Holton 345 Redux Bookmark and Share

Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:16 pm

Okay, so it was windy again, and the horn would not line up exactly like it did before. Too few reference points, I guess. However, it looks good enough for me. Of the two major axes one is excellent — I think. I need to check again. One is off, but It may actually look a little bit better. The top bow and bell (sighting "through" the top bow to the bell) is straight. The bell and top bow (as seen from the audience or player — side by side and not in line) are close, but the top bow tips in toward the bell a little bit. It was WAY of as Mr. Rusk assembled it. The tuba looked pinched across the "shoulder" (top bow upper, outer "corner" across the the far side of the bell) and when that was noticed the whole horn looked cattywampus. The valve section sort of hid that, but from the back it looked like the whole horn had been squished over into the bell. That really bugged me, so I vowed to fix that when I finally got to tearing the bugle apart. It may have been a little bit too wide or open looking when I put it together last time. So today might be an accidental improvement. It does not matter at all, but again, stuff like that bugs me. And every time I noticed it I would be slightly disappointed that I had not fixed that when I had the chance.

Anyway, the ends of the bottom bow and bell that fit into the large ferrule had to be "finessed" (read: hammered) to fit properly, and now they do, but in the process the horn went back together just a tiny bit off from where I had it before.

So there were zero flat spots in the tube ends internally and an airtight seal was easy to get. But there were small gaps externally and that damned solder ran like a shoplifter leaving a Walmart.

I decided to call it quits once this was fully cleaned up and washed off to remove any flux residue. I have five cats who seem intent on licking everything I own, so we have to be extra careful with flux and other acids and poisons since we store everything in the house. After a very thorough sudsing and rinse I toweled it off and shot the photos below.

The reason I decided to call it quits at this point is that my new Baldor buffer will arrive on Tuesday, and it just so happens that Tuesday is the start of two weeks off for me. So I will use it on this las bit of cleanup and then use my color buff and red rouge to tart the tuba up some more.

Here we are at the end of my work session for today...

I am sure this will end up looking very decent. My plan is to mask off the bell and lacquer the branches. If, at a later date, I feel solid in my lacquering skills I *might* opt to mask off the branches and to the bell exterior, too. Probably not, but it looks so good when it is buffed that any fogging from polishing up from a patina would make is look less purdy. So, as I like to say: We shall see.
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Ginger loves tubas, but she likes to crawl inside this one to sleep. She has not been able to do that for some time, now, so she is getting reacquainted with her old buddy...
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This tuba is now officially Cat Approved.
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I am starting to really like the silver inner/brass outer look... :mrgreen:
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Casca Grossa » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:26 pm

Love the look of the bell.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:12 pm

+1
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Tubajug » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:48 pm

That looks fantastic Wade!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Ken Herrick » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:48 pm

Hey, Wade, are you a graduate of the Bloke School of Sousaphone Buffing???? :)

Lookin reeeaaally purdy.

Great job!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby bort » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:37 am

Damn! It's barely half of a tuba in that photo, and I love it.

How many hours, start to finish, would you say you will spend on this project?
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:09 am

Hundreds.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:36 pm

Okay, so I have been doing lots of very small tasks when I have a couple of hours to spare. I have been busy playing the tuba a lot and doing my regular teaching grant program for the State. Weather has been terrible for soldering — windy, sodden, or cold. The last few days have seen some moderate improvement in the weather in that the temps have been very good. Today it rained all day and I worked out there in the very nice 55º evening until it hit the upper forties, at which point I called it a day. The non-stop dampness kills my finger joints.

My goal has been to get two major hurdles cleared so that I can start to fit the piston section to the bugle. Once that is accomplished I can map out my 4th slide route and then do the 5th and the leadpipe.

This past week I got the bugle back together, except for 5th and 6th branches, which will be set up with the valve section. I put this horn back together with better geometry, but stuff won't fit back the way it did. So I need some noodling space and this tuba has no dogleg. No dogleg means you have to line stuff up very well before you can get anywhere. The dogleg allows for right/left adjustment and can also allow you to adjust the can't of the valves to the bugle as well as have some minor height adjustment. My not using one allowed me to put the 5th valve there in the place that made the most sense to me, acoustically. So now I pay for that.

