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I've came across a The Martin bari. the owner said he had his tech removed the lacquer on the horn. I'm not a part of the religion of original lacquer but I know the effects of a bad buffing job. What are some of the indicators of a bad delacquer job?
Some photos of the horn the seller sent me
200421549.jpg 2057107096.jpg 2057107096.jpg
 

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this looks like a very crude job, which could easily have been done with fine steel wool and not with a buffing wheel.

There are fairly evident marks of a vertical action, which, if done with an buffing wheel would indicate a very quick and dirty job, but again, look very much more consistent with a quick job done with steel wool.

Also given the state of the engraving this could even be job done on a horn which was previously lacquered some other time.

Having said all this, there is no reason to think that other than aesthetics, this has any bearing on anything else and thi horn might be very good a player and if cheap there might be nothing wrong with buying it.

My only concern would be that when people tend to cut corners one way they also do it the other.

In other words if this horn was quickly done when it comes to lacquer removal what would make you think that it was meticulously adjusted?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I've came across a The Martin bari. the owner said he had his tech removed the lacquer on the horn. I'm not a part of the religion of original lacquer but I know the effects of a bad buffing job. What are some of the indicators of a bad delacquer job?
Some photos of the horn the seller sent me
View attachment 212890 View attachment 212888 View attachment 212888
In addition to shallow engraving, you need to really check out the integrity of the tone holes. Although photos may not show all issues in that department.

I can't understand why people have lacquer stripped, and if they do why have it buffed rather than stripped chemically?

Having said that, I can understand if they are going to have a relacquer why buffing may be done rather than just a chemical strip, ie to remove scratches, but not if you are going to leave it bare brass (for whatever reason)
 

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several technicians over here no longer de-lacquer chemically (which will always involve a degree a mechanical removal of residues) because, due to more stringent norms, the more aggressive chemicals are no longer available because their use is not forbidden.

Yet, horns produced before the introduction of epoxy lacquer, with Nitro-cellulose lacquer, are often delacquered with very mild product.
 

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From my experience and perspective "delacquer" and "relacquer" are two different things. In removing the lacquer from a saxophone either with boiling water in the case of the old nitrocellulose lacquers, or removing the "epoxy lacquer" * using paint stripping chemicals such as "Aircraft Paint Remover" there is no metal removed from the keys or body unless steel wool or other abrasives are used to speed up the process.

- A quality "delacquer" then would be when all of the lacquer is removed from the nooks and crannies as well as the open areas with no scarring, marring, or scratching of the brass surface underneath.

- A quality "relacquer" would involve a quality delacquer but also include:

  • buffing by a skilled professional using the right tools and techniques that do not touch the toneholes, faces of posts, or round the ends of hinge tubes.
  • spraying an even coat of high quality epoxy lacquer without streaks or puddles that is then baked for hardness and durability

* I know that lacquer and epoxy are really two different materials, but this is the terminology commonly used in musical instrument refinishing.
 

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this above is clearly a delacquered horn that might have been relacqured before
 

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I have used acetone with great effectiveness on older horns. No idea whether it will touch the modern coatings.

I know there are some shops that will strip a horn and re-polish mostly by hand or maybe with a minimum of buffing, then recoat. These horns don't look brand new with that super ultra smooth finish under the lacquer, but they look shiny and good, with a minimum of metal removal and a minimum of risk to things like the edges of tone holes. Personally I think it's a bit silly to just wail away on the thing with the buffing wheel and abrasive to try to make it look brand new when from 5 feet away as long as it's shiny no one can ever tell the difference. So what if a few pits and scratches get cleaned and coated over rather than completely removed?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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So a "de-re-de-lacquered" sax. I got it. :whistle:

I've heard of people delacquering a relacquer so that they think they can get away without saying it is relacquer. Pointless of course. Like selling an Truetone that has been lacquered. technically it isn't a relacquer as it was never lacquered in the first place, but in many cases has had a sever buffing prior to the lacquer.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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. So what if a few pits and scratches get cleaned and coated over rather than completely removed?
I think that is probably subjective. I think many people a brand new coat over pits and scratches is not so good, given the point of a relacquer is partly (or mostly) for aesthetic reasons.
 

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As explained already, you don't associate 'de-lacquering' with 'buffing'. Buffing is done to polish a sax before applying the tinted protective coating. De-lacquering is what you might do to a really bad-looking sax in order to NOT buff it. I used to strip the remains of old/original lacquers and hand-polish the brass, but no more. Now I leave any existing lacquer, no matter how spotty, and simply treat the exposed brass with 'Calcium, Lime, Rust' (CLR), which removes tarnish from the brass and leaves it a nice gold matte finish that contrasts beautifully with the remaining lacquer.
Whoever did the job on that Martin was not used to working on vintage saxes - more like an industrial worker. Its pretty rough but I do agree that it actually is a 'de-lacquered re-lacquer'. I don't know about the marks on it being from steel wool - I don't know what did it but whatever it was, it was very wrong to use it. :)
A horn like that is not going to get the high dollar of a nice original one, maybe half or less depending on its readiness to play without remedial work. I'm guessing around $1000.
 

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...I used to strip the remains of old/original lacquers and hand-polish the brass, but no more. Now I leave any existing lacquer, no matter how spotty, and simply treat the exposed brass with 'Calcium, Lime, Rust' (CLR), which removes tarnish from the brass and leaves it a nice gold matte finish that contrasts beautifully with the remaining lacquer...
I have an even easier procedure. I do nothing whatsoever. If the finish comes off, and the exposed brass turns, I leave it. I guess in theory the unprotected brass will corrode through faster than where the coating remains, but given that it probably means the horn will last only 500 years instead of 550, it's not going to be a concern of mine.

Even easier than that is silver plating, because it doesn't come off except right where you touch it, so no care is required at all (I don't care if the silver plating turns grey down under the machinery, in fact I like that look which reminds me of those old Louis Lot flutes).

If I am doing some kind of a repair I will usually clean off accumulated dust and grime from under the machinery while I am in there, so don't imagine my horns are encrusted with schmutz; I just don't assign any importance to having it all bright and shiny-new-looking.
 
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