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Hi guys,

I have a question about a T992 which of course has the bronze not brass material. The horn has been de-lacquered (not sure exactly how) and I’ve noticed there are bright green spots and patches. I have searched about this on here, and only see information related to unlacacquered brass horns. Is this a normal patina-like occurrence or is this something detrimental like bronze rot?

Thanks so much!
 

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Looks like what happens to bronze plumbing fixtures.
They find bronze pieces from Roman times in the sear that are still recognizable and cleanable.
 

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Both bronze and brass have a high copper content, thus their oxidation products will tend to look similar.

"Rot" usually refers to the red oxide that has a characteristic porosity. That green muck is "verdigris".
 

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Okay so it sounds like the green is just normal patina, and not anything that will physically destroy the bronze then? Also, how exactly is the best way to clean this?
 

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Okay so it sounds like the green is just normal patina, and not anything that will physically destroy the bronze then? Also, how exactly is the best way to clean this?
Not "patina", but yes, normal if you let it go. Brass cleaner is good for polishing brass/bronze.
 

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It's verdigris.

You can usually just wipe it off with a paper towel and some elbow grease.

If you start using polish then you'll want to polish the whole rest of the horn to look the same as the now shiny spots were the verdigris was. Then you'll decide to disassemble it completely so you can get down in the machinery. Once you get the whole thing evenly shiny you'll want to keep it that way, so then you'll have to set up a spray booth and lacquer it. Or, if you get the whole thing nicely polished, you could have it silver plated.
 

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I also have to take exception, yet again, to the use of the unnecessarily alarmist term "red rot" to describe the characteristic reddish-color copper oxide commonly seen on unlacquered brass surfaces. The term "red rot" is - as far as I know - a term of art for intermal corrosion of brasswind instruments, which have much smaller tubes that can stay constantly wet for years on end. The characteristic issue is pinholes in trumpet leadpipes.

While the color of the oxide is the same, those patches of reddish corrosion on the outside of your saxophone are not going to eat through it within your lifetime. (I know, someone's going to come up with the one unicorn example of exterior red corrosion that did make a hole in a saxophone, but one case of holing through the horn that was stored at the sulfuric acid processing facility is not characteristic of the population in general.)
 

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I can also guarantee you the horn body is not truly Bronze (CuSn), which is an alloy of Copper and Tin.

If it were, if dented it would be extremely difficult to remove the dent with a danger/likelihood of the bronze cracking as a result. If it were, there would also be a significant chance that the sort of hits that would dent brass, would actually crack the bronze tube/body.

Bronze is brittle. Far less malleable than Brass.

Cymbals are bronze.

Try removing a dent from a cymbal...it will be a sad and failed endeavor.

Dunno what alloy Yani and others use in their so-marketed "Bronze"....but it is most certainly in reality a Brass alloy (CuZn = copper + zinc) with something else tossed in there to make it look 'bronze-y".....
 

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But back to the question...yes it is both verdgris and 'red rot' (using the common moniker whether it is accurate or not).

Welcome to the world of unlacquered instruments. This is the roll of the dice one takes with these. It may form a 'good' patina....or it may form an 'evil' one.
Too many variables involved to prognosticate which. The particular horn metal. The climate. How it is treated/stored, etc....

Based on the pics, soap and water or a polishing cloth will NOT get that off. And the fact is, whatever you use TO get it off ...the horn needs to be disassembled.

Once disassembled, you can go at it with a polish (Wenol, Maas, Brasso etc) using a microfibre cloth (do NOT use cotton or t-shirt or bedsheet material)....but it will be hecka labor-intensive. Brasso is the most caustic, the one with the most 'tooth' so it will work the best at removing the red and green crap...but it will also leave you with the dullest finish. But if you want to avoid submerging the body in anything, Brasso is the most aggressive of those polishes. If you want shine afterward, follow the Brasso up with the Maas or Wenol. Or for a mirror-like shine, use Hagerty 100 polish afterward.

I, personally, would suggest a tech disassemble and chem-bathe or sonic bathe the horn. Then follow that up with a hand polish (Wenol, Maas) in order to bring out some shine/lustre, and also to leave a residue which would increase the likelihood that the horn will not 'patina' again in the exact same way which has resulted in what you have now. Then of course reassemble.

If you do not wanna take it to a tech, and you can disassemble and reassemble yourself, then you can use Wright's Copper Cream at home, followed by a soap and water rinse, then hand polish again.

IF you are really feeling adventurous, you can also make a 'home brew bath/dip' yourself using Muriatic Acid, diluted - usually sold at hardware stores to clean pools.
But it is nasty stuff, ooh it is...(it actually smokes when it contacts air when you open the bottle...sorta looking like Dr. Jekyll's beakers full of stuff....)
 

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The Victoria and Albert museum provides some interesting advice regarding bamboo kebab sticks...

