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Discussion Starter #1
Recently bought an 'Elk Hart' Buescher for a very decent price.
It was described as "There is some tarnish and oxidation."
Well it was not tarnish, nor oxidation.....the horn is either painted or has sort of home applied lacquer.
I could have returned the horn, but the action feels really good and for the price....well I have decided to keep it.

I am dipping the body in vinegar and see that the body is silver, but it is worn off in areas with brass showing.
What I originally thought was paint is showing to be a 2 coat process (hence my thought of some home brewed lacquer process).

So my dilemma is not so much the body, but the keys.
Is there a way, other than meticulously working around the pads, to remove paint/lacquer with the pads still on?
What will the vinegar do to pads if I was to leave them on & dip?
 

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I am not sure what vinegar is going to do for the horn aside from possibly removing some of the oxidation on bare spots or the nasty stuff built up around tone holes. It will also react with the steel in the springs. I have never tried vinegar on pads to see what it will do, but since it is an acid, i can't imagine the results will be positive. You have not stated if you are trying to remove the coating. Vinegar would not be my first choice for finish removal. At any rate, I would avoid getting any chemical on the pads including vinegar. I would also thoroughly rinse the instrument body with lots of water, dry the horn and oil the springs, if you are leaving them in for this cleaning.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well the sax has been soaking for a few hours and the lacquer if coming off!
Now I am wondering if this is original (bad) lacquer?!
NOT paint, yet it seems that under the 'lacquer' is bare brass...looked like silver in the sun, but I believe it is actually brass.

Here are some pix....body with most of the lacquer removed, and cups with the 'odd' lacquer....












Thoughts??
 

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But why would it be silverplate underneath a honey-colored lacquer ?

I would guess she was silverplate and someone decided they wanted a gold-lacquered horn.

IMHO....I would STOP right here. Go get yourself some lacquer remover at the hardware store (Jasco or CitruStrip or both) and finish the lacq removal of the body with the stripper (it will not hurt the silverplate).

(Actually, if we are bettin it's old lacquer, you can even just take the body and submerge it in a sink of hot water. I would go 2/3 a sink of hot tap water, 1/3 sink of boiling water. Old lacq oftentimes just sloughs off quite easily under hot water).

Then use a silver cleaner on the newly-stripped silverplate body (Tarn-X, for example) and follow that up with a good silver paste polish (Hagerty 100).

THEN....decide whether you insist on saving the pads. If you do...then just leave the keys that sorta toe'up lacquer finish. Because unless you literally mask the edges of the pads with tape, meaning you cut a radius in the tape with an xacto blade to follow the edge of the pad ~ you are gonna get stripper stuff on the pads....no doubt about it, even if you think you are carefully applying the stripper to avoid the pad.

It might look kinda cool having the worn out gold keys against a silverplate body.

If you don't like that idea, and you wanna bring the keys down to silver too, then you really do need to repad the horn.

Quite the project you have taken on.
 

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Try"Zip Strip" you can purchase it at Home depot. You'll need plenty of ventilation. You should be able to apply it on the keys without getting it on the pads as it's a gel type consistency.
 

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Looks like an original honey coloured lacquer, just simply worn with age
I don't think they would've let it leave the factory with the brush marks and contact marks made whilst the lacquer was still wet and not rectified. If the pads aren't in great condition, I'd be inclined to remove them (and the springs) in order to completely strip this lacquer with whatever paint stripper is available in your area (Nitromors will probably do the trick), then repad it with a new set of pads instead of replacing the existing ones.
 

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But why would it be silverplate underneath a honey-colored lacquer ?
Didnt know it is silver, certainly looks like its brass underneath, simply the light reflecting, ?? is it brass or silver plate
 

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I don't think they would've let it leave the factory with the brush marks and contact marks made whilst the lacquer was still wet and not rectified.
Was under the impression from the original op, that they had brushed vinegar all over it, hence the mottling and the brush marks, could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Didnt know it is silver, certainly looks like its brass underneath, simply the light reflecting, ?? is it brass or silver plate
simso, you are correct.
When I first applied Hagerty on the sax while still lacquered it appeared to be silver, but now that the lacquer is off the sax is bare brass.
Polished up with Hagerty and looking nice......hoping it will age nicely too.
If that was original honey-colored lacquer it turned bad. We have a 'Big B' with that lacquer and I love that look. This one was fugly.
And those keys! The pads are in very decent shape, that's the quandary....do I make life easier by doing a complete repad or try something like the what BuescherBob mentioned and be very careful? Although with a name like "BuescherBob" and an avatar like that, who am I to disagree?
 

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I could have returned the horn, but the action feels really good and for the price....well I have decided to keep it.
do I make life easier by doing a complete repad or try something like the what BuescherBob mentioned and be very careful?
I think the fact it played good IYO, and you were happy with its feel saids it all, leave it alone and play the guts out of it, pointless taking something that works and repad it for merely cosmetic reasons IMO.
 

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Jeeez...'Dad...:| ....silver vs. brass.....keep the important info updated, eh ? ;)

Actually, I agree with the above. IF it really speaks up and down well and you do not feel any leaks or bad notes, just wipe the keys clean and reassemble her. I have done projects where I stripped the horn body but left the keys with very spotty lacquer and overall the horn looked good.

Keep in mind, the bare brass body will begin to patina. Usually, after using Hagerty, it patinas very nicely....but that depends on the climate of your locality.

I would suggest getting a Blitz polishing cloth...they have 2 cloths sewn together, one with an embedded rouge and the other not. Very good upkeep for plated and bare brass finishes.
 
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