Distilled water and red rot?

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bbocaner
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Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:48 am

Hi all. I have a yellow brass slide from a well-respected custom maker that is just under two years old. I recently took it out to find that the bottom several inches of both outer slide tubes is just covered in red rot! I keep my slides very clean and have played this particular slide very little since I got it. I’m shocked.

I have been using distilled water on my slides because I have well water at my house with lots of iron in it. Several instrument makers suggest distilled water also. I was wondering if perhaps the mineral-free distilled water has a tendency to leach the zinc out of the brass? I did some googling on this and most of the results were in the same category of crank pseudoscience as anti-vaccination and astrology, but I wonder if there might be something to it? I’ve got many other trombones with yellow brass slides and have never had a problem like this before, so I wonder if I just got some tubes that were made with a poor quality alloy or what.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by BGuttman » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:54 am

There is something to it. Distilled water is very slightly acidic and will extract some zinc from the alloy. But enough to be visible red rot? Not likely. At least not in the time period you mention. I'd look for another reason.

Are you sure it's red rot and not something else? Have you tried polishing the "red rot"? If it polishes off it's not red rot. Red rot would go through the slide metal so that as you polish the spot remains. Some copper oxides are dark red and if your slide is not lacquered it could be from that.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:10 am

It's definitely under the lacquer so it won't polish off. In a few of the spots the lacquer has kind of bubbled off where it's happened, but in many I could not reach it to polish. I guess I'd have to look at it from the inside with a bore-scope to be sure? And it extends about 4 inches from the ferrule at the crook so I don't think it'd be acid bleed from the assembly.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by Posaunus » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:32 am

VERY unlikely this has anything to do with the distilled water, which should be effectively neutral. (If so, all the rest of us who use distilled water would be facing this problem.) I've never seen anything like this on any of my trombones whose slides are always sprayed with distilled water. Distilled water is widely used in laboratory and commercial applications where contamination and corrosion must be avoided.

Perhaps you should contact Shires (or whoever made your slide) to see if they can shine any light on the issue. (Speaking of shining a light, a borescope sounds like a good idea.)
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by timothy42b » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:46 pm

Red rot, on a two year old custom slide, lightly played?

Maybe if you filled it with ammonia. Otherwise this makes no sense. What might make more sense is a lacquer bleed caused by a surface preparation problem. If so your custom maker will probably take care of it. I can't imagine any that don't stand behind their product, if they were at fault.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:02 pm

Distilled or reverse osmosis water does tend to absorb metals easily if it's in constant contact. But it's not...
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by greenbean » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:21 pm

I also wonder if it is acid bleed. You should contact them. If it is acid bleed they may so "sorry!" But if it is red rot I bet they will replace it.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:09 am

I have contacted them. They asked for photos which I provided, and now I'm waiting to hear something back.

Image
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:58 am

That looks a lot like a slide getting hit by something. I also think I see a dent about 1/3 down from the top of the pic.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:13 am

There's no dent. And that's on the inside and under the lacquer. It wasn't hit by anything.

Also, the spots are on BOTH outers and go all the way around the tubes. That spot is just the most concentrated.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed May 01, 2019 11:42 am

When you get a strongly biased pattern like that, a mechanical cause is most likely. I'm not suggesting one 'bang' event - but many, perhaps hundreds. I remember having a terrible trombone case in high school where the slide was loose enough and positioned such that it was gouging a huge hole in the bell as I stored the horn.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by paulyg » Wed May 01, 2019 9:12 pm

The picture is a little blurry to tell, but that doesn't look like red rot.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by Bart » Thu May 02, 2019 3:13 am

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I've seen slides under two years old (even from respectable custom makers) with red rot. In those cases I suspect something went wrong in the manufacturing, either by a fault in the brass or in the drawing of the tubes. I do not believe that distilled water is the cause of this at all. In most cases, the maker replaced the slide.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Fri May 17, 2019 8:24 am

Well, I sat down with a cheap USB borescope this morning and the slide tubes do have spots on the inside that correspond with the marks on the outside. I'm going to polish with brass polish and then see if I can still see them.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Fri May 17, 2019 9:23 am

Yep, they were dark spots before polishing and now after having cleaned up the slide with wright's and a cleaning rod the inside is a bright yellow mirror finish except for down at the bottom corresponding with these spots where it's very pink.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by brassmedic » Fri May 17, 2019 2:37 pm

Sure sounds like red rot to me. I don't know why several people here are saying it doesn't. :idk: Red rot that I've seen always manifests as small round red marks, as in your picture. What did the manufacturer say?
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by Posaunus » Fri May 17, 2019 2:41 pm

"Red rot": Possibly / probably

Distilled water as a causative factor: Unlikely :idk:
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Fri May 17, 2019 2:50 pm

no word back from the manufacturer, although they did recently have a big event which may have been diverting their attention. I'm going to send a screen shot from the borescope.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Wed May 29, 2019 2:50 pm

So I've heard back from the manufacturer who confirms they believe my photos depict red rot. Their initial email blames it on a "damp environment" and doesn't suggest that they would "take care of it" -- they offered to refinish it for a price. But doesn't it need two new outer tubes? Even if they refinish it, isn't this starting on the inside? Wouldn't it just come back? And wouldn't the inside of the outer tubes never be perfectly smooth?
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bassbone » Wed May 29, 2019 3:07 pm

Yes, If it is red rot refinishing solves nothing long term. Tubes need to be replaced to truly fix the problem.

