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VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:47 pm

I'll not identify the author of this. If the choose to own it - and to identify their areas of expertise, that's fine.

While I’m not a tribologist, my work does require that I have more than a passing understanding of lubrication.

The piston valve as we know it is about as undemanding an application for lubrication as can be imagined. As you rightly point out frequently, contamination and scale build-up are the major issues with poorly performing valves. So the lubricant matters almost not at all, other than using plenty.


...and I would only add: "and offering a low-enough viscosity to be able to play music."

your comments below:
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Donn » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:40 pm

That may be true - if you aren't a red hot player!
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:14 pm

Donn wrote:That may be true - if you aren't a red hot player!


I know about the mouthpieces and mutes, but is there such as thing as Wick Oil ?

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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Ken Herrick » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:26 pm

Doesn't your ultra pure lamp oil work for either application?
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby proam » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:09 pm

“So the lubricant matters almost not at all, other than using plenty.”

While I (used to?) like Ultra Pure valve oil I have recently found that - for me - it doesn’t sit well. If I have it on a horn and don’t play for a few days, the valves stick horrendously and re-oiling doesn’t help. I have to scrub out the valves and casings and start from scratch. Seems like Al Cass would last forever and, even after months of non-use, I could just oil the valves and they’d be ready to go.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:36 pm

proam wrote:“So the lubricant matters almost not at all, other than using plenty.”

While I (used to?) like Ultra Pure valve oil I have recently found that - for me - it doesn’t sit well. If I have it on a horn and don’t play for a few days, the valves stick horrendously and re-oiling doesn’t help. I have to scrub out the valves and casings and start from scratch. Seems like Al Cass would last forever and, even after months of non-use, I could just oil the valves and they’d be ready to go.


While I’m not a tribologist, my work does require that I have more than a passing understanding of lubrication.

The piston valve as we know it is about as undemanding an application for lubrication as can be imagined. As you rightly point out frequently, contamination and scale build-up are the major issues with poorly performing valves. So the lubricant matters almost not at all, other than using plenty.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby vespa50sp » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:14 am

I use trombone slide oil. Probably wrong, but it works for me.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:43 am

vespa50sp wrote:I use trombone slide oil. Probably wrong, but it works for me.


difficult for me to tell much difference in (what's that fancy word...??) viscosity.

When I have to repair school-owned trombones' playing slides for use in marching band, the outside slide tubes (really) need to be discarded and replaced (yet, were that done, the new tubes would be re-trashed within a couple of years), but the repair budget per trombone is about $30, I (year-after-year) do what I can, the slides still feel terrible, but I then dip the inside slide tubes in my jug of lamp oil, and they work "sorta OK"...so that defines "done".
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby vespa50sp » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:57 am

bloke wrote:difficult for me to tell much difference in (what's that fancy word...??) viscosity.


My old piston tubas are like my old jeep, they all just run better on a little heavier weight oil. Sewing machine oil is too heavy for the tuba though (tried that also : )
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby roweenie » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:35 am

The way I do it (taking a page out of the bloke playbook) - I make my own. Ultra-pure lamp oil, mixed with mineral oil. Sometimes, I even put in a drop of peppermint oil, just to make it smell purty.

This way, the mixture can be tailored to each specific instrument, if so desired.

Aaaaaannnnnd, I save $$$$ - pennies per bottle, vs. $5 for 2 ounces of Al Cass (this is no small point, if you have several horns, work on or build tubas, etc.).

Works for me (ranging from newly plated pistons, to somewhat worn ones) - YMMV.

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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:55 am

vespa50sp wrote:
bloke wrote:difficult for me to tell much difference in (what's that fancy word...??) viscosity.


My old piston tubas are like my old jeep, they all just run better on a little heavier weight oil. Sewing machine oil is too heavy for the tuba though (tried that also : )


I get it...
Specifically, it's hard for me to tell much of a difference between 1 oz. bottles marketed as "valve oil", 1 oz. bottles marketed as "rotor oil", and 1 oz. bottles marketed as "slide oil".
Then again, I don't claim to be the most sensitive brass musician in existence.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby roweenie » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:03 am

bloke wrote:Specifically, it's hard for me to tell much of a difference between 1 oz. bottles marketed as "valve oil", 1 oz. bottles marketed as "rotor oil", and 1 oz. bottles marketed as "slide oil".


I suspect you are not alone :tuba:

(Coincidentally, this circular discussion regarding lubrication also exists among Model T Ford enthusiasts.)
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Worth » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:12 am

roweenie wrote:
(Coincidentally, this circular discussion regarding lubrication also exists among Model T Ford enthusiasts.)


