Unlacquering a Silversonic

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PaKETaZ
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Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by PaKETaZ » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:31 pm

I already approached the subject, but it was not in its own specific topic.

I have an ugly SS from 60’s I think. It’s 70%-80% lacquered.

Do you think I can unlacquer it without messing too much the sonic properties? I like it a lot, but it needs a better look.

Has anyone ever done this before?
—Julien—
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by brassmedic » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:41 am

I like Dupicolor paint stripper, available at auto parts stores. You're going to get other suggestions here. Probably all good .
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paulyg
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by paulyg » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:38 am

Make sure that you follow the instructions regarding PPE (personal protective equipment) for whatever you use. Some of the products you can get are pretty nasty when touched/inhaled (hint: some require the expensive kind of respirators).
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by BGuttman » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:45 am

paulyg wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:38 am
Make sure that you follow the instructions regarding PPE (personal protective equipment) for whatever you use. Some of the products you can get are pretty nasty when touched/inhaled (hint: some require the expensive kind of respirators).
And some need good ventilation. Best done outdoors.
Bruce Guttman
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PaKETaZ
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by PaKETaZ » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:25 pm

Thank you all. I’ve already unlacquered a few trombones and you are right: one has to be very careful with products.

What I’d specifically like to know is how this will affect this horn. Feelings and sonic qualities.

I know unlacquering always changes something on any instrument, but I don’t know how much it will affect a sterling silver bell specifically.
—Julien—
King 2B Silversonic - Conn 48H - Yamaha 352 - Yamaha 640
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BGuttman
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by BGuttman » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:45 pm

Strong alkalis will attack the silver and you may wind up polishing more material off, although that is also the case for the copper in brass.

I wouldn't expect a different response due to the stripper used, but the buffing can make all the difference in the world.
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by CalgaryTbone » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:43 pm

I stripped the lacquer off of a sterling 3B that I wanted to sell. In that case, the lacquer that was missing from the bell had come off in large strips - I think a previous owner had cleaned the horn in hot water. The effect was that when you looked at the bell, it was kind of like looking at a map with islands surrounded by water - large shapes made up of lacquered silver, surrounded by equally large shapes without lacquer.

I didn't like the horn, because I found that it played very unevenly - good notes/registers and equally bad notes. When I removed the lacquer, it was really to just make the horn cosmetically better for sale, but I also found that the uneven response seemed to go away, and the horn played better. My other couple of attempts at removing lacquer didn't seem to make as much of a difference to how the instrument played. It was definitely a winner for that particular 3B. Not sure how much the odd placement of bare metal vs. lacquer coated metal had to do with it. I kind of regretted selling that horn, but I already had a buyer lined up. He loved it.

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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by whitbey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:15 am

I stripped an Edwards. I spent more on chems then I paid the tech to finish the job.
Wished I just let him do it at the start.
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by tbonesullivan » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:04 am

Yeah, that is something to consider. Most techs have far more experience removing finishes than the average person, and access to the proper substances, tools, and hazmat disposal methods.
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Re: Unlacquering a Silversonic

Post by bigbandbone » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:34 am

Back in the 80's I Ran the brass dept for a big music store in Wisconsin. I did a lot of polish and lacquer overhauls! The only reliable way to strip King lacquer back then was a hot lye tank. It left a lot of scale on the horn. Hopefully there's a better way now.
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