Scratch Finish?

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Mamaposaune
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Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:56 am

Has anyone done a scratch finish on an old horn with lacquer loss? If so, how? And is it true that it doesn't tarnish afterwards?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Bonearzt » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:17 am

The "scratch" finish is done to the base metal, either before it's lacquered, or after the old lacquer is stripped.

And it will "tarnish" or patina unless it's lacquered afterwards.

Silverplate is a different story.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Elow » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:21 am

Out of curiosity, how is a silver satin finish achieved? I have an old silver satin finished pea shooter. Is there a silver brushed finished?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by ithinknot » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:09 am

Elow wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:21 am
Out of curiosity, how is a silver satin finish achieved? I have an old silver satin finished pea shooter. Is there a silver brushed finished?
You can plate over scratched brass, of course, but the old satin/'frosted' finish is a media blast (look it up), also done before plating
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 7:37 am

You can also spray lacquer on a media-blast prepped horn. It looks pretty cool. If you look around the Internet, you can usually find quite a few brass instruments and saxophones with this finish. I believe Matthew Walker at M&W Custom Instruments offers it as one of his standard finishes for his trombones.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:13 am

I guess I should have included in my question, what exactly is meant by a scratch finish, and how is it done? I am assuming it is not the same thing as taking a scotchbrite pad or steel wool to a heavily tarnished/corroded horn.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:32 am

You need to be careful with the terms used to described brass instrument finishes. There are multiple terms for the same finish. For example, I have heard people use the terms "scratch finish" and "brush finish" to describe the same thing. When I hear the term "satin finish," I think of the traditional sand blasting or media blast finish. Many of the old Conn and Besson euphoniums had this finish with silver plate. However, I have seen instruments on the Internet advertised with the term "satin" finish, but the photos showed an instrument that was clearly a scratch finish.

When I prepare rebuild horn for a scratch or brush finish, I do the first two steps that I use on a normal bright finish (also called mirror finish)....I buff with tripoli and yellow compounds. However, the scratch finish does not require nearly as much buffing in these stages. Consequently, I find that I remove less metal to prepare for the scratch finish when compared to the more detailed buffing process for a bright finish. I'm sure that other techs might have a different routine for this and/or the next part.

To create the scratch finish, I use a combination of emory cloths, scotchbrite and medium coarse steel wool to create an even scratch finish. Some people use a buffing wheel with metal bristles for this task....it's a matter of preference. To finish the process, I do a quick buff with rouge (also called color buff) to give the scratch finish a slight reflective brilliance. The final steps are degreasing and lacquering.

For me, the scratch finish takes about the same amount of time as the bright (mirror) finish. The big advantage of the scratch finish is that it can hide a lot of the small scratches and scuffs that a horn gets with usage. For a horn rebuild, the scratch finish can preserve more of the original metal thickness. However!!! If a person wants to take a scratch finish and convert it to a bright finish, it might require the removal of a significant amount of metal in the buffing process!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune » Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:14 pm

Thanks Brian, that answers my question!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by biggiesmalls » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:53 am

Another option is 3M polishing paper:

https://www.riogrande.com/product/3m-tr ... ent/337308

Here's a scratch finish I did on a pair of tuning crooks, using 1200 grit polishing paper:
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Mamaposaune
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune » Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:34 am

That looks great, biggiesmalls. Was the lacquer already gone, did you remove it first, or were you able to remove it along with the polishing? And, did you lacquer it afterwards?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by biggiesmalls » Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:47 am

Mamaposaune wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:34 am
That looks great, biggiesmalls. Was the lacquer already gone, did you remove it first, or were you able to remove it along with the polishing? And, did you lacquer it afterwards?
Thanks! I de-lacquered first, using multiple applications of citrus stripper, then quite a bit of dent removal with old-school graduated brass dent balls and hammer chaising, then finally a light sanding with 600 grit polishing paper before using the 1200 grit. I'm just getting ready to spray with with rattle can lacquer today (it's finally warm enough here to work outdoors).
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:04 pm

Biggiesmalls pointed out something that I did not include in my description. I believe a scratch finishe looks best when the "scratch" is started with a more-coarse grit and then finished with a finer grit. Each tech has their own system and preference for grit selection.

Another consideration is the grain of the scratch. Some scratch finishes (bell flares in particular) are done with the scratch going parallel with the length of tubing. IMHO, I don't think that looks particularly good. I prefer to do my scratch finish with the grain going in cross-section with the tubing (90 degree angle to the length of the tubing).