So I tore down my 5th valve unit today to replace the actually very good St. Pete rotor unit with one from Voigt in Germany. The St. Pete, while being a little deficient in how robust the bearings are as well as having very sharp inner faces in the ports, is currently very well made. The Voigt, has a super nice airway and the bearings will last forever; they are huge. The valve's action is like glass. However, the knuckles must have been aligned by a blind man. I am pissed off about that. This will cause me some grief in future projects with this tuba.

Anyway, I managed to get the St. Pete unit torn down and fit stuff to the new rotor. I had to use some St. Pete nickel plated bits on the old setup, but today I swapped in some solid nickel silver scraps that added up to the needed lengths, so that was nice. When I buff, sand or scrape any of that no brass will peek through, and it will stay relatively shiny over time compared to the tarnish a lot of the St. Pete tubing seems prone to.

My tube end rings are all nickel silver, but the B&S MTS parts I used had brass rings on nickel silver tubes. The rotor unit is removable by itself so the connection to the 6th branch is like a super short slide leg. It now has a matching brass end ring because I am a dork. But it makes me happy, and that is why I am doing all this extra crap. ;-)

The new rotor is brass, the rear bearing plate is brass, the rear cap, the casing and all the small parts are nickel silver. It looks great. And now all the bits attached to it are NS, too, and not that craptastic nickel-plated brass St. Pete stuff. (Their slide tube sets still suck mightily, despite how nice their valves have become. Most of their parts are great, but inner/outer slide leg sets are terrible, some even leak badly. Getting every tiny scrap of that tubing off my horn is one of the goals of this build.

It was impossible to really align the entry/exit tubes since the ports are badly offset. The two slide ports are also wonky. One is straight but points a little upwards. The other is flat but points to the right. This was not a cheap valve. I will continue to purchase stuff from Voigt, but rotary valves will only be purchased from J. Meinlschmidt GmbH, thank you very much.

Pics...

Before, with St. Pete rotor and some nickel plated tubing bits...
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After, with Jürgen Voigt nickel silver rotor and all nickel silver tubes. Uh, except for the two brass ferrules and nickel plated curved tubes. Oh, well. I am getting there...
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Here is how it breaks down...
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Here is my homemade tube end ring to match the B&S one. They are the same color. The B&S one has been tarnishing for months. In the After pic you can see them both buffed up, matching color like champs. HA!
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This was the old, plated St. Pete stuff. It was already wearing down to brass in spots on the backside, and the tube end ring is squared and also plated. The new stuff matches both legs of the MTS exactly in look and materials. Complete geekiness. Yet here I sit, smiling my butt off...
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I had to use some weird lengths to get what I wanted, because I was using scrap tubing. I am out of the very large sized outer tubing and had to hunt through lots of boxes to come up with these two bits. (The bore is 21mm, so the outer tubing is pretty dang big.) I got the brass ring made and installed just before this was taken. I had just cleaned it up when I took the shot. It is not perfect, but it looks pretty decent. The rounded profile came out pretty well, too.
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Here you can clearly see the difference between the St. Pete and Voigt bearings. Also, the Voigt casing is about 60% thicker. No contest, here. One issue for me was that the St. Pete knuckles are exactly .25" long from the shortest point on the casing wall. They are very consistent and well done. The Voigt knuckles are all different lengths and angles, and the ends are not cut flush with anything. Irritating! :evil:
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This is the St. Pete rotor valve unit that I removed.
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And this is the new German rotary valve unit I added tonight.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby KiltieTuba » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:40 am

What are you gonna do with the other rotor?
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:46 am

Morning mental poo...

I wanted this entire 5th valve unit to be removable so that it would not be left on the bugle after the piston set was removed. I want the bugle to be free of anything prior to 6th branch so that when I need to work on it, or if I later decide to lacquer it, plate it (hang it from my Christmas tree, whatever) that it is *just* the bugle.

Additionally, I wanted to be able to trial different rotors and use both clockwise and counterclockwise rotation specifically to see what they do. I have the correct size of Kanstul CR valve here, three off-the-shelf 21mm rotors, and though about getting a Rotax of that size - again, just to see how they all do on this tuba.

I wanted to try different orientations (clocking) to see if that affects the trigger all that much.

Stuff like that.

