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Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:06 am
by the elephant
bloke wrote:curious:
How did you post those images?

Well, I huffed and I puffed and I... am getting tired of people PM-ing me to see if I will host and post photos for them.

When closed-mindedness reigns, gratuitous hand wringing ensues.


Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:07 pm
by the elephant
From my project notebook:

Holton 345 - Final Reassembly

• Expand small ends of 5th and 6th branches for better fit.
• Finish main 5th valve assembly.
• MTS: B&S crook and brace, new legs/ferrules, Pollard key.
• Lay out with stone and adjustable parallels.
• Trim small inside tube as needed.
• Short brace from 6th branch to 2nd slide. Use Delete to align.
• (If possible) Long brace between outer MTS tubes.
• Install 5th branch using pistons, 6th, leadpipe.
• Install piston set using leadpipe.
• Trim Delete to make new MTS/rotor leg.
• Install new leg using MTS/6th as guide. (Scrap Delete to 5th.)
• Consult file of photos for ideas on 4th routing.
• Lay out inner 4th using components in storage box and bending wide, upper crook to go around valve set.
• Lay out outer 4th, subtracting inner from total to get final upper and lower slide lengths. Use slide assemblies in storage box.
• Assemble 4th permanently to piston set.
• Add detachable braces from 4th to bugle.
• Adjust or remove braces as needed once 4th is installed.
• Clean everything up.
• Make leadpipe. (Use old one with tuner to check length.)
• Cut leadpipe to be more narrow.
• Bend leadpipe. Attach hardware and check fit.
• Test horn; tweak as needed.
• Remove nickel plating from St. Pete 5th slide parts
• Trim B&S NS for main 5th slide ferrules
• Trim new NS for 5th slide inner/outer legs, ferrules
• Fit ferrules to crook and outer legs to 5th slide loop ends.
• Use stone and parallels to align and assemble 5th slide.
• Fit water key to lower 5th crook.
• Install 5th lever. Remove old ball, fill hole, retap for Minibal end link hardware.
• Make 5th linkage arm using old nickel hinge tube over new threaded rod and Minibal end links.
• Install new adjustable thumb ring.
• Drink beer.

It is getting there. I see light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't think it's a train this time.

Lots of mocking up of parts today to settle on which of my three MTS crooks to use. I decided on the very nice B&S one I have been planning around. In doing my sums regarding what has been lengthened and what has been shortened, and looking at how well my leadpipe fits despite everything having been moved a good bit, it seems that I have a net gain/loss of 0" of tubing, that I am at the same length I was at before I tore this horn apart. That is good.

Yesterday was a freaking disaster, but I fixed everything today. It was just one of those days where you pack up, go inside and go to bed. But today washed all my sins away, so to speak. :roll:

I may go into this at some point. Failure is more instructive than success, so sharing yesterday with you might help some of you. Or perhaps it will make some of you laugh. Whatever.


Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:01 pm
by Casca Grossa
You forgot a taco break on that list. You're going to need it.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:07 pm
by roweenie
Way to go, Wade - I've learned a lot from you, and I'm most appreciative.

.....and I'm certainly not laughing, either.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:20 pm
by the elephant
Casca Grossa wrote:You forgot a taco break on that list. You're going to need it.

TRUE! I shall add one promptly!

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:21 pm
by the elephant
roweenie wrote:... and I'm certainly not laughing...

You would be if you knew all that went wrong yesterday. Again, later, I might add this to the thread. I can do this now because I saved everything, so it is more self-deprecating joke than a lament...

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:32 pm
by roweenie
"Je me presse de rire de tout, de peur d'être obligé d'en pleurer." - de Beaumarchais, Le Barbier de Séville

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:23 am
by the elephant
roweenie wrote:Je me presse de rire de tout, de peur d'être obligé d'en pleurer.

Oui, ceci est mon existence.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:20 pm
by roughrider
Well Done, Elephant! The final product is almost ready!

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:43 pm
by the elephant
Okay, a brief rundown on what I F-ed up the other day that had me so down in the mouth...

