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Restoration of chrome Mouthpeice

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Someone has given me an otherwise rather nice selmer mp with a, or what looks to be, chrome finish. Nice thing, with a rather good built-in "clamp" lig.

However, it's not been especially well looked after, and the chrome bed on which the reed rests has bubbled up somewhat, I suspect as a result of it being stored with a wet reed on.

I'm tempted to just rub it down with a large fine sharpening stone I have, using which it should be possible to keep the bed flat and square. I appreciate that this will mean the thing will probably rust, but I can live with cleaning and drying it after each use, and storing it in a box with some silica gel.

Am I missing something - is there a better way?
 

keith

New Member
Messages
20
from my experience of bubbling or flaking chrome, the only way to rectify it is to have it rechromed.
if you rub it down or file it you will probably make it worse, it will probably cause the chrome plate to start lifting even more.
there is a company in nottingham that can strip and rechrome most things, though i cant recall ever seeing a mpc in there.
they are called nottingham platers i think.
couldnt hurt giving them a bell, see if they could do for you.
cheers, mad keef.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Firstly - mouthpieces/tables/rails/tips are made to very fine tolerances. So be really careful with anything you do that you don't do any damage. Replating may be goign to far, I'm not really sure.

There are some good videos on youtube by mojo bari on mouthpiece refacing. Demonstrates a lot of what's needed to do the job. Needs a lot of skill as well... A stone is probably not a good way to go.

Suggest you limit yourself to only removing the high spots on the table. No more. I don't think a little hole or two is going to do any harm, but the table needs to be flat and square to the tip/rails.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
If it's just the table and you want to flatten it back so it plays, get a piece of plate glass and some wet n dry paper, some water and some soap, use a figure of eight movement and just take enough off to smooth out the blisters.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
I don't think it will be chrome plated. Isn't chromium toxic? Much more likely to be silver plated brass on a selmer isn't it. It may be a collectors piece and any restoration work may devalue it. It sounds like it might be a 1920's piece. Quite rare.

http://www.mouthpiecemuseum.com/MouthpieceMuseum/Selmer.html
 
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altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Proceed with caution, it may be a valuable vintage collectors item - does it play ok as it is? If so then any attempts to flatten the table will only reduce the value.
It's more likely to be silver plated than chrome, if so, it'd be a lot easier to replate
Could you can post some pictures so we can get a better idea of what you've got...
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Thanks all. Right, as to if it plays OK, I suspect not. But, it came with a loan sax that I've not played with any other decent MP, and for irrelevant reasons, it's the only one I have currently. But my strong feeling is that it's just not playing right. It's bubbled into spikes, quite sharp ones, quite big ones, and being good with my hands (ask Kiera!!) I'm confident I can rub the peaks off (ditto).

I'm sure it's not silver as 1) it's too bright and cold a shine for Ag, and 2) there is no tarnish whatsoever on it, even though when I got hold of it at least 5 years storage had elapsed. You know chrome - cold, clinical finish, quite unlike the soft lustre of it's rarer cousin.
I'm now going to burst a blood vessel trying to do a close up photie to post... Don't hold your breath...
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
No idea what metal's underneath. It's not a home plating job I'm sure as the engraving is sharp and accurate, clearly as it was when it left the shop. Now that someone more on the ball than me has mentioned it, I bet it's Nickel plated. Don't know why that didn't occur to me, other than pitifully low IQ, as usual.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
I can't imagine that a quality company like selmer would plate an expensive piece with a metal that many people have serious skin reactions to and is a known carcinogen if consumed or inhaled. If it's nickel plated I wouldn't play it.

I have an early 20century ben davis silver plated brass mouthpiece. The silver stays quite bright and the only icky bits are where the silver plate has worn away and the brass is exposed. A quick going over with toothpaste revitalises it.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Colin, it's relatively recently that nickel was recognised as an allergan, probably in the last 20-30 years. I had huge problems with allergic reactions to nickel in the metal frames of my glasses at one stage. And there were big problems with piercings for a while, until they stopped putting nickel in the stainless that's used for the 'ornaments'. Not sure on the toxicity issue, but it's not so long ago that toxic mercury was accepted for dental and thermometer use - and freely demonstrated in school labs.
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Colin, it's relatively recently that nickel was recognised as an allergan, probably in the last 20-30 years.
Indeed - this thing is around 1920's vintage, so could probably be made of ground plutonium. Does make your teeth glow nicely...
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Right - think this shows it nicely. Looking closer in the daylight, it looks like some kind of brass alloy underneath.
MP.jpg
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
Man that's light corrosion. Looks like silver on brass to me.

Can we see the whole thing? Curiosity piqued.
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Sure. Just realised I had some form of brain disorder in the first post - It's a Martin, not a Selmer. Too many sax bits and bobs on the go at the same time (OMG - listen to me - I'm turning into my wife!).. MP2.jpg
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
It appears to me to be a stainless steel mouthpiece with rust spots.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
there's one pictured on here - http://www.mouthpiecemuseum.com/MouthpieceMuseum/Martin.html
it gives the material as steel, but yours looks more like nickel or chrome plated brass - the way it's flaking on the table indicates some kind of plating and if it's not tarnished then it's not silver
the only chrome plated mouthpiece I know of currently in production of is the Runyon Smooth Bore, although they made chrome mouthpieces previous to this - I've got an alto mouthpiece that just says Runyon 7 on it that appears to be the precursor to the smooth bore
There has been a lot of experimenting with nickel plating on saxes, it was quite common to have nickel keywork in the 50's and 60's and I've got a 1930's Conn 6M in nickel finish, also I think there may have been some european saxes done in chrome - but mouthpieces plated like this aren't very common.
Since it's not a Selmer and despite being a bit of a rareity it's not particularly valuable, I'd try Frasers suggestion of very fine wet and dry on a piece of plate glass to smooth it out a bit
 
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