Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

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Zandit75
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Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Zandit75 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:45 pm

Hey guys, finally found this place after waiting fitfully for the TTF to get back up and running which I'm assuming is not going to happen now?
Anyway, I have a question about Tuning Slide Lube. Is it ok to use a petroleum jelly like Vaseline for this, or is it better to use something more trombone specific?
I have a Shires Custom Bass trom, and the two trigger tuning slides are very easy to move, but the main tuning slide tends to stick, and go out of alignment and jam in place.
Any advice would be appreciated.
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Neo Bri
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Neo Bri » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:04 pm

I don't think it needs to be instrument-specific. But I would advise against petroleum jelly, as it's not really thick enough, plus it liquifies at body tempurature. This means it can run into the working parts like the valve and slides and gum them up. For tuning slides, my philosophy is that thicker is better.
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Zandit75
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Zandit75 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:06 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Neo, most appreciated.
Any recommendations for a good tuning slide lube?
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Matt K
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Matt K » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:06 pm

As far as the TTF, nobody really knows except the owner and he's been quit tight lipped about it. Even those of us who moderate over there have no idea what's going on. I'm obviously bias in that I helped set this site up, but it provides us with a lot of ability to do things we couldn't over there!

As far as the tuning slides go, I've known people to use a number of substances, including vacuum grease, in tuning slides. However, I tend to recommend the Hetmann (as does Shires incidentally) or some other product that is water soluable. The reason for that is that if the tuning slide grease accidentally gets in the valve, it's done for. Not permanently, but it'll be gunky at least until the end of the week! If you use Hetmanns inside the valve, you can use them to clean it out or you can flush it out with water --- in the event something like that were to happen.

The Shires tuning slides can be difficult at times. I believe they suggest unscrewing the bell posts before removing the tuning slide so that it can adjust the angle enough to be released.
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BGuttman
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by BGuttman » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:12 pm

Vaseline works, but I have found it will attack brass (it turns green). I have some horns that I have used Vaseline on for decades and the tuning slides don't seem to have any corrosion, though.

Some people swear by anhydrous lanolin (available at a pharmacy). I find it very temperature sensitive. In cold weather it's nearly impossible to move and in hot weather it moves too easily.

Some people swear by STP oil treatment. I'd hesitate to buy a can for trombone use, though. The stuff left on the walls of a can after an oil change can last a lifetime. Also, it smells and is a bit greasy.

I've used Dow Corning High Vacuum Grease. Available in lab supply houses or steal one from a college lab. The one I had was in my car when I had my accident and it's gone forever. :weep: Also in the car was some kind of high temperature silicone grease that a vendor gave me. Worked best of anything I've ever used. The label was off the grease gun tube so I can't even tell you what it was :weep: :weep:

There are a bunch of "trombone specific" (actually brass instrument specific) lubes out there. Hetman and UltraPure have light and heavy greases; light for tight slides and heavy for sloppy ones. The light greases are like Vaseline, and the heavy greases are like Dow-Corning or the lanolin.
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Bonearzt
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Bonearzt » Tue May 01, 2018 6:12 am

IMHO, the Selmer red crap is good stuff and I use it regularly on my horn & my customer horns.

But any of the horn related lubes work well, but don't fall into the heavier need to keep the tuning slide from moving! That requires an actual fix on the tubes to make them fit right!


Eric
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timothy42b
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by timothy42b » Tue May 01, 2018 6:46 am

I used lanolin for many years, then found a can of STP in the shed and never looked back, it's much better. A $3 can will probably do 50 trombones for 50 years. Caution, this stuff is really really hard to wash off your fingers.

I haven't tried the high tech stuff like vacuum grease so I don't know if it would be any better.
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Neo Bri
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Neo Bri » Tue May 01, 2018 7:01 am

Bonearzt wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 6:12 am
IMHO, the Selmer red crap is good stuff and I use it regularly on my horn & my customer horns.

But any of the horn related lubes work well, but don't fall into the heavier need to keep the tuning slide from moving! That requires an actual fix on the tubes to make them fit right!


Eric
SHIRES.
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ghmerrill
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by ghmerrill » Tue May 01, 2018 9:02 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:12 pm

I've used Dow Corning High Vacuum Grease. Available in lab supply houses or steal one from a college lab.
That's what I've been using on all my instruments for the past few years. It's a very high quality (and somewhat expensive) silicone grease, but it's far and away the best slide grease I've found. Take some care so that you don't "over-apply" it. You don't want it migrating into your rotary valves and forcing you to disassemble them and clean it out (though I've not had any problem with this). It's not easy to dissolve silicone grease, and virtually impossible to do it quickly.

However, you can get something similar and less expensive than the Dow product in places like Lowes or Home depot in the plumbing section -- or online: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Danco-Grease/1075455. Silicone grease is being used in a lot of applications nowadays because it's so long-lasting and effective (and tasteless and odorless).
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StephenK
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by StephenK » Wed May 02, 2018 5:06 am

I just use tuning slide lubricant. I think vaseline can set hard if left for a prolonged period; so I wouldn't use that, though it was something that people used when I started 50+ years ago, probably because it was easily available in local stores.
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Inspector71
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Re: Tuning Slide Lube Maintenance

Post by Inspector71 » Wed May 02, 2018 5:37 am

Hetman (#7)Slide Gel, IMHO, is the best on the market.
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