SYOS

Cleaning raw brass

Dobson

New Member
Messages
15
Now you may larf if yer like, but when i when on hols to germany i mysteriously found myself in thomanns music shop near Bamberg somewhere. Any road up after testing a goodly number of altos i bought a system 54. Sounds great to me, looks good, and handles well to me again. But you do have the problem of getting a bit of water, saliva, snot (no other bodily liquids that i'm aware of) on the brass and a little green oxidization mark appearing just where its nearly impossible to get at. Do folk oil the brass a bit to prevent this? How do you get it off without taking the tarnish effect with it? Any suggestions other than selling it (particularly to you) might be entertained. Thanks for your input.

Regards

Dobson
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,550
Using terms like "any road" suggests you are from Yorkshire or Lancashire or similar North Midland territory. Therefore you know that, "Where there's muck, there's brass."
 

teebones

Member
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203
Using terms like "any road" suggests you are from Yorkshire or Lancashire or similar North Midland territory. Therefore you know that, "Where there's muck, there's brass."
And also what oil or grease to stop the geen oxidization. :w00t:

Other than that you have your very own :-J Dobson's Choice :))):))):)))

Sorry Dobson just could not resist myself hope you find a solution to the problem Teebones another :old:
 
OP
Dobson

Dobson

New Member
Messages
15
Making fun of a simple man from the north, tut tut -):thumb:
I cant even claim that truffully cos i live in south africa now. I did wonder how long the dobsons choice bit would take, and you were quick i give it to you. However is there a sensible person on here hooo can answer.

And also what oil or grease to stop the geen oxidization. :w00t:

Other than that you have your very own :-J Dobson's Choice :))):))):)))

Sorry Dobson just could not resist myself hope you find a solution to the problem Teebones another :old:
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,999
Sarf Efrika? Howzit Boet...

Raw Brass corrodes. Just wipe it clean, not a lot else to do. Cobra wax may help, if you don't mind the smell.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,227
At least youcan now join the System 54Sax owners club - I have an Unlaq System 54 Tenor, and just give it an occasional brush with a soft cloth. Will look really cool in a few years.

Kind regards
Tom
 

teebones

Member
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203
Making fun of a simple man from the north, tut tut -):thumb:
I cant even claim that truffully cos i live in south africa now. I did wonder how long the dobsons choice bit would take, and you were quick i give it to you. However is there a sensible person on here hooo can answer.
Dobson or Chris this is what I would do on a small area what cannot be see easily remove the green oxidization with a wooden toothpick then very carefully using a very small artiste’s brush coat the area i.e. none moving joints if that’s where the problem is with aero Modellers matt acrylic varnish hope this helps
I used above method all be it on a larger scale on a four-poster bed I made what had natural brass and copper fittings manufactured by myself it stopped the natural oxidization process :w00t: :shocked: ;}

I will now await the rhetoric which is bound to follow from other forum members :))) :))) :)))

Teebones another :old:
 
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OP
Dobson

Dobson

New Member
Messages
15
Sarf Efrika? Howzit Boet...

Raw Brass corrodes. Just wipe it clean, not a lot else to do. Cobra wax may help, if you don't mind the smell.

AAhh yes cobra wax just the stuff. Never faut of vat. Good un son, will ava a go monday.
Yersee, a new one o yer ud av sense.

Ta very much Kev once again, and the hol was great Tshaguns in the austrian alps walking, Thomanns saxing, Stuttgart and Constance looking at pretty girling. Fab.

Bye for now

Chris aka dobson
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,854
That's the big drawback with these 'raw' finishes.
Back the days of yore, when saxes came in either silver plate or plain brass, those players who'd opted for plain brass were given to much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
"Why oh why is there not some way of keeping our horns looking clean and shiny?" they cried. And lo, lacquer was invented and duly applied - and there was much rejoicing.

Skip forward a good few years and it seems that the hive memory has failed, and folk are wondering why their new bare brass horns are going green.

Here's the deal then. Plain bare brass will start to tarnish the moment it comes into contact with air. However, if it tarnishes in the right way it will form an oxidised layer on the surface which can be quite resistant to further tarnishing. This takes time though, so chemicals are often applied to speed this process up.
By the carefully addition of selected chemicals it's possible to tweak the colour of the finished patina - hence the advent of (let's face it) brown saxes.

