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1922 New wonder tenor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

After three years of not caring about the condition of my horn, I think its about time to do something instead of just playing through leaks.

I already know what im looking for in terms of pads, resonators, setup, etc...

But the finish!!! I asked sotw a while ago if they though relacquering my martin comm III was a good idea, and the response was unanimously, no. And after seeing what even some of the best relacquers look like, i agree.

So as for removing this corrosion, what are my options? The whole horn has a plentiful amount of brownish red freckles all over, with a few green here and there. The lacquer thats still intact has a lot of beauty left in it, and I dont want to just have it removed. What cleaning processes will preserve the delicate lacquer of a martin, but remove every article of corrosion?

Ive been saving plenty of money, and I should have everything i need by a few weeks from now. I just would like to be more solid on my options instead of taking what my tech says as law.

Also how has inflation affected the price of an overhaul? 1500 was the standard rate previously, but im hoping this doesnt end up being an inflated nightmare.
 

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I have an Indiana by Martin and another on the way. One still has quite a bit of lacquer but I aim to strip it when I repad and will probably just leave it polished brass. The other hasn't arrived yet but I will have to have something done. No choice but it will probably end up bare polished brass also. My 1928 Martin Handcraft started out life as bare brass and it will remain that way.
Automotive lighting Textile Automotive tire Material property Tread
Wood Material property Artifact Art Human leg
Wood Human leg Metal Tartan Artifact
Motor vehicle Wood Automotive exterior Art Bumper


1st pic, 1958 Indiana tenor before and after removing some of the lacquer and light polishing
2nd pic 1928 Martin Handcraft before cleaning
3rd pic 1928 Martin Handcraft after Wrights Copper Cleaner.
4th pic 1953 Indiana tenor from Ebay listing.
The Indiana years are approximate.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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I ordered three sheets of cork today and paid $138.86 before shipping, so yeah, inflation has had an effect on my prices.

As far as the finish, likely a lot of the lacquer will be fine. If the corrosion has gotten under it or it's already loose, it will come off in the cleaning.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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I have an Indiana by Martin and another on the way. One still has quite a bit of lacquer but I aim to strip it when I repad and will probably just leave it polished brass. The other hasn't arrived yet but I will have to have something done. No choice but it will probably end up bare polished brass also. My 1928 Martin Handcraft started out life as bare brass and it will remain that way.
View attachment 136022 View attachment 136024 View attachment 136023 View attachment 136025

1st pic, 1958 Indiana tenor before and after removing some of the lacquer and light polishing
2nd pic 1928 Martin Handcraft before cleaning
3rd pic 1928 Martin Handcraft after Wrights Copper Cleaner.
4th pic 1953 Indiana tenor from Ebay listing.
The Indiana years are approximate.
You are a Madman and you must be Stopped
 

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I have not personally tried this on a saxophone that still had some of its lacquer, but I have used it extensively to polish raw brass. This is the text from the ad:

Miracle Polishing Cloth can be used by anyone to clean almost anything. Will not leave sediment in crevices or wear off varnished or enameled surfaces. The formation of rust or tarnish on metals after being treated with Miracle Polishing Cloth is considerably retarded, as the protective chemicals and waxes in the cloth penetrate into the pores of the metal and leave a wax coating, thereby causing the polished surface to retain its luster for a much longer period of time. Removes scuff marks from floors Removes bad corrosion from metals Removes alcohol, water, ink and heat stains from furniture, etc. Removes surface scratches from furniture, enamel, and silver Removes burn marks from electrical appliance, porcelain stoves, etc. Removes paint spots from metal, glass, porcelain, tile, and varnished surfaces Removes rust stains from bathtubs, wash bowls, bumpers, trim, wheels, and hub caps. Cleans, polishes and protects all motorcycle metals, aluminum, chrome, magnesium, stainless steel, nickel, brass, silver, removes rust from chrome, oxidation and pitting from aluminum parts and boot leather burn from exhaust pipes. Polishes without scratching any ferrous or non-ferrous metal, any precision metal product, any die mold or machinery, also removes rust and discoloration and perfect for removing heat caused blueing. Removes road film from glass and metals. Polishes all metal and wooden instruments, accordions and cymbals. Removes rosin stains from violins. Cleans lacquered instruments without harm. Polishes and waxes the wood and enamel parts, and removes rust and corrosion from the metal of golf clubs, fishing tackle, boats, guns, and outboard motors. Finest Gun cleaning product on earth - Just wipe away lead, burn rings, rust, carbon and plastic buildup on handguns, rifles and shotguns. Leaves a sparkling finish, is inexpensive and long lasting. It cleans, polishes and protects. Now with Coconut scent!