Technically, I guess any type of grain is possible. I guess someone could actually scratch the instrument in a diagonal angle and then also do the opposite diagonal scratch. It might create a look that is similar to the mowing pattern done on many Major League Baseball fields. I'm not willing to try something like that because the potential for it to look horrible is definitely there!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:06 pm

I did this today on my old Getzen 998 Eterna.
Took it to a guy that does ‘vapor blasting’. It only took about a half an hour and cost me $40 Canadian.
The pictures don’t do it justice because the lighting isn’t so great but it has a wonderful satin finish and looks really nice in person. This horn has a nickel outer slide but it’s hard to tell from the pictures.
The dents that you see were already there before this process.
Wish I had done this a long time ago because it completely exceeded my expectations!



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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:08 pm

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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:09 pm

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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by MagnumH » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:25 pm

That’s beautiful!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:17 am

I think all the different blasting techniques (sand, vapor, media, etc....), when applied to brass instrument finishes, can be adjusted to get similar results. It is a very elegant look if done well.

I know that sand blasting is a messy process. For small projects like instruments, it requires a containment booth. I have heard that vapor blasting requires the same containment equipment. I imagine that media blast is similar.

For those who have worked with these blasting techniques on instruments, I am wondering what advantages/disadvantages exist? Why did you choose the type of blasting equipment that you use?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Peacemate » Mon Mar 22, 2021 6:31 pm

Sniffynose wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:06 pm
I did this today on my old Getzen 998 Eterna.
Took it to a guy that does ‘vapor blasting’. It only took about a half an hour and cost me $40 Canadian.
The pictures don’t do it justice because the lighting isn’t so great but it has a wonderful satin finish and looks really nice in person. This horn has a nickel outer slide but it’s hard to tell from the pictures.
The dents that you see were already there before this process.
Wish I had done this a long time ago because it completely exceeded my expectations!
How was the lacquer beforehand? I have a 3b with interesting lacquer wear and a vapor blasting place nearby and want to add cool factor.
Student in Sweden, usually looking for more trombones
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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:27 pm

The lacquer before was very scratched up in places but mostly intact I think. Kinda hard to remember now cause I never used this horn much.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by MagnumH » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:16 am

Peacemate wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 6:31 pm
How was the lacquer beforehand? I have a 3b with interesting lacquer wear and a vapor blasting place nearby and want to add cool factor.
If you do it, please share results! I have a 3BF I’m looking to remove the lacquer from and this is an interesting process!
Sniffynose wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:27 pm
The lacquer before was very scratched up in places but mostly intact I think. Kinda hard to remember now cause I never used this horn much.
Is there any risk of damage this way, to the slide or otherwise? Did you put anything on the horn after the blasting?
Last edited by MagnumH on Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Matt Hawke
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:26 pm

I don’t believe it will damage the trombone but that may also depend on the experience of the person doing the vapour blasting. This is mildest form of blasting available.
I had the bell and the outer slide done only, with no treatment on the horn afterwards of any kind.
It didn’t damage my horn at all and it pretty much plays the same. If I was to guess maybe a slight bit softer of a feel at least behind the bell anyways.
As soon as I get a hold of another 3b bell I am going to do the same thing to it.
I have attached a brochure with some information
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:32 pm

King 2B+ before and after.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:34 pm

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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:36 pm

After
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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:37 pm

After
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:38 pm

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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Bonearzt » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:43 pm

Nice!!!

My preference though would be to polish the main cross braces on the bell and tuning slide, and also the hand brace areas on the slide.
Also the bell engraving REALLY pops if polished.

Did you satin the inside of the bell after??


Just MHO...Nice job!!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:46 pm

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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:48 pm

Another horn I took to get vapor blasted.
Lighting isn’t great so it looks much better in person.
Great satin finish!
The bell has a nice reddish tint to it and inside the bell it’s even a bit darker.
Since this bell has a high copper content it plays better with a coat of lacquer and a counterweight, so I added both.
By the way, this bell plays great!
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by MagnumH » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:05 pm

Holy cow that’s gorgeous! Great work! And this is just at an industrial blasting place, not a specialist facility? Around $40CAD per horn? This is too tempting for both my Kings now (AND I wonder how the sousa would come, I gotta admit!).
Matt Hawke
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by biggiesmalls » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:19 pm

Here's scratch finish touch-up I did with 600/1200 grit 3M polishing paper, just a simple clean-up of the exposed brass at the hand contact point on a Martin Committee cork barrel, leaving as much of the original lacquer intact as possible:
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