Don't be fooled into thinking this kind of finish is anything like a plated or a lacquered finish - there are some things you can do to it, and some things you can't.
If you abrade it you'll go through the finish to the bare brass - if you use the wrong sort of chemical on it you'll strip the patina away. So - metal polishes and weak acids (vinegar etc.) are out.

From time to time a spot of corrossion will take hold - there will always be tiny gaps in the finish, and if a drop of moisture gets in it will start off a reaction that will lead to the formation of verdigris (green stuff). If left to its own devices it might just sit there, staring at you - or it might decide to breed and spread.
Thing is, the best way to deal with it is to attack it with a weak acid...and this is exactly what you'd do with a plated or lacquered horn...but if you do so on a raw finish you'll lose the patina.

So, as Teebone suggested, the best means of dealing with it is to scrape as much of it off as you can with a soft tool. You can also have at it with soapy water, followed by cigarette lighter fluid - neither of which will harm the surrounding patina.
Once you've cleaned it up you have to decide how to protect the horn from further corrossion. I don't think there's much point in putting lacquer on it...I mean, if you wanted a lacquered horn you should have bought one - and as the patina will continue to develop over the years you might find you'll end up with a lots of little odd-looking patches where you've applied the lacquer.
Worse still, you might not have removed all the corrossion - and it will sit beneath the lacquer and wreak havoc...nicely protected by the lacquer.

What the manufacturers do is wax the horn - and that's all you need to do.
As for what type of wax to use - well, you want something that can withstand the rigours of being handled and showered with gob...and a car wax will be about as tough a wax as you'll get. Pop a dob on, work it in and buff it off with a soft cloth - and the job, as they say, is a good 'un.

Regards,
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,227
I wonder who will be the first to invent/brand/market "Sax Wax"? So, not Barbour Wax, which could enhance the green colour.

I must admit "Pop a Dob On" does sound like a Rock Steady/Reggae hit - by "Papa Howard and the Stevalites"...............
Very useful post. So, not use "Astonish", then, or "Mr. Sheen". Any particular car wax...............?
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,854
I've got first dibs on "Jazz Wax"...impregnated with grains of brass from one of Charlie Parker's horns...add a lustre to your fluster!

You can use household wax (Mr Sheen etc.), but you'll have better and longer-lasting results with car wax. I use Mer - but any decent-quality wax will do.

Regards,
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,227
You could do a special Wax for Baritones, in collaboration with "Mr. Muscle"........................;}
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I just leave my bare Red Brass and Solid Silver / Silver Plated Tenor on a stand, wipe it down with a dry cloth every every session and let it decide how it wants to look :sax:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,227
It must be love, love, love...............

I tried putting some minute wax on my sax - now I can't pick it up. No, it does have a greater shininess and smoothness but still looks like it has been around for a while.

Excellent idea.
 
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jbtsax

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Subscriber
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7,872
I was going to start a new thread, but found this old on on the topic I wanted to write about.

I recently discovered another method to restore the original finish on a raw brass saxophone quite by accident. I was doing a COA (clean, oil, adjust) on a customer's Cannonbal alto about 20 years old on which the surface was very discolored with brown and "greenish" patches. Since bathing the body with soap and water did nothing to improve the look, I decided to try a bit of liquid "Barkeepers Friend" on a small area. It instantly turned the brass to its original bright color even without wiping or scrubbing. I called the customer to ask if he would be willing to pay another $100 to completely restore the finish and he agreed.

The body was finished using Barkeeper's Friend and a tooth brush and small scrubbing brush. Not wanting to expose the pads to the liquid cleaner, I used my "old method" of restoring the brass finish using the abrasive tools shown below.

IMG_2496[1].JPG


Brass finishing supplies.jpg
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,854
I decided to try a bit of liquid "Barkeepers Friend" on a small area. It instantly turned the brass to its original bright color even without wiping or scrubbing.
It works because the active ingredient is a weak acid (oxalic, in this instance).

Here's how another acid (citric) works - minus the scratch-brushing. This is from an article I'm currently working on about methods to deal with verdigris.

shwwimg_compound_raw.jpg
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,850
My gran used to have a coffee table with a raw brass top about 3 feet in diameter. The way we cleaned that when I was a kid was with a lemon. We cut it in two and rubbed the table all over with it. Seemed to work well.
 
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