I got my new buffer. It is a *real* buffer (for industrial use) and it has all the grunt that my HF one does not have. The weakling Chinese buffer never once gave me pause to do some truly stupid stuff that I know better to never do, because if something went wrong the buffer would simply stop spinning. I became rather daring and was able to do some things I normally cannot do in such a small (6") machine, despite the low torque. I tried some new angles and some locations for the workpiece in relation to the buff edge. It was cool: I was doing stuff you normally would never consider doing, well into the realm of strapping (or ragging, as some call it).

I got the new hyper-violent-macho-man-fling-your-stuff-across-the-room-at-fifty-MPH-as-you-cry-like-the-little-female-dog-you-are buffer set up. I slowly reintroduced myself to power and to danger with some junk parts and, after a time, felt I was back in the saddle, so to speak. I was ready to do some basic stuff, like intentionally destroy nickel and silver plating, remove sanding marks, shine the bejeezus out of stuff - you know - buffing...

And after hours of highly successful work I was pretty much shot. I started to make mistakes and have lapses in concentration...

Aaaaaaaaand I fired my 5th valve section across the yard about 20, from the covered carport out into the driveway. It tinged and dinged loudly five times as it tumbled across the cement.

I was aghast. I was also now very clear-headed.


So after having loudly groaned, I uttered some adult words we cannot share on TubeNet. I uttered many of them.

I walked over to pick it up. I examined it. I have an astigmatism and no glasses, so everything I look at from a certain distance and vantage point looks askew. (Hi, Dennis. Not you.) I was certain the opening to the rotor casing was now an oval, but I could not trust my eyes. The threads were chewed up badly in one small spot. The ends of the nickel silver outer slide legs to the MTS and 6th branch were badly smooshed and scratched. The top bearing looked good, though, as did the two slide knuckles.

So I sat down to try and fit the rotor. It turned, but it scraped. But it did turn. I added the rear bearing plate. It still turned just fine. The scraping was due to one of the ports being pinched in a bit inside the casing. The rear cap would not go on more than a quarter turn.

Since then I worked on the rotor action until it turned pretty freely but still had hangs every 180º of rotation as the butterfly valve wall of the rotor turned past the one knuckle. I eventually burnished it until it has nearly zero defects in a full rotation. I will finish that task tomorrow.

Today I donned my magnifier headset and used a rawhide mallet and a hook scraper to slowly chase the damaged threads, and then used the mallet to work the cap back on fully, tapping the area of the damaged threads through the cap as I turned it.

I did the needed dent work to the outer slide legs on either side of the valve until everything pulls smoothly again, with no lube and using very little effort. No metal was removed fixing all this, thankfully - just a small chip from the first thread after I folded it back up to where it was supposed to be. I can deal with a small flake being gone after all that happened to this valve. Whew!

Now, what the underlying issue was when I was working on it the other day (before buffing the torch marks and crap off) was that one of the two legs was slightly crooked, like after a 2.5" run it was one mm off from being straight. I have a reason for needing this to be as straight as I can get it. So I tried to take it off or at least move it. Heat and press. No problem.

Well, this lead-free solder from Ferree's sucks gonads, and something with being outdoors caused it to "crystalize" so that it would not flow. I think too much heat does this. But, due to the high winds I had to use a long flame, so all the work I did that day had lots of torch pink. Frustrating does not even begin to describe working a torch in the wind. I have had to weld like this, too. You cannot use MIG, you *must* use flux-core if you cannot TIG. Well, I do not have any alternatives with an air/acetylene torch. So I did what I had to. However, I had numerous parts stick together and not be willing to come apart for me. Most were being used like plugs soldered into the end of a stuck slide; I used scrap tubing to pull off tight ferrules from slide legs or crooks so that I could change direction on this valve section mid-stream. I was taking apart stuff, cleaning it up, and moving it to new parts or locations. And several times I had things simply "weld" themselves together. Again, very frustrating.