I also wanted to be able to simply remove it and have a four banger for those times when I don't need a 5th (which is most of the time, to be truthful) to save some weight by replacing it with a straight pipe.

I cannot do this with my nice Voigt rotary valve because the ports are all wonky. Like I said above, I am pretty disappointed/pissed off that they would send this to me like this. The cheapo St. Pete valves do not have this issue. They work very well (not as well as the Voigt, though) and their inside air path has more disturbances, but they have worked out well on this tuba over time.

I have decided (but not yet firmly, as I hate duplicating work when I don't have to do so) to pull this nice, new rotor and put on the other of my two St. Pete valves. The one I was using worked well, but the other one worked somewhat (noticeably) better.

The entry/exit ports on it are straight enough to allow me to make a straight pipe to connect the MTS to the 6th branch, which I will use to assemble the piston set to the tuba, and I will add in the rotary section after the fact. I cannot do this with the Voigt valve due to the offset of the two knuckles. (I ought to return it, but the hassle would be great.)

I need some additional tubing to do this but cannot find any of the correct size. It could be brass. NS is not needed for this. But I need about seven inches of both the inner and outer tubing.

Time to stop work and do some shopping again.

Rats...
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:46 am

KiltieTuba wrote:What are you gonna do with the other rotor?


I have five other project horns waiting in the wings. I also have a box of rotary valve units of various sizes, and a box of piston valves. I'm always hacking on something around here, it seems...
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:03 pm

Okay. I now have a permanent solution for the above issue. I have made half of the adjustments needed to make it work, and the other two will be done tomorrow. Then I can assemble the 5th section *again* (third time, now) and MOVE ON with this dog and pony show.

My issue is the lack of .825" ID telescopic inner/outer nickel silver slide tubing. I cannot locate what I want anywhere right now that is not hideously expensive and at least a month out on delivery time from Europe. I need this tuba NO LATER than Sunday, March 19th for the first rehearsal of Mahler 1. (I have played it enough that I do not need to look it over at all. Eventually, as you repeat the warhorses you actually *learn* them and they become "easy".) I would like it about three days before that so I can relearn the quirks of this horn.

If I miss the deadline I will play the 2165, but won't have a chance to use this in our concert hall until next season. I will have to "break it in" during our outdoor Pops runouts and some freelance stuff that could stand the application of a BAT.

So, the issue, if you have been following this little drama of mine, is that the knuckles on my BRAND NEW made-to-order rotary valve from Germany. It is one of the finest valves I have ever worked with, but the damned knuckles are a bit askew. Normally this would not be an issue, but it is for *this* horn.

I need the short tube that connects to the 6th branch to be inline with the MTS below it on the other side of the valve. There are several reasons I want this, but mostly (at this point) It is so that I can use a straight tube from the MTS to the 6th branch to make propping all this mess up and keeping it inline properly so I can cut and fit braces. It will be much easier if that whole valve unit is not on there flopping around loose.

So, I have these two outer slides off of what looks to be B&S/VMI tubas from some time back. They were the longer alternate 5th slide extenders. Remember back in the 1980s when those guys at Custom Music used us as their guinea pigs? So many tubas were sold with two or three leadpipes and two different 5th slide lengths. (The Yamaha 621 F still has this idea in play, as the 5th slide is a half step and it has an extender to make it a whole tone. Pop it out and you have a completely different low range experience.) These guys eventually settled in on the flat whole step 5th based on sales and customer feedback (I guess). The most popular leadpipes were eventually discovered and in many cases the tubas had that one soldered on the horn - no more leadpipe options, sorry. And these two slides were identical in every way, but were slightly different sizes.

I bought them both because the nickel silver was in excellent shape and this eBay seller's (frequently inaccurate but usually pretty close) measurements told me I could probably find a use for them someday. Cheap and good to have? BIN pricing with free shipping? Sign me up.

I got them and took them down, tossing the ugly braces in the trash. Yuck. The slides were very gray from many years of sitting on a shelf and tarnishing. (They had no lacquer.) I whipped out the junky Harbor Freight ugly, orange "buffer" and cleaned up everything. When I sat down at the bench with the four tubes I discovered that one set fit inside the other set perfectly, like perfectly fitted telescopic slide legs. They are odd IDs and thicknesses, too. So that was a super-happy discovery for me! Through dumb luck I ended up with two 8.5" long sets of inner/outer slide tubing in pristine nickel silver. I think I spend like $20 shipped to my door. Cool!

