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Discussion Starter #1
I've run across a Martin Typewriter Alto from a buddy of mine. It should be silver plated, but it is all black. Would Tarn-X be okay to use on the horn until I can have it taken to a tech for a fix up?

I have little to know experience with cleaning horns up from this sort of condition, so any experience with this, and what would you suggest for how to go about doing this?

http://s1143.photobucket.com/albums/n634/JakeDaniels06/

Thanks,
-Bubba-
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Hagerty's Silver Polish is what you want.

http://www.amazon.com/Hagerty-10120-Silversmiths-Silver-Polish/dp/B0000CFMQO


You're best off taking the keys off to work on the body -- assuming you know how to put it back together. If you're not sure you can do this, take it to a tech and spend the $150 to let them do it.

Clean the pivots, rods, and the bits they go into to make sure they're free of the polish before you put it back together. Also oil everything that moves at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks a lot. With all that in mind, I think I'll just hold off all together until I can take it to get an overhaul. No reason for me to mess up a perfectly good horn just because I'm too anxious. I managed to get this thing pretty cheap. Won't be nearly as good of an investment if I ruin it.

Thanks a lot,
-Bubba-
 

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I have used Tarn-x with good results. I put some in a cup, then dipped a toothbrush in it to scrub the sax body (all keys removed) in a bathtub, immediately rinsing thoroughly. It takes a lot of the tarnish off easily. A good silver polish should remove the rest and leave a nice shine.
 

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I met a 3rd generation instrument tech in Longview, Texas... His grampa always used alcohol & whiting to clean and polish silver finishes... It does work, however you seem to leave a residue of whiting unless you are very fastidious...
 

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Does anyone know how safe the highly effective aluminium/baking powder/hot water method of removing tarnish as described on the link below is ? Elsewhere on this forum there are posts that suggest the process can damage the silver. As we all know, most polishes cause some damage in that they remove a tiny amount of silver so how does the aluminium/BP/HW method compare to that ? Is the claim that no silver is removed true ?

The page on the link states the following.

"The tarnish-removal method used in this experiment uses a chemical reaction to convert the silver sulfide back into silver. This does not remove any of the silver."

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/tarnish.html
 

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I do exactly what DavidW said. Never a problem and the horns look great. I make and repair flutes and dip the bodies in the stuff. Don't use it on the keys where the hinge tubing is though as it can mess up the insides of the tubing. On bodies it works well.
 

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Does anyone know how safe the highly effective aluminium/baking powder/hot water method of removing tarnish as described on the link below is ? Elsewhere on this forum there are posts that suggest the process can damage the silver. As we all know, most polishes cause some damage in that they remove a tiny amount of silver so how does the aluminium/BP/HW method compare to that ? Is the claim that no silver is removed true ?

The page on the link states the following.

"The tarnish-removal method used in this experiment uses a chemical reaction to convert the silver sulfide back into silver. This does not remove any of the silver."

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/tarnish.html
It doesn't "turn anything back to silver". What it does is attract the sulfur and oxygen ions to the aluminum plate, leaving microscopic holes where the sulfur used to be. The result of that is a "sponge-like" finish that will be much harder to keep clean and harder to clean later, which is why jewelers don't recommend this.

If you use a very gentle polish, such has Hagerty's, it takes off very little of the silver (you'd have to polish it a lot to cause damage), leaves an even surface that's easier to keep clean with less abrasive methods such as a damp soft cloth, and also deposits a protective coating that resists (but doesn't prevent) further corrosion.
 

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It doesn't "turn anything back to silver". What it does is attract the sulfur and oxygen ions to the aluminum plate, leaving microscopic holes where the sulfur used to be. The result of that is a "sponge-like" finish that will be much harder to keep clean and harder to clean later, which is why jewelers don't recommend this.

If you use a very gentle polish, such has Hagerty's, it takes off very little of the silver (you'd have to polish it a lot to cause damage), leaves an even surface that's easier to keep clean with less abrasive methods such as a damp soft cloth, and also deposits a protective coating that resists (but doesn't prevent) further corrosion.
Maddenma, thank you very much indeed for your completely convincing explanation and warning ! I shall be following your advice.
 

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I have used Tarn-X with good results... wearing nitrile gloves under a hooded chemical sink extracting the vapors. I put a little bit into a cotton ball and gently rubbed the body of the sax (keys removed) and when I hit a one minute mark I rinsed the whole sax off. Then I prepared a new cotton ball and continued from where I left off for another minute. Its amazing how fast the Tarn-X removes years of tarnish.... tarnish that not even the sonic cleaning I had done on my sax could handle. Just don't leave that crap on the horn for too long... its like alien blood...
 

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It's your horn, do what you like. I heard steel wool works well too. Definitely gets rid of the tarnish, and if you scrub hard enough I'm sure it won't come back.

Disclaimer: If you use the steel wool method, I, Maddenma, assume no responsibility for your instrument finish, and deny having made any suggestion whatsoever regarding its use...
 

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It's your horn, do what you like. I heard steel wool works well too. Definitely gets rid of the tarnish, and if you scrub hard enough I'm sure it won't come back.
Good point, maddenma: it's not just what works, it's what works efficiently without damaging the finish. Tarn-X is acidic and will continue to eat into the non-tarnished silver plating if left on too long. To make sure that the acid is neutralized, the horn should be bathed in water with baking soda. Also, Tarn-X will corrode steel springs very quickly (don't ask me how I know). The silver plate usually looks hazy after Tarn-X requiring that a polish of some sort be used afterward.

I used to use Tarn-X as the first attack on badly tarnished horns, but I don't anymore due to the reasons above. I go straight to the blue bottle: Haggerty's Silver Polish. Lots of clean rags, a toothbrush, and even one of those battery operated scrubbers for the nooks and crannies. I cover the springs with bits of cork to reduce to number of times I get stuck. Wear nitrile gloves and some soft cotton gloves on top and you can polish with your fingers as well as a rag.

If you do bath your sax without removing the springs, make sure you dry them thoroughly since steel springs will rust inside the posts. Warm air from a hair drier can help speed things along. I apply WD-40 (WD stands for Water Dispersant afterall) or ordinary key oil to the springs at the base of the posts with a cotton bud, aka Q-tip.
 
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