The MTS leg on the rotor was in need of straightening because my genius-level homemade alignment jig failed to work. It was still stuck up to about 5:00 this evening.

Tonight I got the MTS outer tube *very* straight on the rotor casing and with the short tube to the 6th branch. You don't know how happy I was when I finally got that solder to flow and was able to tap things flat. I did a little dance after that one. Okay, that is a lie. I went inside and drank some lime-flavored bubble water and sat on the couch for a half an hour.

So the tubes have been corrected, the rotor action has been corrected to being better than when I started, and I plan on working out the final woobies tomorrow. I have made the ferrules and inner/outer slide legs for my 5th circuit. I have buffed off the St. Pete nickel plating from one of the two crooks and two of the four 90º bends, so I am halfway through that onerous task.

I need to measure my old 5th circuit and transfer that to my new parts to see how long everything needs to be. I am not sure when I will get to that; probably right after I have the piston set braced up to the bugle.

Tomorrow I remake the MTS with new inner legs. Then I can assemble the MTS, rotary valve and 6th branch and put a removable brace between the 2nd slide and the 6th branch. Once I am to that point I can hook up the old leadpipe and use that to set the angle of the 5th branch. Once that is determined I can solder 5th and 6th branches to the bugle and clean up the joints. Then the valve set goes on. Woot! I am getting close, man!

Here is the third iteration of my 5th valve section: 3rd rotary valve unit, third set of tubing, third pair of ferrules, yada, yada, yada. The long, curved parts will be trimmed once I know how long they need to be. It's math time, kids!

Sometimes I feel like I will never finish this tuba, instead spinning out the rest of my days working on the stupid 5th valve section.




Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:47 am
by roughrider
Just beautiful work. You are a true craftsman.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:03 am
by The Big Ben
Keep chipping away at it. It's looking good and you are going to be so glad when you have completed it so it is like you want it. Soooooon, sooooon...

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:49 am
by roughrider

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:08 pm
by the elephant
What follows it a long, whiny hand-wringing session. You have been warned. HAHAHA!!!


I sort of painted myself into a corner in regards to the inner slide tube materials. I had initially purchased what I believed to be enough inner and outer nickel silver to do the whole of 1st — 4th. I kept reading how NS/NS slides can bind up terribly if the lube is allowed to dry out. I remember many horns with NS inner/outer slides having requests for pulling stuck slides. A few here advised me to used NS outer/YB inner to get a smoother pull. I thought about that and ended up buying an amount of YB inner tubing equal to the NS inner tubing I already had.

Okay, so initially I cut all the outer legs I needed. Then I started with NS inners and had a lot of trouble getting them to loosen up inside the outers. They came to me rather out of round and not all that straight. (I was sort of pissed about that since they cost a LOT.) That was when I decided to go with the YB inner legs. And when the tubing shipment arrived I set to work hacking up a set of what I needed in YB. I made all my ferrules and outers from the NS and had a set of inners in YB all completed when I discovered that of all that mildly bent or ovalized NS inner stock I had one half meter length of inner and outer NS that fit *perfectly* and I had NO YB that fit perfectly with anything, but it was better than the NS, generally. So I decided that I move the 1st slide many dozens of times each time I play this tuba. I move none of the other slides much at all, if ever. This one slide needs to be able to stand up to many years of wear as a bearing surface, and it needs to be stiff as all get out. I had had issues with the YB Allied tube stock being very soft and that some long tubes were already bending after only three years of very gentle physical use. This was one of the reasons I decided to move to NS.

So I made 1st using NS/NS. Then I added the lower 1st slide and I used NS inners on that, too. I had planned on using the last bits of the super straight NS used for 1st to do 2nd because it was such excellent fitting tubing and much of the other stuff was so junky. Did I comment on just how pissed off I was about that? Perhaps I did. ;-)

That left me the two 3rd slides and the 2 or 3 4th slides. I used YB for the inners of these. I had enough that fit the NS outers decently enough that with lapping they would be acceptable to me.

