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Corrosion - what to do

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
I've got a cheap soprano (straight) that I bought a few years ago - a Thomann. After we moved house a couple of years ago it got stored in the garage because I wasn't using it. We believed the garage was dry, what with it being in constant use as a practice area and it having a very large wood-burning stove running regularly through the winter. However, when I got the sax out a few weeks ago, I noticed the laquer on the crook and around the joint has corroded. There's a few specks of rust and a tiny amount of verdigris forming. It doesn't seem to have become any worse since I brought the poor thing indoors but I'd like to know how to treat it, now and in the future. I can't afford to replace it and don't want to spend a fortune on repairs (my repair man is good, but not cheap).

Ispropyl alcohol and WD-40 have both been suggested. Any advice?
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Minster On Sea
If it's not affecting the playing, I'd ignore it.
I don't think there's a lot you can do that doesn't involve major surgery but, with a bit of luck, a repairer will pop up shortly to give you a better answer.
 

Pete Thomas

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St. Mary's
I'd get the verdigris off at least. Maybe some metal polish, very fine sandpaper, steel wool. Once that's gone there will be some exposed but shiny bare brass which you can either leave to get a patina (provided the verdigris doesn't come back) keep lightly polished or just add some touch up clear lacquer.

What you don't want is the verdigris spreading to the tone holes.

be careful not to get polish on the pads.
 

MontyMac

Member
Messages
114
Locality
Houston, Texas
I'd get the verdigris off at least.
Amateur in Agreement with Pete.
And a tech that lives near me (Houston,Texas) is an avid user of #0000 Chore Boys (synthetic steel wool)and McGuires or Mother's Cleaner Wax in treating the copper oxidation.
I just had one other thought which I hope one of our Master Techs will chime in on, and that is Treating The Case, too.
I would say, at the least, let the case stand open for a week. (Dependent upon where you reside of course.)
Or if possible put some dessicant packets inside. Just not the instrument until the moisture has had a chance to get out of the foam.
 

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
Will do both of those things, guys. Thank you very much.

Since it's been indoors it's been kept upstairs in the spare room, which doubles as my practice/work room as well as the dog's bedroom (don't ask!), so nice and warm and dry even on the coldest/wettest days. It will also be home to "little Tommy" from now on.:)
 

jbtsax

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I have found naptha (lighter fluid) is effective in removing verdigris from the tops of toneholes. Brass does not "rust" so the reddish areas are where the zinc content in the brass has corroded away leaving just the copper. In the worse case scenario, this starts inside the tube and goes all the way to the outside eventually creating a hole. This condition is called "red rot" and is more common on brass instruments that are poorly cared for. I have had good results protecting bare brass using Renaissance Wax.

edited to fix error caught by Kev
 
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MontyMac

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114
Locality
Houston, Texas
.......which doubles as my practice/work room as well as the dog's bedroom (don't ask!).:)
No questions to ask!!;)
Our 2 GSDs may get jealous but they and the cats sleep in the same room as we do.
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
Brass does not "rust" so the reddish areas are where the copper content in the brass has corroded away leaving just the zinc. In the worse case scenario, this starts inside the tube and goes all the way to the outside eventually creating a hole. This condition is called "red rot" and is more common on brass instruments that are poorly cared for.
It's the zinc going, leaving copper behind. Agree with the rest, though.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Man my old lafleur alto is almost green but still plays ok. The best thing to do is to keep it on the stand and to play it often and never ever store it away again
 

