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In another thread, I spotted a Balanced Action listed as original lacquer that was relacquered. The question came up on how I knew this.

First, Selmer, Paris horns are engraved through the lacquer, using a Florentine liner engraver. The liner is special because instead of a single trough, it leaves more shallow parallel lines. These lines are quite easily buffed out or filled in during the relacquering/replating process. If engraving is in any way not uniform in depth or texture it is 99% probably a refinished horn. If it's a vintage Selmer, Paris with the American engraving, and it was done with a flat graver and not a liner, it's redone.

There are some other dead give-aways like lacquer color, or lacquer on horns that were never lacquered. These really depend on the manufacturer. On some horns, you can spot the bell seam.

Truthfully, the best way to spot a refinished horn is to look at tons and tons of horns, or pictures, and become familiar with what should be right. Remember that these are instruments made in factories through a consistent process.
 

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Jason, I recall an article by someone presumed to be in the know, that Selmer Paris horns had 5 coats, with the engraving performed after the first two or three. Personally, it sounds dubious, and I wouldn't have a clue...

As to the bell seam, though, you might have some argument as to whether that's a sure-fire indicator. I used to think it was, but I can see the seam on horns that I know to be original, even new ones. I forget what sort of braze is used (alloys and flame gases), but it's possible <yeah, I dunno> that the surface of that "zipper" reacts differently than the surrounding brass with the lacquer coat, over time....
 

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Well, the seam is the least reliable method. It is usually something that works in concert with other clues, like acid bleed. As for 5 coats... hm. No comment. Selmer USA horns were lacquered with clear coat, engraved, then chem-stripped and relacquered over the engraving.
 

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Another way of spotting a relaquer I have learned involves checking for bubbling of the laquer, especially around the underside of the rim of the bell.
Jason is right, you need to see lots of horns and even then it can be hard to tell. Different brands were done differently. Much harder to tell a relaquered King for example then a Martin or Buescher.
 

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I've heard that jewlers rouge which is applied to the horn and buffed off in the polishing process will often be visible as red streaks inside the tone holes. This is supposed to be a giveaway that a horn has be relacquered. I've read on this forum that Sonny plays a relac. horn.
 

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I recall learning from Selmer that their colored lacquer horns, BLACK or WHITE, have five coats of lacquer - necessary to get full coverage with dense color. (If you've ever shot colored lacquer, you'll nod your head.)
 

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My VI alto was purchased new. It's a 109... series. It was engraved before lacquer was applied in the European style.. It has SP keys and octave key on the crook. This is a Paris horn imported to the UK. My friend has the same series... engraved before lacquer. Came in the great grey and white imitation crocodile case wrapped in a plastic bag with Soloist piece and a nice Selmer name and address tag in white plastic with gold Selmer script that I still have. So the above information only applies exclusively to American horns.
 

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relac

Lacquered horns are also buffed with red. My 233k VI tenor still has some in spots beneath the original lacquer. It would likely be visible on some original silver plated horns.

I have owned and repaired a ton of horns myself. One thing that I noticed is that the ribs of the instrument often have a softer edge to them on a relac than on an original instrument.

I don't think we can apply a general rule to when and how Selmer sprayed their horns. They were largely hand made and/or assembled and perhaps the guy in the booth missed the 5th coat on the first thursday of each month ;)

I have seen bubbling of lacquer on original instruments that have been sitting in the closet to close to the heater in a moist climate.....

Another interesting point is that buffing is not done to the inside of the instrument during the relac process. If there was any dent work performed prior to the spray, it may be visible from the inside of the horn.
 

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Here is my mkVI,
The pics were taken today in bright indoor natural sunlight.
These have been compressed and resized only on PC, otherwise straight from the camera
What do you think?
relcquer or original?
 

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Here are a few more.....
Only 3 pics have been altered.
1 to keep the actual serial number private.
A furthur 2 where the contrast is up to show lacquer wear pattern.
 

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This all makes me a happy man!!! :sunny:
I bought in the belief it was original way before I had the internet so I was pretty limited in being able to appraise.

Sometimes, when I see engraving that is so so so deep and through the laquer I wondered how mine is not like that if its original.
The amount of detail did give me hope...I kept thinking the finer lines would have lost detail if relacquered but I'm just not an expert and have seen to few to really compare!
Thanks Guys!
 
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