Cleaning outer slide tubes on nickel alloy tubes?

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harrisonreed
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Cleaning outer slide tubes on nickel alloy tubes?

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:17 pm

I have gotten really good at cleaning and getting brass slides to work really well. I use Wright's brass cream first, and then the slide dr. application (they're like some sort of car polish) until no corrosion is left in the outer tubes. Then they work unbelievably well.

Do the same products work on a nickel alloy outer slide, like you get on the 3B? We just got a 3BF that is great except for the scratchy slide. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't a big difference between polishing this type of outer tube and brass tubes that I'm used to.
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BGuttman
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Re: Cleaning outer slide tubes on nickel alloy tubes?

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:17 pm

The slide tube alloy is a nickel-copper alloy. The stuff you are using should work fine. Though the general tenor I see is that nickel tubes tend to be more scratchy than brass, even when well lubed and polished.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
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Crazy4Tbone86
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Re: Cleaning outer slide tubes on nickel alloy tubes?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:48 pm

Here is "The Difference in Action Between Brass and Nickel Trombone Slides" explanation that was given to me many years ago. It has always made sense to me and nobody has been able to convince me that the logic is wrong.......

The modern trombone inner slide is typically nickel that is plated with chrome. Chrome is extremely hard and essentially polishes the the inside of your outer slide tubes. The more you use your slide, the finer the polish. That is why a trombone slide that is used frequently for many years (if it is dent-free, aligned well and cleaned regularly) will usually work extremely well.

Yellow brass (usually 70% copper and 30% zinc) is a soft, gooey and porous metal that is used on many outer slides. Since it is much softer than the chrome plating on the inner slide, it polishes quickly when rubbed against the chrome. For this reason, yellow brass slides are faster to transition from sluggish to slick when used frequently by a trombonist. Yellow brass is also easy and fast to polish with agents like Wright's Brass Cream or Brasso. The downfall of yellow brass is that is it fast to tarnish. This explains why many yellow brass slides will go from outstanding to very sluggish when they are not used much.....especially if the slide is stored with moisture in it.

Nickel-silver is also a brass alloy that has nickel mixed in. It is not as soft, less gooey and less porous. Thus, when rubbed against the chrome plating, it takes longer or more repetitions of friction to polish. For this reason, it takes nickel-silver slides longer to get to that sweet point where the slide action is outstanding. It also takes nickel-silver slides longer to get rid of those "scratchy" sounds. However, it takes nickel-silver a little longer to tarnish. You might notice that nickel-silver slides are slower to become sluggish when the trombone is not used as much.

Using Wright's Brass Cream or Brasso on the King 3B will work. It will require a little more rubbing/friction and more repetition because the metal is harder and will take longer to get the mirror finish. Once you have it polished up, it should hold that shine longer than yellow brass if the trombone slide is not being used.

The Slide Doctor "Slickcoat Sealant" essentially fills in those porous holes in the metal to create a temporary smoother surface that has less friction when rubbed against the inner slide. Slickcoat Sealant will also work on the nickel-silver slide. However, it will make slightly less difference because the microscopic holes in nickel-silver are smaller and less frequent (remember....nickel-silver is less porous than yellow brass).
Brian D. Hinkley - Player, Teacher, Technician and Trombone Enthusiast
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harrisonreed
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Re: Cleaning outer slide tubes on nickel alloy tubes?

Post by harrisonreed » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:01 pm

Thank you both!
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