Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
During my trumpet years, i got into restoring a few cases for some key era horns that I felt just warranted a good original case.
One day, I thought i would be nice and offered to restore my work colleague's Bach Strad Cornet case.
The thing nearly killed me, their cases are built like tanks and very hard to disassemble and rather complex.
After that, I hung up my tools and said 'never again'.

And then i bought a pristine 1923 Conn C Melody that had just an awful, but salvagable case.
Just didn't seem right to seek out a modern case for the horn.

A few things about re-doing case interiors...
1. Fabric from the 20s-30s was far superior than today, and color is often difficult to match (especially since this one was a deep royal purple with blue hues, a color which no one re-upholsters furniture with today---btw, you must use upholstry grade fabric for good results).
2. Fabric corners are an art I still have not mastered, nor will I ever.
3. Conn cases seem to be the easiest to restore, having done a few now. They used logical things in their cases.
4. Measure 6 times, cut once.
5. No matter how careful I am, I still make mistakes. I made 2 here, but have made peace with them, mostly because i ran out of fabric and really don't want to fix them.

Here are some before/during/after pics.
Note the numbers in the case, I wonder if they have any significance other than the type of horn or design.

View attachment 245318

View attachment 245320

View attachment 245322

View attachment 245324

View attachment 245326

View attachment 245328

View attachment 245330

View attachment 245332
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,747 Posts
Cool. I never would have considered doing that. It looks like the answer to the smelly old horn case problem. Besides, a finely restored old horn deserves a beautifully restored old case. I could see doing the outside in expensive soft leather. It wouldn't be for resale but just something cool to have for a horn you love and intend to keep.
 

·
Registered
Early 70's Yamaha YTS-21 with a 10MFan Classic 7* 'piece and whatever reed is in the case
Joined
·
124 Posts
Beautiful work!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician, Forum Contributor 2
Joined
·
1,760 Posts
Wow! kudos to you. I've tried to restore a couple of cases and failed miserably both times so I have half an inkling as to how much work and skill this required.
Have a couple of your favorite beverages to reward yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Beautiful. Congratulations on a job well done. I'm impressed you could find upholstery material that shade of purple. A few years ago I searched and searched and finally gave up.
I have the advantage of being close to NYC, and around FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) there is about 4 blocks of fabric store after fabric store.
Took two trips and about 4 hours of searching over 2 days before i found anything reasonably close.
Had a nice backing as well that kept the glue from (mostly) seeping through (one of my mistakes I will look to correct later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
You're lucky the basic shell wasn't falling apart. My old baritone case has probably as much fiberglass repair/reinforcement as original wood, at this point.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
That looks awesome, love that colour. Congratulations on a job well done!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You're lucky the basic shell wasn't falling apart. My old baritone case has probably as much fiberglass repair/reinforcement as original wood, at this point.
Yes I was. I had to add some wood glue to two corners that were a bit loose and now is rock solid.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Woah........BEAUTIFUL!!! Damn, I truly believe you could turn your craft into a small business if you'd like. Those old cases, while sometimes lacking good protection for the horn, are rock solid and as you know, also simply have SO much more character than the new "things" on the market today. Personally, I have a bunch of the old Selmer Clarinet (BT/RI era) that have the leather handles broken off and the insides are.....well......crap. IF I could figure out how to restore them (others as well), I know there would be a market for them. Then again, I'm too damn busy trying to FIX the instruments and on top of that, play them myself!
Again, impressive stuff!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all!
I could see doing this on the side if I took some time to get my technique better and switched to hot glue to avoid some of the difficult pitfalls of using cold tacky glue.
That said, the time involved would really make it not worth it to most.
It is easy enough to do yourself with some patience, which I think would be more the case (no pun intended) for most.
Figure $50 for materials (not including cutting tools, etc) and 10+ hours in all, I couldn’t see doing any for a price anyone would pay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I hate to bring this post back to life after such a long time, but honestly, this is incredible work! I am in the same dilemma, looking for a case for a restored Buesher C-Melody and not having much luck finding any case options that are reasonable. The structure of this case is sound, but the dreaded smell... I can't put the horn back in it.

The DEG case often recommended is no longer in existence anywhere that I can find, and the few that I have found are over US$200 which seems a bit high when I can find plenty of alto/tenor options for considerably less and with more attractive designs to be honest. I have read about using styrofoam pads, maybe covered with fabric, to make a tenor case fit a C-Melody, but then the case is larger than necessary and it still isn't visually appealing. But I haven't seen a picture of one well done, so maybe it is possible...

But a few questions on your retrofit...

You mention upholstery fabric, but is it velvet, crushed velvet, or what particular style? I don't know fabrics at all.

You didn't, by any chance, take any photos of any interim steps to give a hint at how you actually did it, do you? Curious how you attached the various pieces, if it is all glued or what? Is the fabric underneath them, or just to the edge and wood is glued to wood?

