Tools for the trade

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Tools for the trade

Post by Arrowhead » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:17 pm

I'm looking to eventually repair and modify my own slides, instead of always having them shipped somewhere. Can anyone give me a list of tools to get started? I figure the only way to learn is jump right in and learn by trial and error.
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:23 pm

Most important thing is a bunch of steel rods (and a vise to hold them). you need rods for all the different tubes you have. Note that the rod for an inner tube is too small for an outer tube.

You will need a good flat surface to check slides. A granite table is pricey, but invaluable. Note that it takes a couple of days for it to acclimate to your environment.

A small hammer to take out dents. Probably with soft faces.

A torch if you plan to do any soldering.

And a big pile of expendable student horn slides to learn on.

If you want to browse supplies, Look at Votaw Tool Company. They sell most of the stuff and you don't have to be a registered technician.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by ghmerrill » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:42 am

Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by hornbuilder » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:44 am

If you're serious about learning to repair, go to school!! Minnesota South East Tech (Red Wing) is where I went. It was the most challenging 9 months of my life, but also the most rewarding. I would not be where I am now, if it had not been for Red Wing. If you're not that serious, and are wanting to "wing it" and teach yourself, be prepared to scrap a whole bunch of stuff, and get very frustrated into the bargain.

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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by elmsandr » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:01 pm

So, what is your goal? If you want to be your own slide doctor, but for just your horns... that’s not really going to work. Doing really good slide work takes practice and lots of upkeep. I have learned from some of the best, Cliff and Gary Ferree of Ferree’s tools above, but never had enough practice to be more than passable. I don’t touch my own slides beyond the beater horns or emergency work.

If you want to be okay and able to do some emergency work, then working on a pile of student to OK horns is a great way to build up skill. Repairing a few eBay horns to 7/10 or 8/10 is very achievable. If you have the knack for it, I’d even say 9/10 is doable without it being a full time job. I have yet to meet anybody that does top drawer slide work without having been full time in the manufacturing or repair business for quite a while.

That said, for tools, the stone is essential. A good vise and the mandrels can be handy. A selection of dent hammers can be handy, but dangerous on slides. I don’t really like the slide rollers, but I was never good with them. The slide expanders can generally just be thrown in the trash unless you have the ability to learn from somebody that is really proficient with them.

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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by imsevimse » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:12 pm

I have used the two expanders I bought. They are not easy to use and it is not possible to do a 100% job with them. I have cracked one slide of a cheap instrument and had to glue the slide together. Not very proud of that repair but it fixed the slide so it is playable. This is what can happen if you are not careful.

One slide I fixed to be a 9,5 out of 10. It still shows it had a dent because it is a very tiny mark left there but the slide is fast and feel no trace of it. When I got that slide it did not move over the stocking because there was a big dent in the outer slide. I would never do a repair on someone else's slide only my slides.

"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by Kbiggs » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:29 pm

Dare I say it...?

Perhaps, rather than focusing on fixing the problem after the fact, focusing on reducing the possibility of dents and bent slides in the first place would be time and energy well spent. A little care with music stand placement, not standing to close to our other slide-brothers, avoiding miscellaneous stuff placed on the music stand, a little extra care with mutes, carefully and assertively claiming your space (marking your territory) in a pit, etc., can prevent a lot of slide accidents BEFORE they happen.

Yes, accidents happen. I worked in music shops for several years as a salesman and liaison for schools. I’ve seen my share of nasty slide nasty slide injuries. I was even an emergency repairman for run-of-the-mill stuff—replacing pads and water key corks, stuff mouthpieces, stuck tuning slides. Hand slides? Never touched ‘em. I would ALWAYS bring them in for repair.

Here’s one way to check out the care needed for some slide repair:

Yes, accidents happen. Yes, qualified techs exist. The two go together quite nicely. Get to know your friendly neighborhood instrument tech. They are a friend in the business we all need.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by boneagain » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:38 am

Since the OP mentioned not only repair, but modification, I second hornbuilder's recommendation. I agree with Mr. Biggs that avoiding damage in the first place is a top priority. But if the aim is to try round vs. dual radius bows, or make the leadpipe removable... some technical knowledge is called for.

That being said, I hope the OP conisders the experience of some of the posters above (specifically, a LOT of experience.) The fact that an experienced repair people state that they leave hand slide detailing to those who do it a lot is VERY significant!

As stated above, it's not just the knowledge and experience. Hand slide work is much like playing the trombone: if you don't practice one day, YOU know it, if you don't practice for three days, EVERYONE knows it. There is fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination involved, and sometimes even just feel without needing to see. Without continued exercise of those skills, they can wither pretty quickly.

One thing I did not see mentioned above is the degree of torch skill involved. Because every piece of brass (or nickel-silver) will heal and cool a tiny bit differently, assembly of the slide bits is an exercise in guessing initial and final piece location in four dimensions (time being the fourth.) Clamping an assembly in a jig does not, for example, guarantee that after heating to solder then cooling all will remain in the same relative alignment as first clamped. Again, work that needs quite a bit of up-front skill and continous practice.

All do-able, of course. But I know MY limitations with torch and touch. My time is better spent playing my horn, and giving the slide techs the respect and business they deserve. YMMV.
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by whitbey » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:23 pm

If you are the type that fixes anything that needs fixing and you know your abilities well enough to not do some things, you will be fine fixing and doing whatever you know you can do. If not, get a lot more training. Try fixing other things too like small engines and washing machines.

If you want to go into the biz, The training is there to learn it well.

If you do not want to go into the biz then any training you get will be good for other things you do.
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Re: Tools for the trade

Post by Jgittleson » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:40 pm

Slides are tough to align perfect, but bells aren't hard at all. I mean, it helps if you are good with your hands, but a class isn't the only way to learn. I taught myself the vast majority of what i know, and heres an example I made from scratch.
LRM_EXPORT_20180708_074353.jpg (3.12 MiB) Viewed 322 times
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