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/caring-for-your-copper-brass-bronze-and-other-alloys/

They also say in their general cleaning section
"Traditional or home remedies usually rely on harsh abrasives, acids or alkalis to attack tarnish and should be avoided"
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/cleaning-metals-basic-guidelines/

For clarity Muriatic Acid is HCl, Hydorchloric Acid. I've a vague recollection that I used that at college to etch brass for metallurgical purposes...

Anyway I realize we arent talking about museum artifacts here, but its probably a point worth taking on board.
 

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Bronze is brittle. Far less malleable than Brass.

Cymbals are bronze.

Try removing a dent from a cymbal...it will be a sad and failed endeavor.
Well, I expect the brittleness of cymbals is due to the very extensive cold working involved in their manufacture.

That said, there are probably almost as many copper-based alloys with the next greatest alloying element tin (thus bronze) as alloys with the next greatest element zinc (thus, brass). The class of alloys called "phosphor bronze" is well known for cold formability - definitely not brittle, at least in the annealed state.

As we discussed in another thread, when you're dealing with copper-based alloys it's hard to make categorical statements unless you know what alloy and temper you're talking about.
 

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Good lord this whole modern phenomenon of people buying brand new saxophones with bare brass finish on them is a form of collective insanity. The lacquer protects the brass and keeps the saxophone beautiful for many many years.

I have had the opportunity To play multiple examples of brand new saxophones with lacquer versus unlacquered, in Rich Maraday’s basement. If anything, the lacquered horns played brighter and more focused.

But do whatever you want and have a really ugly looking sewage pipe for a saxophone within six months of buying it brand new.
 

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I can also guarantee you the horn body is not truly Bronze (CuSn), which is an alloy of Copper and Tin.
FWIW Kessler and Sons website blurb for the AW020 bronze says otherwise " Bronze is an alloy that consists of Copper & Tin but with around 88-90% of it being copper. The copper is the primary focus here as it adds more mass to the alloy. The use of bronze helps give the Yanagisawa AWO20 a richer, lush tone compared to the brass equivalent model (AWO10)" Whether thats actually true or not...

Also the Wikipedia page for Phosphor Bronze (11% tin, <0.5% P) gives a shout out to Yani saxes of the past to. I guess as its typically just the body tube thats made of the stuff they can get away with it.
 

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Another method which is much easier but not as effective as acid on the corrosion (although it does mitigate it) is to simply polish with Pledge. This actually prevents a tarnish build-up when done regularly (probably every month) and the rubbing eventually will remove all the tarnish (but it is not a metal polish so it doesn't polish the brass). This is the method I've been using for some time, saving the chemicals for when I take the horn down. Pledge is completely free of any abrasives or harsh chemicals and is safe for the shell touches. It contains water which dissolves the organic deposits and liquid paraffin which cleans up any greasy areas. It protects the springs and treats the pads. I look at the stuff as 'sax-balm'. Naturally it is great for lacquered horns as well as horns that have a mixture of raw brass and lacquer. It is simple to use, does no harm and you can't make a mistake. If you're interrupted, it doesn't matter - even for a year - you just spray it again and continue. I use it on new horns as well as those of any age/condition - it can help keep a new lacquered sax looking new for a very long time.
 

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For clarity Muriatic Acid is HCl, Hydorchloric Acid. I've a vague recollection that I used that at college to etch brass for metallurgical purposes...
...and for clarity, Muriatic acid (diluted state) is a primary active ingredient in many brass instrument chem bath solutions. It is old-school, but it was and still is common.

Yes that is correct....chem baths had, and still have, what is essentially hydrochloric acid as a main ingredient. I suppose someone can concoct some sort of argument that tech shop chem baths through the generations actually have been harmful to the brass in musical instruments. I am not certain of how much of an audience such a claim would garner....

The Victoria and Albert museum provides some interesting advice regarding bamboo kebab sticks...

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/caring-for-your-copper-brass-bronze-and-other-alloys/

They also say in their general cleaning section
"Traditional or home remedies usually rely on harsh abrasives, acids or alkalis to attack tarnish and should be avoided"
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/cleaning-metals-basic-guidelines/[/FONT][/COLOR]
Well then if we used ketchup or vinegar, indeed we'd be in quite a pickle. :|

IMHO I don't see the need of such stuff when there are enough good polishes on the market.

But again, for a condition as advanced as the OP's....a hand polish solely ?....your rotator cuff may never forgive you.
 

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Well, I expect the brittleness of cymbals is due to the very extensive cold working involved in their manufacture.
Certainly valid points. I guess my first reaction is that in my experience with both alloys, I do not feel it is an over-generalization to state that bronze is more brittle and less malleable than brass, however.

This goes beyond brittleness in just cymbals.

But first addressing cymbals - Handmade cymbals are primarily hot worked, actually. On mass-production ones indeed there is machine cold-hammering primarily. But on hand-mades, only lathing and final tuning hammering are cold worked. Yet whether mass produced or handmade, the workability of the bronze is essentially the same.