Sleeve Font T-shirt Art Illustration

I try to make it a policy not to give advice or recommend a product or technique I haven't tried myself, and it bothered me to make an exception in this case. So I found a "candidate" in my shop to give it a try, followed by an application of Jax Gold.

Before
Line Automotive exterior Wood Gas Track
Wood Automotive tire Helmet Artifact Tints and shades


After Miracle Cloth

Bumper Wood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive exterior
Tire Automotive tire Wheel Table Wood


After Jax Gold
Musical instrument Wind instrument Brass instrument Auto part Engineering
Light Barware Drinkware Stemware Automotive lighting
 

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Hi all,

After three years of not caring about the condition of my horn, I think its about time to do something instead of just playing through leaks.

I already know what im looking for in terms of pads, resonators, setup, etc...

But the finish!!! I asked sotw a while ago if they though relacquering my martin comm III was a good idea, and the response was unanimously, no. And after seeing what even some of the best relacquers look like, i agree.

So as for removing this corrosion, what are my options? The whole horn has a plentiful amount of brownish red freckles all over, with a few green here and there. The lacquer thats still intact has a lot of beauty left in it, and I dont want to just have it removed. What cleaning processes will preserve the delicate lacquer of a martin, but remove every article of corrosion?

Ive been saving plenty of money, and I should have everything i need by a few weeks from now. I just would like to be more solid on my options instead of taking what my tech says as law.

Also how has inflation affected the price of an overhaul? 1500 was the standard rate previously, but im hoping this doesnt end up being an inflated nightmare.
1) I know that in some localities, overhauls =$1500+ (NY, LA, Bay Area, maybe Chicago, then some places in Europe, then Japan come to mind).

If that is the cost in your area, and you are happy with your tech, I suppose you can spend it. There is something to be said for a trusted tech with whom you have a relationship.

If that price has now RISEN in your area....I have to note that in MOST places in the country....an O/H doesn't cost NEAR that, even when done by a tech of very high skill. $600-900 gets you a pro overhaul in a lot of places, still. Not talking a tech in the boonies, talking good techs in or near relatively major municipalities throughout the country.

I have a lot of clients who live in those over-priced areas and have sent me their horns. Even with 2-way shipping thrown in, I and many others can still bring a pro overhaul in for under $1000, easy....so that's always another option - ship it out.

2) Part of an O/H would be a chem or sonic bath followed by a hand-polish. IF you get an O/H estimate, ASK the tech to give you a written breakdown of all of the scope of work. It should certainly include that...as well as a whole slew of other things.

3) The polishing cloth above looks interesting, although IMHO...from the looks of your horn...it's really overdue for getting dunked into a pro bath....cleaned thoroughly inside and out.

4) FWIW my suppliers have not raised their prices on materials and supplies in any dramatic fashion - MusicMedic, Ferrees, Allied, InstClinic....so if you are met with estimates which are significantly over what they were two or three years ago....I would be inclined to posit that it's more a matter of the tech wanting to pocket more $ than 'adjusting for inflation of materials'.
I say this respectfully....understanding it contradicts a reply above. But that hasn't been my experience with my suppliers.
 

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If you want to have it done, any shop will have the ability to take the keys off and 'dip' it which gets rid of the tarnish/corrosion but doesn't harm the lacquer. This is usually done with an overhaul and sometimes with a re-pad too. To do it yourself, without removing the keys, there are two ways; the easiest is to simply 'Pledge' it. Wiping away the Pledge will shine the lacquer and will actually take away some of the tarnish. This takes about two hours on a tenor and requires a lot of cotton swabs to get into the tight spots.
The second way is more aggressive and thoroughly removes the corrosion, still not harming the lacquer; it's using 'CLR' or 'Lime-Away'. This will take longer because you have to apply it, then use a water-dampened cloth or swab to remove it.
I recommend a combined approach - use the chemical only on the open areas that are easy to do, then Pledge the whole thing.
In any event, when this is done, the horn will look great with that combination of bright remaining lacquer and matte raw brass. Here's my old Martin right after an overhaul/dip.