[Sorry I am being such a screaming dork, here, but I am amazed at how this all worked out. I have *terrible* luck, normally.]

So I have wanted to use this stuff on one of my horns for some time now, but the Kurath has no NS on it (yet) and the Holton conversion to all NS slides used sizes that were not really compatible with what I am using with my valves and crooks.

Then I bought the cool B&S MTS with the outer legs included. It was one of the long boys that bring a 442 horn down to 440, so lots of extra NS in fitted pairs, same eBay seller, same low price with free shipping.

I used the crook, ferrules, big B&S logo brace (minus the logo) and the legs (trimmed to the length I needed). I ended up with some stubs off the big side that were what I used in my last big post to make the connection to the 6th branch. They were weird lengths so it did not work out as I envisioned, but it worked well enough.

The issue is that the new rotary valve's entry/exit ports are offset by over 2mm, meaning that there is no way to have the tubes on both ends be like one straight tube that happens to have a rotary valve living in the middle of it. It will not work. Both my St. Pete rotors have their minor flaws, but the porting is spot on correct. I have one that has clockwise action and one that is the opposite. Some valve makers use the same rotor with two different stop arms to align them for clockwise or counterclockwise action. The small, cheap part is the one they make two of and all four rotors are the same.

For some reason the St. Pete ones all use the same stop arm and have two different rotors, the machining of the top of the stem to accept the stop arm being 90º off from one another. Normally you cannot swap them at all. But I am using the with a lever that approaches the valve from 90º off of its designed layout. I had made a very nifty stop arm to make this work on the Holton a few years ago when I first installed it. My lever is one that makes the rod go up and down with my thumb. (My Kurath has the linkage arm attached differently, so when you press the lever the rod to the valve comes UP.) This modified stop arm made the valve rotate clockwise when I pushed the lever. But the slide ports pointed toward the bell in that iteration. The new one will have the valve face up but with the ports toward the piston set.

The lever was attached to the inside edge of the stop arm. When I flipped the valve I saw that the linkage arm would have to stay on that same side of the valve, now on the bell side since it was flipped over. When I did this the rotation became counterclockwise, and with the lever up the valve was in use and it turned off when I pushed the thumb lever. I would have to make another stop arm to put the lever on the other side.

I then discovered that by swapping the rotors between the two St. Pete valves that I would have *exactly what I wanted, except the rod would be back on the valve side of the stem, which would not only make me have to bend my linkage arm to fit around the 1st piston casing from the ball on the thumb lever, but it would make the valve rotate in the reverse manner from what I wanted, despite working correctly, in the technical sense.

Tonight I discovered if I swapped the rotors back and used the original casing this would give me the desired rotation direction and allow me to use my lovely stop arm, so nothing else would have to be done — if I was willing to undo all that work and swap out that German rotary valve. Then all the minor trimming I had to do to my MTS leg and the 6th branch leg and the rotor knuckles, yada yada and I would have a few large gaps in need of internal spacers, which is stupid on such short slides. But I did not have access to more of this specific tubing.

Enter the cool stuff from eBay, which is a half millimeter smaller than what I am using. The internal bore in a section that is about 6" long and that has a rotary valve in the middle of it won't be affected a bit by choking it down a half a millimeter when they are as large as they are. The St. Pete rotor is about .825" which is a tiny bit smaller than 21mm, and the stuff I have is 20.5mm, which is about .807" — and that really will not make a difference in such a short run of tubing. It just won't.

The issue was that I would have to shrink down and sand the two knuckles on the St. Pete rotor to accept this new stuff.

And I got it done in no time and it fits great. So I now have the straight insert, which will help with aligning everything as I install the piston set, and will be nice enough to use if I want to go with no 5th valve for whatever reason. It will also align the MTS with the 6th branch well enough that I can make new 5th units with different rotors to experiment. Very, very cool! And a nagging problem solved. I will use the nice NS Voigt rotor for something where the in/out port alignment is not important, and the slide ports are close enough. Good valve, but not for this tuba...

Here are some pics.