Then I started setting up my MTS and it ended up being NS/NS on both sides, and then I ended up with NS/NS legs on my 5th slide. Even the shortie from 5th valve to the 6th branch ended up being NS/NS.

So that gave me five NS/NS slides and four NS/YB slides.

Examining all that today, it hit me just how stupid this would look. I realized what I had done and that I needed to fix it. I realized that today would be that day. Of the four that used YB inners two were fully built and one was half built. The last one was still seven parts in a ziplock baggie. Okay, I can do this pretty quickly.


The same damned thing happening with the parts sticking together due to the tin/silver solder I am using happened again. Every ferrule became stuck onto every YB leg. They came off the crooks just fine, but I had to partially destroy every, single inner leg to save the ferrule. I measured off an amount that seemed usable, leaving about a quarter inch stub at the ferrule. I used tin snips to cut the YB up to the ferrule, then I peeled the YB out. This caused a small bit of deformation to each ferrule, which I fixed, but this took a LOT of time. [I am just about out of NS outer tubing right now and cannot afford more, plus it would take forever to get it, if they have any in stock.]

So after all that, I got my upper and lower 3rd slides rebuilt and aligned very well. All the tubing needed for the MTS, and two of the 4th slides is cut and ready to go on; I just ran out of time today.

However, during all this I noticed that <sigh> I had CHANGED 2nd over to NS/YB because of some stupid reason like I wanted YB everywhere but in 1st.

Dang it!

So Saturday I will assemble the two 4th slides and the MTS and I will tear apart 2nd for like the sixth time. (It has had many alignment issues that I finally fixed by going back to the old crook. The new one was a millimeter off, and no mater how hard I tried I could not make it fit with the knuckles on the valve casing.)

That discovery was pretty depressing. But I am over that now because I am remembering just how nicely the two 3rd slides work. And the spacers are really well fit.

I also have figured out my first attempt for a 4th routing that might work right out of the box. I have so much more to do. It will not be ready for Mahler 1, which starts for me on Sunday evening. I will try, but I don't think the weather will cooperate; tomorrow is a complete wash in that regard.

I will get to use this horn on our Spring runouts that we do every year, so I will get like four or five performances and at least one rehearsal before the season ends. But I *really* wanted to play this horn IN THE HALL before we broke for the summer...

Pics of stuff done today will be posted after I finish up on Saturday night.

I am happy that I finally faced my dilemma with the two different inner slide materials and fixed things up. But it added a full day to having this horn ready for work. Sheesh...

I am going to bed. I am shot. Sorry for griping. I really needed to vent. At least I did not fire my rotary valve across the driveway this time. There is that. Nothing was damaged. I just had to re-do a lot of work I thought had been finished before Christmas.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:49 pm
by the elephant
This project may wrap up this weekend, if I am *very* lucky. Here is where I am right now, with a *proposed* schedule to get this tuba finished.

Friday (6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday (9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.)

• Remove 2nd slide legs and ferrules and clean up.
• Trim two NS 2nd slide inner legs to fit.
• Assemble and align 2nd, 4U, 4L and MTS
• Install short brace from 6th branch to 2nd slide.
• Expand small ends of 5th and 6th branches for better fit.
• Install 5th branch using pistons, 6th, leadpipe as guide.
• Install piston set using leadpipe.

Saturday (probably 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. having supper at my bench while working)

• Install 4U inside/outer tube and dogleg to valves.
• Lay out inner 4th.
• Bend large crook to go around top of piston valves.
• Measure two sections and subtract from total 4th length.
• Lay out outer 4L to complete circuit.
• Assemble 4th permanently to piston set.
• Add detachable braces from 4th to bugle.
• Adjust or remove braces as needed once 4th is installed.
• Make leadpipe.
• Test horn; tweak as needed.
• Remove plating from 3 remaining St. Pete 5th parts.
• Fit ferrules and outer legs to 5th slide parts.
• Use stone and parallels to assemble 5th slide.
• Measure and lay out final 5th slide circuit and install.

Sunday (10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.)

