on with a small paint brush, wait 15min for the lacquer to soften up and wrinkle, then wipe it all off with a rag. Last step is to wipe any remnants of stripper off with a damp rag.

Try not to get paint stripper on your skin, or it will strip that too :)

At first the exposed brass will be bright and shiny, but will dull to a soft brown after a couple of weeks.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
I've used a product called "Citrus strip" before on furnature (not saxes) -but it worked very well -and was non-carcinogenic - and you could get it on your skin without worrying so much.

Much safer than other strippers -fumes aren't harmful - and I'm sure plain lacquer on a sax would be a piece of cake for it...

Let us know how it goes.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
573 Posts
Get a solvent (looks like toothpaste) called "Semichrome" Polish, " made in Germany, imported in US byCompetition Chemicals, Inc, Iowa Falls, Iowa,50126. I've used it for over 50 yrs. since you rub it, you will not gt any wavy areas as a buffing elec.motor can do if you are not good. , every motorcycle shop should have it, especially ones that handle vintage bikes, you can use a lot of "hard rubbing" It will work wonders and brass will look like shiny gold.abot ten bucks a tube. that should do entire horn.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,302 Posts
Gordon (NZ) said:
2. "How long does it take for the sax to develop a "patina?""

This depends hugely on the corrosive properties of the atmosphere to which you expose it. Especially products of combustion, industrial pollution, chlorine form spa pool vapour, vapours from household cleaners perhaps, flatus, certain cooking vapours (especially garlic & onion) atmosphere, vapours from plastics and wool carpet, etc, etc. Not to mention how corrosive you perspiration may or may not be.
Please tell me that I'm imagining reading this.
Please.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
618 Posts
I'd say to not mess with the finish, but for those of you who won't listen, here's my secret method of removing lacquer.

1.Take horn apart.
2. Remove all pads/felts/cork
3.Fill large tub with hot water and dishsoap - please do not use bathtub.
4. Place all metal saxophone parts into hot water tub.
5. When the water has cooled, remove horn.
6. Lightly scrub horn and parts with extra soft bristle brush.
7. When done, horn should be bare brass.
8. Please dispose of lacquer water safely and environmentally.
9. Replace every pad, felt, and cork you didn't remove, as well as the ones you did.
10. Reassemble, regulate, lubricate saxophone.
11. Play, enjoy, and complain that your hands always smell like coins/housekeys...


I'd posted this on another thread, but the answer is still the same.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top