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Smashed bell

Postby Tom Gregory » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:45 am

My poor B&S pt10 took another beating yesterday. Sadly, it was my fault. I didn’t zip the bag before throwing it over my shoulder.
This is maybe the 3rd or 4th time I’m going to have to have the bell rolled and dedented. How many times can this be done before the bell would be in danger of tearing? Has anyone tried to get a replacement bell from B&S?
We have some good repair folk up here in the north east but I’m just wondering about options. I love this horn and am not inclined to replace if I don’t have to. Some of you, I have seen, do miracles with some pretty badly damaged instruments.
Wishing all of you a happy new year.
TG
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby bloke » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:01 am

short answer: more than four times

Just fwiw, the bells on those (not particularly common, but occasionally found) 1960's-1970's vintage 4/4-size four-rotor B&S-made CC tubas feature *same-as-Symphonie-F-tuba bells (with a kranz). Were you to decide to take the leap - and one of those tubas was found with a near-pristine bell - you could consider purchasing the C instrument, doing a bell swap, and then reselling the C instrument. The price those tubas demand is usually fairly low, because they only feature four rotors and (due to the configuration) it's very difficult to add a 5th rotor to them. Those instruments are found with "Sonora", "Musica", "Meister Gerhard Schneider", and a couple of other names engraved on them.

If yours is a GDR-era instrument/bell (and you enjoy that resonance), I don't believe I would recommend replacing your bell with a new bell.

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*Once removed from the C instrument, you may-or-may-not discover that it may be necessary to trim 1/4" or so from the small end. Otherwise, I've found the taper/length to be identical.
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby toobagrowl » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:23 pm

If you like your bell on your tuba and yet it has been smoothed out 3 or 4 times, it might be a good idea to get a good brass tech to 'spot-anneal' the bell, repair it and then lacquer it.

Saw a video on YT of a good brass tech do this with a badly-damaged trombone bell. The brass tech marked the deep creases and dents with a magic marker, then took a torch to those areas until the marker spots disappeared, letting him know those spots have been annealed. Then he took the dents/creases out and carefully buffed away the old damaged lacquer, cleaned and degreased it, and relacquered the bell. The bell looked nearly brand-new afterwards, and was the original bell :idea:
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:15 pm

Drive down (two days), I'll fix it the second night you get here, crash here, drive home (two days).
cost: bloke hourly rate, two one-night seedy motel bills, and gasoline
We'll put you up and feed you the night/morning you're here.
Leave on a Friday morning...home on a Monday night.

- no bell removal
- no lacquer stripping
- no heating
- Tommy tired, but much-happy
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby Tom Gregory » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:05 pm

Joe, I might be taking you up on that. The best brass techs I know around here are horn techs and sometimes back away from big tuba projects. I’ll let you know once they get back to work.
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby bloke » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:12 pm

I would much rather fix a tuba bell than perfectly align a tuba slide.
- I don't have to use calipers:
- I don't have to use heat.
-I don't have to guess at what the heat is going to do to the alignment as it leaves the brace.
- I don't have to buff it and lacquer it when I'm done (do I?)

...and hey: A PT-10 is going to weigh less than Austin's 6450 I just straightened out… and the metal is going to be thinner, too.
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Re: Smashed bell

Postby YORK-aholic » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:44 pm

bloke wrote:I would much rather fix a tuba bell than perfectly align a tuba slide.


If only an earthquake would move Tennessee (much) closer to California. My USN Martin Mammoth has some serious need for some serious bell work!
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary King...
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