I'll keep looking for options, I need something to protect the horn, I just can't pull the trigger on almost double the cost for the C-Mel case as compared to an alto/tenor case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
I hate to bring this post back to life after such a long time, but honestly, this is incredible work! I am in the same dilemma, looking for a case for a restored Buesher C-Melody and not having much luck finding any case options that are reasonable. The structure of this case is sound, but the dreaded smell... I can't put the horn back in it.

The DEG case often recommended is no longer in existence anywhere that I can find, and the few that I have found are over US$200 which seems a bit high when I can find plenty of alto/tenor options for considerably less and with more attractive designs to be honest. I have read about using styrofoam pads, maybe covered with fabric, to make a tenor case fit a C-Melody, but then the case is larger than necessary and it still isn't visually appealing. But I haven't seen a picture of one well done, so maybe it is possible...

But a few questions on your retrofit...

You mention upholstery fabric, but is it velvet, crushed velvet, or what particular style? I don't know fabrics at all.

You didn't, by any chance, take any photos of any interim steps to give a hint at how you actually did it, do you? Curious how you attached the various pieces, if it is all glued or what? Is the fabric underneath them, or just to the edge and wood is glued to wood?

I'll keep looking for options, I need something to protect the horn, I just can't pull the trigger on almost double the cost for the C-Mel case as compared to an alto/tenor case.
If you don't require a really "restored" look, you can strip out all the interior and replace it with foam rubber; cut the foam rubber to fit the horn; then get a piece of generic velvet from a nearby fabric store, wrap the foam rubber in it and shove the whole thing it. You don't have to adhere the fabric to the foam rubber or to the case, just wrap it and shove it in there and let the foam rubber hold it. I did this to my baritone case 30 years ago and it's still working fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
817 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I hate to bring this post back to life after such a long time, but honestly, this is incredible work! I am in the same dilemma, looking for a case for a restored Buesher C-Melody and not having much luck finding any case options that are reasonable. The structure of this case is sound, but the dreaded smell... I can't put the horn back in it.

The DEG case often recommended is no longer in existence anywhere that I can find, and the few that I have found are over US$200 which seems a bit high when I can find plenty of alto/tenor options for considerably less and with more attractive designs to be honest. I have read about using styrofoam pads, maybe covered with fabric, to make a tenor case fit a C-Melody, but then the case is larger than necessary and it still isn't visually appealing. But I haven't seen a picture of one well done, so maybe it is possible...

But a few questions on your retrofit...

You mention upholstery fabric, but is it velvet, crushed velvet, or what particular style? I don't know fabrics at all.

You didn't, by any chance, take any photos of any interim steps to give a hint at how you actually did it, do you? Curious how you attached the various pieces, if it is all glued or what? Is the fabric underneath them, or just to the edge and wood is glued to wood?

I'll keep looking for options, I need something to protect the horn, I just can't pull the trigger on almost double the cost for the C-Mel case as compared to an alto/tenor case.
Hi and thanks for the kind words!
I use upholstery grade velvet.
Upholstery grade is key as it is thicker and less 'stretchy'. Don't let folks talk you into 'thicker' clothing grade, it is still too stretchy.
It is not crushed velvet as I was trying to get as close to original as possible, and that was not used, but you can use that too.

Crushed velvet seems to be used more recently. A personal choice really.
What I try to do is pull off the original fabric to see how they did it the first time and use as a "template".
What I learned along the way is the glue used is water based, so some warm water helps 'pull' the fabric off without ripping.
Then i use the old fabric as an approximation of a template, and, add a little as the old material has shrunk a bit. Can always be trimmed later.
Watch a few YouTube videos on how to trim fabric corners.

I use Beacon Fabric Tack glue as its 'goopier' than the white Aleene's or others, but in a specific way (i learned the hard way that dolloping glue on the fabric may make it bleed through, which leaves a stiff glue mark.
Beacon seems to be the best balance between tackiness and set time.
I put the glue on a piece of cardboard and then use a q-tip to spread it thinly on hte fabric edges and/or wood of the case/blocks and LIGHTLY pat the fabric on once the glue is a bit tackier. This will keep you from ruining fabric.
Dry test fit the fabric, you may have to monkey with fit around odd shapes, start on the odd shapes and smooth to the flat sides, getting the 'ugly bits' to the hidden sides, etc.

The other thing you will need is an assortment of mini clamps for holding fabric to wood in corners, or woodworking clamps to hold a large book against a case edge/fabric until dry as well.

If your case smells really bad, and the smell is in the wood, i have sealed the wood with a sealant before reapplying the fabric etc.
Take lots of pictures, label the wood pieces with Xs where they are not fabric covered, etc, i used a Sharpie for direction measurements, etc.

It is not really too hard, just time consuming, but for these oddball case sizes and a case that is solid, its worth it.
The only pictures i had is when everything is dissaembled so i knew what went where later.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top