MontyMac

Member
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114
Locality
Houston, Texas
Brass does not "rust" so the reddish areas are where the copper content in the brass has corroded away leaving just the zinc. .........This condition is called "red rot" and is more common on brass instruments that are poorly cared for.
It always breaks my heart to see some estate auction where some relative (most likely some poor sod that couldn't carry a tune in a bucket) has inherited Grampa's Ax and sadly only after it's been in a non environmentally controlled storage unit for 10 years after the family put the old codger in a "Home".
Now Grampy's Martin Comm I, SBA or Evette Schaeffer has the saxophone equivalent of eBoli AND The Red Death and the aforementioned sod seriously considered tossing it in the skip with 95% of the rest of "the old boy's junk".
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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I saw one such beast yesterday in the window of a guitar shop. Couldn't make out exactly what it was but it had the air of an Eastern European thing from about 40 years ago. Rusty and decidedly tatty looking. Had a price tag of £230 and I suspect was actually worth less than zero if it needed much work. Zoot may know more - twas in his home town.
 

jbtsax

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"Red Rot" would make a great name for a punk rock band.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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Peeblesshire
My alto developed what I thought was a very attractive surface of red and green between the thumbrests

Bryce, sax tech, cleaned off the 'rot' as part of a repad and general fettle but I think it looked better as it was... somehow more lived in
 

MontyMac

Member
Messages
114
Locality
Houston, Texas
I think it looked better as it was... somehow more lived in
Nothing wrong with that, to my mind. My King Cleveland alto is anything but bright&shiny.
My "long term project/resurection from the dead" ESM Bari will have some interesting Frankenhorn additions that I don't intend to hide, either.
 
Messages
514
Locality
kent
I saw one such beast yesterday in the window of a guitar shop. Couldn't make out exactly what it was but it had the air of an Eastern European thing from about 40 years ago. Rusty and decidedly tatty looking. Had a price tag of £230 and I suspect was actually worth less than zero if it needed much work. Zoot may
know more - twas in his home town.
I do indeed!,as Nick said it is an eastern European horn
Made for one of the London music shops.
It did have a blow and although it needs a repad job and overhaul,the sound was passable.
I did tell the shop owner that his asking price was to say the least optimistic!
 
Messages
261
Locality
Alexandria, Scotland
I'm also in a bit of dilemma (maybe to strong a word) I bought Daveysaxboys Andy Sheppard I know they are made in the raw but what I don't know should I be using one of the waxes to try and keep oxidation at the point it's at now or do you just leave it and let it continue. Appreciate any comments.
Andy
 

zelda

On the border
Messages
547
Locality
British Columbia interior, Canada
I'm also in a bit of dilemma (maybe to strong a word) I bought Daveysaxboys Andy Sheppard I know they are made in the raw but what I don't know should I be using one of the waxes to try and keep oxidation at the point it's at now or do you just leave it and let it continue. Appreciate any comments.
Andy
Hi, Andy,
Out here on the prairies, the humidity is generally very low so oxidation is not a problem. In fact, it's bone dry here in winter and I have to use a humidifier on the main floor and in the basement. We've had wet springs and early summers for the past several years and excessive humidity can be a problem.I keep my guitars and saxophones in my 'man cave' in the basement. I don't keep them in their cases. I grew up in Newfoundland so I'm quite familiar with humidity problems.
I'd recommend a dehumidifier. Mind is on wheels and has a capacity of a gallon/four litres more or less. As I type this, I can hear the thunder rumbling outside and it's starting to rain. It's been 30C for the past few days but today we're getting some wet weather coming in off the Pacific. I turned on the dehumidifier yesterday morning but it showed 40% humidity on the readout so I turned it off. If we get a good soaking, the humidity level will get up to 60-70% in the basement. Even though the basement is well-insulated, after a good rainfall I tend to get moisture where the concrete slab (floor) meets the basement walls. When I insulated the walls, I didn't bring the insulated, studded wall all the way to the floor. It stops a few inches above the slab. The sole plate is anchored to the concrete wall - not to the floor. This way, I don't get moisture accumulating and possibly subsequent mould problems.
I'll turn on the dehumidifier and that reservoir will fill up in eight hours. You'd be surprised how much water that unit can take out of the air! I keep a humidity gauge in the man cave so I can keep an eye on humidity levels.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Jim
 

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