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So today I got around to changing the neck cork on my Yamaha tenor neck - a gold-lacquered EX with a silver-plated neck - and hit the neck with liver of sulfur while I had the cork off.

For those unfamiliar with this stuff (I was until a friend who makes jewelry as a hobby told me about it), liver of sulfur is used to deliberately deposit sulfur onto the surface of coinage metals, especially on silver to create silver sulfide. It's often used with jewelry and other deeply engraved or embossed items which are then surface polished to add contrast.
You know silver sulfide as tarnish.

Step 1 was of course to clean the neck up a bit with a typical polishing cloth to get dirt and oils off.
Step 2, use the baking soda and aluminum foil method to electrochemially polish it. This might seem pointless, but the neck had splotches of light to moderate tarnish on it already, so the polishing was to maintain consistency as well as can be done.

Step 3, the fun part. It smelled exactly like you think it did - rotten eggs. Not as bad as I expected though. Here's a pic from right before I dropped it in.
IMAG1157.jpg

As you can imagine, this was nerve-wracking, but I like the unique handmade look so I wasn't too worried about it being just so. Also, I was wearing nitrile gloves and working with the solution for this whole bit so I have no pictures to show the unbelievably vivid blue and purple I had fresh out of the sulfur bath, but I knew those wouldn't hold (and they would have been too much anyway). My roommate and I were both taken aback by how gorgeous it was for that five seconds I held it there to balk though.
Step 4, plop it in an icewater and baking soda bath to halt the reaction.
Step 5, dry and buff gently to get the top deposit of sulfur (the vivid color) off. I wasn't quite happy with it at this point, so I actually put it back in the sulfur bath briefly and repeated from step 3.

IMAG1159.jpg

The 6th and final step of the finish process was to wax it with Renaissance Wax as a topcoat. I'll have to reapply the wax regularly, but I would have waxed it with or without the sulfur so that's a non-issue. This is very common in museums, and I've met a couple of sax players who use it as well on bare brass and silver-plated horns.
Here's my result right now:
IMAG1162.jpg

I took a break to have tea and an evening snack, and I conveniently just finished, so I have to get that new neck cork installed and get another coat of wax on there.
I'll get some better pictures of the finished job with a real camera to share within a couple days.



Sorry to the mods if this belongs in the maintenance/modification subforum. I thought it might be a better fit here in the finish section since this is strictly cosmetic and doesn't pertain to any technical workings of the horn, but please move it if you disagree.
 

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I used that when making jewelry in the early 70s.
I applied it and then used a torch to heat it.
The whole silver piece turned black, then I buffed the high parts.
Created quite a contrast and also saved me the trouble of polishing the inside areas.
 

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Looks cool ! Very different and personal look. I think doing a whole sax like that would be a bit to much. To me that would look like a piece of iridescent carnival glass in the shape of a sax. But just maybe the key cups....
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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I would have done it many years ago. In the '70s, after seeing the white instruments in the 'Star Wars' bar scene, I painted the body of my MK VI white and left the brass keys. Now I appreciate natural patina and I won't even de-lacquer a sax unless its an old re-lacquer that looks terrible.
 

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Just to match the bed spread! :)
 
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