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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:55 pm

I cleaned up the rotary valve, because it had metal filings all over, and I did not want to gouge the inner casing wall or the rotor. It also needed to be cleaned out. It was on my Holton for three years and was not cleaned very often because it lived uphill from the MTS opposite the valves, the water keys, etc. It was more or less clean, but after it got heated up with the torch a lot of stuff became visible.

So into the vinegar it went for an hour and a half.

Then I went inside and really cleaned it up with tons of Dawn. The vinegar did not get the impregnated oil out all that well. The Dawn is great for that.

I put it back together and lubed it up to make sure I had not affected the action with all that work to two of the four ports. It is just fine, thankfully.

Much nicer.

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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby bloke » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:22 pm

Here at blokeplace®, that Coke would be on the floor (if not in that keyboard) after a few seconds...as well as all of those mostly-cylindrical tools and any of those other liquids...and yeah, there's a reason why I buy four of those calipers (caught on sale) at a time.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:55 pm

I have learned so much just reading this epic thread. Keep up the pictures and the postings. They are greatly appreciated!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:18 am

Well, I think I may have made myself sick today. I sat out in the high forties/low fifties air with the wind going all as (and wind chills down to freezing) in sweats and a light windbreaker with the sleeves pulled up for about five hours. I have been having chills all evening, but am feeling much better now. Not sure what is going on with me. We'll see tomorrow, I guess.

I cut all the parts needed for the new/new/new rotary valve section. (Ugh...)

I got the MTS crook shrunk down that tiny amount to get the 1/2mm smaller tubing to fit. I did some rather trick dent hammer magic so there is no step at all, inside or out.

Tomorrow, if I am not dying from some cold-related malady, I will remove the short slide leg from 6th branch and neck down that bit, too. Then I will build everything and make sure my MTS is properly aligned.

I also made the straight tube with the internal spacer that replaces the 5th valve unit altogether, which will make assembling the piston section to the bugle somewhat easier.

Pics later. I am dead. Goodnight.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby YORK-aholic » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:56 pm

the elephant wrote:Pics later. I am dead. Goodnight.


You can't die now. That would be the most anticlimactic ending to a thread in the history of TubeNet!
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary King...
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:26 pm

I just typed up a post, added the photos and tagged them, spent like a half hour on it, then hit Command T to open a new tab to get some information before posting this reply. EXCEPT THAT I HIT COMMAND Q AND QUIT MY BROWSER AND LOST EVERYTHING! UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:42 pm

Trying again, now that I am no longer hurling cuss words towards my innocent cats, who know me to be insane...

Okay...

I unpacked the new buffer and checked it out. All good. I then removed the Harbor Freight POS from its pedestal and installed the Arkansas-made Baldor. Also all good.

Then I unpacked my new buffs from Harbor Freight and installed them. I was immediately reminded why I need to very carefully inspect every item I put into my cart at that store. The arbor holes in the buffs are off center. This causes a lot of vibration in the machine, which is bad. Getting them "round" takes a lot of buffing and using the rake and you lose like a half inch of your new wheel. These are not large buffs to begin with at only six inches, so that is a no-go.

I decided to try the known good wheels on the HF orange monster and they are too skinny (not enough plies) to tighten down properly. Dang it...

So I found two shims of the needed thickness with half-inch arbor holes and used those. I can now buff with my old, worn down wheels until the new ones I just ordered arrive. So all is good, but I have a very small cutting wheel. The color wheel is fine, though. So whatever.

I ordered some *good* Tripoli (because mine sucks) and a new rake, along with a Baldor A65 stitched cotton wheel and some highly ranked but no-name color wheel. Both are about an inch thick and the holes will be centered, so when all this comes in I may start working on lacquering parts of the bugle. Not sure I want to do that.

I have to go to town, so I won't get to do much work today. Perhaps tonight I will suffer the cold winds for a few hours and solder the rotor and all the parts together. I have worked out how to make the two tubes on the rotor parallel and planar. Once that is good I can make sure my "rotor delete kit" tube is of the correct length. Right now all this is *close* but I won't know what I need until the stuff is soldered together. Then I can correct a millimeter here or there to make stuff match.

Here are some pics of my sexy new Arkansas girlfriend...

Out with the old. In with the new.
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BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo...
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Hooray! Saved by some nice folks in The Natural State.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby bloke » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:28 am

curious:
How did you post those images?
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bloke
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