Ongoing and sometimes painful lubrication discussions also in the various Harley Davidson forums.
Interesting though, how many views there always are!
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby ResilienceOils » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:56 pm

Lubrication only matters to people who don't have an oil that works well for them. Longevity is important to schools, techs and people who leave instruments sitting for extended periods of time. etc.etc.etc. As a tech since the beginning a few extra dollars for something that keeps your instrument working well is important.
Through college we were all turned on to the blue and I always thought it was the pistons that had issues...later found out it was all the detergent drying off and leaving a film that made the pistons not work well.
It was important when you were in the middle of a gig and your valves quit working...
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Three Valves » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:13 pm

I like it when people quote themselves.

I suspect they also laugh at their own jokes!!

:oops:
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:17 pm

Three Valves wrote:I like it when people quote themselves.

I suspect they also laugh at their own jokes!!

:oops:


...you're referring to "when looking down at the toilet bowl"...??
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Doc » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:46 am

I followed recommendations from several here and bought (dirt cheap) 4 qts of Ultra Pure Lamp Oil. I have to figure out what to use for travel (squirt bottle), but a funnel or kid's oral medicine syringe/applicator works well at home in a pinch. It works well, and I no longer have to feel like a valve oil miser.

How does one remove scale from valves/casings at home?
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby Tubaryan12 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:34 pm

The quality of oil you use directly correlates to how clean your horn stays under "normal" conditions. Some are blessed with routines or body chemistry that allows for clean horns with little scale, food particles, lint, hair, etc. I am not so blessed. I need an oil that will keep the valves working without having to worry about things like what I ate this afternoon. The simple and the cheap simply don't work for some. Those that know me know I'm cheap. I wish lamp oil worked for me. I tried...and it does not. Even when the horn is new, and has been cleaned several times, I have problems with sticking piston valves. I don't want to re-apply oil during intermission in order to make it through a performance without worrying about piston valves sticking.

I finally found something that works for me. It stops the new horn's valves from sticking. It stops the old horn's valves from sticking. Worth every penny not having to worry anymore.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby tofu » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:04 am

Doc wrote:I followed recommendations from several here and bought (dirt cheap) 4 qts of Ultra Pure Lamp Oil. I have to figure out what to use for travel (squirt bottle), but a funnel or kid's oral medicine syringe/applicator works well at home in a pinch.


You can reuse old valve oil bottles. The the tips will come out (on most) with a little finger pressure on the end of the tip pushing it back and forth to gently pull it out. You could use a needle nose pliers, but be careful to not crush the tip. I've also bought a variety of sized new plastic bottles similar to the various valve oil bottle at my local American Science and Surplus. I've also gotten small plastic (and glass) eye dropper type bottles there to use on some horns. They are also a great place to buy a variety of width & length test tube brushes for cleaning the inside of valve slides etc. Prices are dirt cheap.
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Re: VALVE OIL (out-in-the-open troll warning)

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:33 am

Tubaryan12 wrote:The quality of oil you use directly correlates to how clean your horn stays under "normal" conditions. Some are blessed with routines or body chemistry that allows for clean horns with little scale, food particles, lint, hair, etc. I am not so blessed. I need an oil that will keep the valves working without having to worry about things like what I ate this afternoon. The simple and the cheap simply don't work for some. Those that know me know I'm cheap. I wish lamp oil worked for me. I tried...and it does not. Even when the horn is new, and has been cleaned several times, I have problems with sticking piston valves. I don't want to re-apply oil during intermission in order to make it through a performance without worrying about piston valves sticking.

I finally found something that works for me. It stops the new horn's valves from sticking. It stops the old horn's valves from sticking. Worth every penny not having to worry anymore.


Oil will help you far more in quantity than quality.
The cheapest lamp oil contains none of those contaminants that you list in the first paragraph, but enough oiling will slosh a good bit of that stuff down to the main slide's water key and will discourage lime deposits. The more the better...and no, I don't mind re-oiling during intermission...but usually do not.

Many gun-owners clean their guns after each shooting session. It's not that big of a deal to clean out a musical instrument every couple of months...and (if lime deposits, and no desire to take it in to a repair shop) it's not that difficult to clean out all the oil and grease, put the instrument back together without the valves or main slide, jam rubber stoppers in the mouthpipe receiver, the small side of the main slide outer tube, and smaller ones into the holes in the ends of the valve casings, and flood the instrument's valve section with (cheap) white vinegar for two or three hours.

Many people buy into the same sort of thing with automotive oil. It has been shown that synthetics last longer, but - even with synthetics - it's far better to
- use a better filter (that traps more-and-smaller contaminants...the car-to-instrument equivalent of "better cleaning routines")
- change the oil every few thousand miles
- rather than paying several dollars more, use ANY good synthetic (or if petroleum, simply change more often)...and not some particular brand

as opposed to buying $2-more-per-quart "Brand X" automotive oil - due of it's claims - and then adding this to you oil, because of it's claims.

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