Also, on old cheapo cymbals, there was no extensive cold working whatsoever. The cymbal was simply cut from sheets, formed into a cymbal shape mechanically, and then cold-lathed . You will find the same result, however...you dent it, it stays dented. You hammer it or drop it, you may crack it.
You take cheapo cymbals actually made of brass alloys (yes, there are and there always have been), many of these also having not been hammered at all, just cut and lathed...treat it the same way, and they will not crack nor will their dents be anywhere near as uncooperative to correct.

I also am a grad of an Arts college, and took some sculpture courses there. Bronze, indeed, is considered a relatively robust yet brittle alloy in the sculpting world. Very good for many things...but not good if the intention is to have a body which is malleable and capable of being worked cold, post-factory or post-casting.

Certainly tempering it in different ways can effect its brittleness, but bronze is used in many applications particularly because it does not deform as easily as brass.

FWIW Kessler and Sons website blurb for the AW020 bronze says otherwise " Bronze is an alloy that consists of Copper & Tin but with around 88-90% of it being copper. The copper is the primary focus here as it adds more mass to the alloy. The use of bronze helps give the Yanagisawa AWO20 a richer, lush tone compared to the brass equivalent model (AWO10)" Whether thats actually true or not...

Also the Wikipedia page for Phosphor Bronze (11% tin, <0.5% P) gives a shout out to Yani saxes of the past to. I guess as its typically just the body tube thats made of the stuff they can get away with it.
Interesting but here's something: The cymbal alloys known as B8 or B15 are in fact bronze of proportions 8% and 15% Tin, respectively. So a B8 cymbal, is darn close to what Kessler site claims is the Yani alloy - matter of fact, a B8 is softer by a tad than the Yani alloy.

I challenge anyone to take a nice, medium weight B8 (or B15) cymbal, gauge similar to what a sax body might be; dent it moderately, and successfully remove the dent using any plethora of shop tools.
It will not come out. Not even close.
Solder a brass sax post to it. Then knock the post a bit with a mallet, the way a tech would do to re-align posts. See how much that post moves when soldered to B8 bronze. You will have a problem (if your expectation is for the bronze body to react in the way a brass body does).
You can do same with a cymbal blank, occasionally found on eBay - a cymbal blank has had nothing done to it other than it having been cast; and perhaps center-hole punched; it has not yet been machined nor handworked.
You will get the same result.
B8, B15 Bronze is not workable the way a Brass instrument body is workable.

If folks care to stick to the 'yeah but cymbals are different because of how they have been worked' position (although I partially addressed this above already)...then one can simply acquire a piece of sheet bronze of an appropriate gauge similar to that of a brass instrument.
Have a go at it. It will not be workable in the same fashion as brass would. It will have problematic aspects from the point of view of common workability a tech requires.

So to claim a Yani alloy, ostensibly claiming to be what is a B10 alloy, is workable and repairable in a way that a brass body is (therefore an appropriate instrument body alloy) ...it just doesn't add up.

Yanis challenge was to create a Bronze-ish looking alloy which still was workable like a brass body. It must have been an interesting challenge and we can assume they successfully found a solution, since nobody I know of complains about Yani's 'Bronze" finish horns being a b*tch to repair.
But the successful Yani alloy very likely has something else in it besides just Copper and Tin, regardless of the ratios.
 

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Yanis challenge was to create a Bronze-ish looking alloy which still was workable like a brass body. It must have been an interesting challenge and we can assume they successfully found a solution, since nobody I know of complains about Yani's 'Bronze" finish horns being a b*tch to repair.
But the successful Yani alloy very likely has something else in it besides just Copper and Tin, regardless of the ratios.
I rather doubt Yanagisawa has a custom alloy made for them; they most likely buy it in sheet from the local metals distributor. What exactly it is, could be determined by chemical and metallurgical analysis. We just need to find someone willing to cut some pieces off their sax and send to the lab.
 

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I also have to take exception, yet again, to the use of the unnecessarily alarmist term "red rot" to describe the characteristic reddish-color copper oxide commonly seen on unlacquered brass surfaces. The term "red rot" is - as far as I know - a term of art for intermal corrosion of brasswind instruments, which have much smaller tubes that can stay constantly wet for years on end. The characteristic issue is pinholes in trumpet leadpipes.

While the color of the oxide is the same, those patches of reddish corrosion on the outside of your saxophone are not going to eat through it within your lifetime. (I know, someone's going to come up with the one unicorn example of exterior red corrosion that did make a hole in a saxophone, but one case of holing through the horn that was stored at the sulfuric acid processing facility is not characteristic of the population in general.)
+1
You are completely correct.
Somewhere down the line everything red became red rot.
As a trumpet player, I have heard the same thing over and over and over.
It has, though, allowed me to find some great deals on things that folks think is red rot. ;)

Try a paper towel first, if you don't like the results, use a brass cleaner, very sparingly and carefully.
You can help tame the corrosion if you wipe the horn after playing, but it is, as the marketeers call it, a 'living finish'.
If you check out Jay Metcalf's better sax videos you can see his unlacquered bronze Yani color change over time, and it is fairly new to him.
 
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