Scratch Finish?

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Mamaposaune
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Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune »

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 »

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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Elow
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Elow »

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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ithinknot
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by ithinknot »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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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Mamaposaune
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune »

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

Post by biggiesmalls »

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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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Mamaposaune »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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?

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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

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MagnumH
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by MagnumH »

That’s beautiful!
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Crazy4Tbone86
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 »

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 »

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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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

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 »

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.
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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

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 »

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

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Re: Scratch Finish?

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After
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Sniffynose
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Re: Scratch Finish?

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After
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Re: Scratch Finish?

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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Bonearzt »

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 »

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 »

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!).
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by biggiesmalls »

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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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

1952 King 2B Silver sonic after vapor blast.
Plays way better without the stock lacquer but I did apply one coat of my own matte spray lacquer.
Pic beside my 3B silver sonic for reference. Lighting is bad here, looks way better in person.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

Very nice! Been thinking a lot about this.. I have a horn that had most of the lacquer sanded/scuffed off. Hopping the vapor blasting could get the rest of the lacquer off and leave me with a decent finish, perhaps to be scratched afterwards depending on the outcome. Wondering though how to go about bringing the nickel accents back to bright afterwards. If I masked them they would still need to be stripped and quite a bit of buffing to get them fairly uniform.. thinking it would probably be less work to buff them after accomplishing a uniform finish?
What did you do to protect slide tubes and tuning slide legs?
Thanks a bunch for sharing.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by hornbuilder »

The usual way of doing bright/satin adjacent areas is to do the bright color areas first, then mask them, and apply the satin process. It is much more work to bring satin finished parts back up to bright! Considerable material would be removed.

Wondering who the company is that does this for you, Sniffy?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by davdud101 »

Dang, I tend to be partial to a brush finish as it looks more natural on brass, but those satin horns look phenomenal!

I'm working on a Yamaha 354 where I left the inner bell in full lacquer and stripped the outside of the bell to do a radial brush/scratch finish. I'm surprised how easy it is and how dang good it looks. Re-lacquering is the part I'm most concerned about.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

Tricky, but not impossible to mask some parts off. Would have to be heavy duty tape - the spray is wide and powerful. Ask tech to avoid the taped areas perhaps.

Remove cork/felt bumpers. With slide assembled, spray cork barrels only, carefully separate from outer slide, then spray outers. Tricky and delicate process and the media gets everywhere so wash thoroughly after.

I recommend only doing the outer slide because the inners can get scratched too easy.

Bells are easy, spray assembled without the counterweight.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

Thanks for that... Starting to think I may have the whole horn sprayed then come behind and scratch the brass and leave the nickel satin.. should produce a similar but subtle effect.
Think there would be any danger of damage to threads on the screw ring?
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

Whoops
EZ
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by aasavickas »

When you sell your free horn, don't use Reverb, they favor the buyer.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

Leave the slide lock on to protect the threads, but remove the split valve and spring.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

aasavickas wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2024 8:38 pm When you sell your free horn, don't use Reverb, they favor the buyer.
Pretty sure they favor honesty in advertising.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

Sniffynose wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 6:10 am Leave the slide lock on to protect the threads, but remove the split valve and spring.
Roger that
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

Threads on the bell section get blasted and totally fine afterwards. I have done 4 bells now.
I have applied a light coat of matte spray lacquer for brass after and you can’t even tell but it looks and plays well, just don’t use too many coats.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by Sniffynose »

‘75 King 3B F
1 small piece left original orange on the rotor. Lots of feadback behind the bell when played and has a fantastic tone.
I need better lighting.
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Re: Scratch Finish?

Post by EZSlider »

Gorgeous!
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