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Discussion Starter #1
Boy, do I feel stupid. I bought a very nice Conn 28M alto that initially belonged to the USN, who nickel plated it. I sent it to a nationally known plating service, and they stripped off the nickel. What I didn't think of is that nickel doesn't get plated directly onto brass -- first the horn gets a copper flash, and then it's plated with nickel. When I got the sax back yesterday, the nickel was gone, but the copper flashing was still there, so I've got basically a pink sax. (In the attached photo, it looks kind of brassy, but "live" it's a bright pink color.) I talked to the plater, and was told that because brass contains copper, they can't strip the copper without damaging the brass. Does anyone know of a kind and gentle method to remove the copper without hurting the brass? Otherwise, I'll probably be buying 0000 steel wool in 55 gallon drums ....

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Krash2
Charlie Koster
San Gabriel, CA

View attachment 221904
 

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I would leave it alone (as is, or it might get a nice patina). Or maybe get it silver plated. And yeah, why did you strip off the nickel?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to everyone who responded. Why I wanted to strip the nickel:

First, it wasn't original. (I've also worked on an ex-USN Buffet baritone sarrusophone that had been poorly nickel plated by the military.)
Second, I expected it to be returned in bare brass, which I like a lot. The keys are nickel and would look better over bare brass than over nickel.
Third, it looked awful. Yes, the copper does look kind of cool, but there are a couple minor dent repairs on the reverse side that are through the plating and flashing.
Fourth, the thick nickel plating partially filled the engraving, which isn't very deep to start with.
Fifth, the quoted price was low ($49 plus shipping).
 

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Another option would be to use 3M maroon abrasive pads and wheels to produce a "brushed" finish. This would remove the thin copper plate and give a "texture" at the same time. This is a Mark VI tenor that I overhauled using that technique.

 

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On some bare brass instruments, when the bare brass is as clean and looks as much like I want as possible, I spray them down with Tri-Flow spray lubricant, let it sit for a day or so, and then wipe it down really good so it doesn't feel at all oily. It will still eventually get dull, but it won't turn dark, or red or corrode.
 

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Its odd that there is copper under it...at least odd to me. Gold cant go on brass..it does not adhere so usually a coat of nickel goes first. Nickel will bond loke a mf..er to brass. Now my experience is with mouthpieces but Id think brass is brass.
 

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It is a bit strange, I agree. Copperflash was usually used for Silverplate...I didn't think it was used as a base for Nickelplate.

But apparently, Conn did....
 

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maybe they just flashed a bunch and grabbed that one for nickel since it would not cause problems...it would make sense that they would prep a bunch of horns for plating...silver and gold, and then use the same set of parts if they got an order for nickel. That is my guess.
 

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It is a bit strange, I agree. Copperflash was usually used for Silverplate...I didn't think it was used as a base for Nickelplate.

But apparently, Conn did....
Apparently not Conn, as the OP stated the nickel platting was not original.
 
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