 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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4) FWIW my suppliers have not raised their prices on materials and supplies in any dramatic fashion - MusicMedic, Ferrees, Allied, InstClinic....so if you are met with estimates which are significantly over what they were two or three years ago....I would be inclined to posit that it's more a matter of the tech wanting to pocket more $ than 'adjusting for inflation of materials'.
I say this respectfully....understanding it contradicts a reply above. But that hasn't been my experience with my suppliers.
This simply is not true, and Ferree's and others have even put out statements about price increases. Ferree's B58 pads have gone from $11.60 a dozen (size 20.0 in this example) to $31.21 in the past ten years, with most of that being in the past few. A sheet of sax neck cork from Ferrees has gone from $25.30 to $37.44, same deal. Their tap and die set that used to cost $345, now over $500. Everybody knows about the pad price increases, and you can find numerous threads on any of the private tech forums talking about it. Even if tool and supply prices hadn't gone up, the cost of groceries has. So have rents. Get real, man.

You always seem like you have an axe to grind regarding prices, and your "respectful" insinuation that I am lying to cheat my customers is incorrect, inappropriate, and I am calling you out on it. If you can do a $1000 overhaul (how many hours is that?) that beats everyone else, you shouldn't need to spend time here (20,000 posts!) advertising and calling other people liars- the world should be beating a path to your door and all of us should be playing catch-up to you.

You seem to have built yourself a good thing. I often (used to??) recommend your site when folks are looking for a decent quality horn at bottom dollar. Why trash other folks? Why call someone you've never met who has a good reputation a liar?

I have kids who depend on me. I have spent 20 years in this business, and my reputation is all that I have to make it the next 20. You have called my reputation into question for no reason, with no business history between us, with only incorrect assertions to back you up, threatening my livelihood without cause. You should apologize.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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And yeah, here's my invoice from the cork I just ordered. And yeah, I am gonna raise my neck cork prices from $20 per neck cork (where they have been since 2005) to $30. I sure have a racket going 😂

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And yeah, here's my invoice from the cork I just ordered. And yeah, I am gonna raise my neck cork prices from $20 per neck cork (where they have been since 2005) to $30. I sure have a racket going 😂

View attachment 136120
How large is the sheet, 10' x 12'?
 

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1/4" and 1/8" for neck corks? No wonder its high. You will sand the better part of that away. The 1/4" could not be for neck corks - no way are going to bend that around a 1/4" radius.
 

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1922 New wonder tenor
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you want to have it done, any shop will have the ability to take the keys off and 'dip' it which gets rid of the tarnish/corrosion but doesn't harm the lacquer. This is usually done with an overhaul and sometimes with a re-pad too. To do it yourself, without removing the keys, there are two ways; the easiest is to simply 'Pledge' it. Wiping away the Pledge will shine the lacquer and will actually take away some of the tarnish. This takes about two hours on a tenor and requires a lot of cotton swabs to get into the tight spots.
The second way is more aggressive and thoroughly removes the corrosion, still not harming the lacquer; it's using 'CLR' or 'Lime-Away'. This will take longer because you have to apply it, then use a water-dampened cloth or swab to remove it.
I recommend a combined approach - use the chemical only on the open areas that are easy to do, then Pledge the whole thing.
In any event, when this is done, the horn will look great with that combination of bright remaining lacquer and matte raw brass. Here's my old Martin right after an overhaul/dip.

Jesus
That is gorgeous
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Neck corks normally 1/16.

The sheets are 4×12- you can get 4x6 but you'll get more wastage over time. 1/8 in this order because some vintage basses and baritones benefit from starting with much thicker neck cork to work without having the end be loose inside the shank, but you do end up sanding a good bit towards the back if the neck has a lot of taper, like early Conn basses. Just did a contrabass (yikes) so I'm out, hence the order. 1/16 for most everything else. And the prices on those have gone up too, of course.

1/4 is for key corks (cut sideways). One sheet lasts a long time, and is probably actually cheaper than buying lots of different thicknesses, although the price per sheet is high.


Guess it's NBD for that guy to say that stuff? Perhaps I am getting too old for all this. I used to post a lot here, was starting up again, but between people burning mouthpieces and yelling at each other (what a weird thread that was) and being called a liar/cheat it just feels like maybe I am too sensitive a guy for it nowadays. 🤷‍♂️
 

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would be inclined to posit that it's more a matter of the tech wanting to pocket more $ than 'adjusting for inflation of materials'.
I say this respectfully.
It sounds like, by the end there, you probably realized you shouldn’t have been saying that. And I agree: you should apologize either publicly or privately. Preferably publicly. Besides definitely being inaccurate, it seems needlessly malicious. And makes you look bad too.
 

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Even if true, can't a tech charge whatever he wishes? What's wrong with making money? If you don't want to pay it, find a cheaper tech.
Considering the level of quality work that I prefer, the number of hours that it takes, and an appropriate wage for the tech, I have to wonder which corners are being cut for an “overhaul” at the bargain price level.