I will start this by saying I am not a repair tech. That being said, all brass instruments are "damp environments." That sounds like B.S. to me.

If the "well respected" manufacturer is not standing by their 2 year old product I would absolutely not hesitate to name them publicly (or use the threat of naming them to shame them into doing the right thing). if you drop $5,000 on a custom horn it is a reasonable expectation for that to last more than 2 years. I think that it is pretty tough in this case to make a credible argument for the cause of that to be anything other than a flaw in their manufacturing process.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Wed May 29, 2019 3:31 pm

Yeah, I'm dealing with a salesperson and not a tech here. I've got to go through the process.

I can understand them not wanting to just replace it outright for me. The slide is only two years old, but it was a replacement for another slide that at that time was a few years old and that they swapped out for me because it had a defect in the chrome plating on the inners. But I am looking for them to admit it is a defect in materials and offer something - I pay for labor and they pay for parts, for example. I'm going to give them a little more time before I name and shame.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by brassmedic » Wed May 29, 2019 3:50 pm

You need to talk to someone else. That person obviously doesn't know what red rot is, because you can't buff out red rot, therefore it makes no sense to offer to re-finish the slide. Makes me wonder how that person would know it's red rot, since they don't know what red rot is.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:48 pm

So I had a discussion today with someone who I believe knows exactly what happened here. He mentioned that the same exact thing happened to his slide.

It's the glue that marcus bonna uses to put the cases together. The fumes that off gas from the glue attacks the lacquer on certain brands of instruments. It's not a big deal if your instrument is in and out of the case all the time, but since mine has been in the case pretty much 24/7 since I moved, for well over a year, that did it. Down by the crook on the bass trombone case the slide goes into this little pocket to hold the end - and that's exactly the part that has the most damage.

Bummer, but I think that explains why it'd come out from buffing and is actually from the outside in and not the inside out. The good news is I should be able to have my local tech take off a little bit of lacquer, buff it up, and put on a touch of spray lacquer and it'll look like new.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by mrdeacon » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:45 pm

So it wasn't red rot?... You gave a pretty accurate description of red rot earlier in the thread.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:02 pm

Well, it essentially is, but it’s starting from the outside in rather than the inside out. So if that’s true it’s currently just superficial.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by mrdeacon » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:21 pm

bbocaner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:02 pm
Well, it essentially is, but it’s starting from the outside in rather than the inside out. So if that’s true it’s currently just superficial.
Ahhh so there's a difference between zinc leaking out and red rot.

Red rot is the advanced form of the zinc leaking out. Red rot just means it's eaten all the way through the tube. If it's a small amount of zince leaking out it means nothing and can be polished out with some brass polish.

You have the small spots show up on your horn for example if you ever get your horn chem cleaned. I recently got my horn chem cleaned and I got spooked when I saw pink spots show up. Bit of brass polish and they instantly went away, so my horn is safe. No pink spots on the inside of the tubes.

But what you were describing earlier in the thread with the spots being on both the inside and outside of the tube sounds like red rot, at least to me. Since that would imply the acids have eaten all the way through.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:45 pm

Yes, I follow you. It's hard to tell with the borescope. I suspect it's possible I misread the inside photos.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by CharlieB » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:14 am

So, this "well respected custom maker" sold you a slide that had failed plating on the inners, and replaced it with a slide that has lacquer failure on the outers........ Hmmmmmmm.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by tbonesullivan » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:01 pm

bbocaner wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:48 pm
It's the glue that marcus bonna uses to put the cases together. The fumes that off gas from the glue attacks the lacquer on certain brands of instruments. It's not a big deal if your instrument is in and out of the case all the time, but since mine has been in the case pretty much 24/7 since I moved, for well over a year, that did it. Down by the crook on the bass trombone case the slide goes into this little pocket to hold the end - and that's exactly the part that has the most damage.
Whoa, that is some seriously nasty glue if it's doing that! Unless, they are using Nitrocellulose Lacquer, which is what Nikolas Lacquer is. It's still the standard touch up lacquer, and many companies use it because it doesn't require the same ovens and other setup that the baked epoxy lacquers do.

If it's nitro, then yes, I could see it reacting with the glue in a case, and a lot of other things.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by bbocaner » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:30 pm

No, it's epoxy lacquer.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by tbonesullivan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:53 pm

bbocaner wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:30 pm
No, it's epoxy lacquer.
That's a bit strange. Usually the epoxy and polymerized lacquers are pretty chemically inert.
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Re: Distilled water and red rot?

Post by BGuttman » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:03 pm

Some epoxies are more inert than others. Novalic Epoxies are good film formers and would be nearly impervious. Some of the other epoxies I've worked with were more porous.

Also, if the epoxy coating is not deaerated you can get tiny bubbles in the coating that may allow corrosive fumes to work their way through.

If the epoxy is dried too quickly you can get a cracked surface where there may be very little coating at the bottom of a crack.

I've also found that some solvent cleaners will imbibe into epoxy. Methylene chloride is one.

Baking an epoxy coating is actually a science and if not done properly it may not act as expected.
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