I know Matt Stohrer’s work (he has overhauled two of my tenors), and for me, the price is well worth it. My horns play at the highest level, hold regulation, and are dependable and robust.
 

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This simply is not true, and Ferree's and others have even put out statements about price increases. Ferree's B58 pads have gone from $11.60 a dozen (size 20.0 in this example) to $31.21 in the past ten years, with most of that being in the past few. A sheet of sax neck cork from Ferrees has gone from $25.30 to $37.44, same deal. Their tap and die set that used to cost $345, now over $500. Everybody knows about the pad price increases, and you can find numerous threads on any of the private tech forums talking about it. Even if tool and supply prices hadn't gone up, the cost of groceries has. So have rents. Get real, man.

You always seem like you have an axe to grind regarding prices, and your "respectful" insinuation that I am lying to cheat my customers is incorrect, inappropriate, and I am calling you out on it. If you can do a $1000 overhaul (how many hours is that?) that beats everyone else, you shouldn't need to spend time here (20,000 posts!) advertising and calling other people liars- the world should be beating a path to your door and all of us should be playing catch-up to you.

You seem to have built yourself a good thing. I often (used to??) recommend your site when folks are looking for a decent quality horn at bottom dollar. Why trash other folks? Why call someone you've never met who has a good reputation a liar?

I have kids who depend on me. I have spent 20 years in this business, and my reputation is all that I have to make it the next 20. You have called my reputation into question for no reason, with no business history between us, with only incorrect assertions to back you up, threatening my livelihood without cause. You should apologize.
Bit of an overreaction and I made intended no implications that you are a cheat of any sort (?) You are being a bit oversensitive here.

Your strafe is unfortunate...maybe you were having a bad day ? Whatever it is, it's uncharacteristic of you.

....we have had a good relationship over the years, Matt. Not sure why you decided to come so aggressively at me, here. You could simply have sent me a PM if you had concerns about my post implying something. I would have taken that very small courtesy had the situation been reversed.

Facts:

The items I buy from Ferees (not sheet cork, but other products) have not gone up in price to a significant degree that I would consider them having impacted my bench pricing in any significant way.... nor requiring that I pass that on to my customers.

Note: the OP's concern was significant price increases in what a tech would charge.
To me, that means, say, a rise of 15% or more in their service fees. Anything less than that.... is just 'the usual', occasional increases to keep up with business so we can survive.

In my experience, and in the manner I source and purchase materials - buying the materials I buy from the various suppliers (and I search for the best prices on the best items from a variety of suppliers as opposed to just using a single supplier to buy all or most of my supplies from - because some have better pad prices, some have better cork prices, some better spring prices, some better tool prices, etc)....while maintaining the utilization of quality products ....

...the material price increases of what I buy are not at all dramatic enough to significantly impact the cost of my services.

A supplier goes bonkers on the price of an item...I just go source it, or something of equal quality.... from elsewhere.

So, based on the way I order what, and from whom - I will stand by my previous comment - 110% (minus of course any semantics which could imply or be be misconstrued to suggest questionable behaviour by you or any other tech).
 

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And now back to our regularly scheduled lament: "My old Martin looks like ****, what should I do?"
Nice.

I usually tell people they'd be surprised how good an old lacq/original lacq horn with significant lacq wear can look after a pro bath and hand polish.

Typically, when I do that on my clients' horns...70% of them will reply along the lines of:

"I never expected it to end up looking that good"

People tend to jump the gun towards refinishing or stripping, but really, a clean old lacq horn...usually looks pretty good.
 

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Ferees pad prices have gone up 50% since mid 2020. That’s just the past 2 years. They’re the most commonly used pads, so it just isn’t accurate to say that materials costs haven’t been increasing pretty dramatically the last few years. Pads are the main material cost of doing repair. Corks likewise.

And your previous statement simply WAS accusing repair shops of cheating folks by raising prices and blaming it on rising costs. It isn’t ‘semantics’ except in so far as it’s what you actually said.

If you replaced 12 pads and charged $250 3 years ago, and your pad cost made up $80 of that charge, you would be dumb not to raise your prices for the same job if your pad cost goes up 50% in 2 years.

btw, just as an aside: Nobody gets rich by doing instrument repair. What happens is repair people dissatisfied with their incomes open retail stores and back off on repair when they want to make more money. Its not possible to do it by raising prices either a little or a lot. People repair saxophones because they want to. In most cases, you can easily make a lot more money by getting a different job.
 
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