• Complete 5th slide circuit if not finished Saturday night.
• Install 5th lever.
• Make adjustments to 5th linkage arm.
• Install new thumb ring.
• Perform any catchup work from previous two days.
• Test horn again. Tweak or clean up as needed.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:31 pm
by the elephant
Today was not a waste at all. I got in 5.5 hours, happily.

I am about to go out to supper with the wife, so here are some pics...

Today I assembled the MTS (yes, again) and the upper and lower 4th slides, along with a part of the upper 4th that runs from the 4th knuckle up to the slide itself. The non-moving crook for 5th has its ferules on and aligned very well so the inner legs fit in pretty much perfectly aligned. I will trim the legs and install them once I have 5th measured out and ready to assemble. And there are a few outer legs and such in the pic. Yesterday I tore apart both upper and lower 3rd slides and swapped in NS inner legs. Everything now looks really sweet!


I know the 5th valve looks just the same as the previous versions, but it uses different parts and it cut with more precision. Here it is with the MTS, which *also* looks suspiciously like the last version, but it is not.

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:35 pm
by roughrider
Great work Elephant! Keep it going!

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:43 pm
by the elephant
Okay, so last night at about 11:00 I decided to let this big concert pass and play it on the 2165. I am stressing over this so much that my already high BP is further elevated. (I had my diabetes testing appointment on Friday and my BP was up some, and my meds make it artificially high already, so I need to take it easy with the self-imposed stress like this fake deadline I set for myself. I did this same stuff right before the Shostakovich 10 concert. Once I allowed that one to evaporate my work on this improved and my life did, too.)

I got much of what I had wanted done on time, but I was grumpy as hell and my head hurt really badly for much of the latter half of the long day at my workbench. I discovered that when Tom Treece told me that Holton tended to overbend the top bows of these horns he did not mention that they seem to have done this on *all* the inner branches on some horns. Mine happens to be one of these. When assembled with each joint as straight as possible, the whole valve section tips over toward the leadpipe side about 30º so that the first slide crook is very close to the bell and the 4th lower slide sticks out at the bottom of the far side. It really looks comical.

And of course yours truly assembled the outer branches as one project and the inner branches as another. So yesterday, when I tried to hook them up nothing worked at all. Everything was off just enough that it would not work.

Further, as I worked to set up the inner branches from the piston set out to 3rd branch, I realized that no matter how well you can "imagineer" all your improvements, unless you think in CAD it will not fit like you imagine. I have introduced far too many changes at one time and have no fixed reference points for reassembly using these goofy parts I have. So last night I packed it in for the "Big Push" to have this ready by tonight. It was a stupid thing to put a self-imposed deadline on myself, but I wanted to get this dang horn FINISHED, and this week would be a great time because I could turn around and test it right away.


So now I am calling this the mock-up stage. I won't sweat it when I have to take something apart and move it around or cut and fit a new brace, even if that brace is a fiddly bag of five parts.

I will try to test this tuba (as a three-banger) with the old leadpipe sometime this week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday, just to see how the heavily re-worked bugle plays against a tuner and drone pitches and to see if the projection feels more even. (I did a lot of work to the inner branches where Mr. Rusk applied his structural abominations; he had the measurements right, but the work was terrible.)

So I have high hopes that this horn will be a real player (or at least unharmed) acoustically, and my work on the essentially new valve section has also improved on some flaws.

But it still has a long way to go, unfortunately.

Lastly, the old bell damage snapped back into being as soon as I started banging on rim to flatten it. I hope the sanding did not make this worse. I am sure it did not, as I removed *very* little metal. But I did not want to do it in the first place, so I will always assume that this is what caused this. I know it was due to "metal memory" and faulty repairs in the past. But I prefer to beat myself up over stuff like this, heh, heh...

The valves are planar with the horn, but not parallel. The whole set is slightly off, but that will be fixed soon enough. Overall I am pleased to see the old boat back together, even if only partially.

Of note, at least to me: My package from Ferree's arrived and I HAPPILY switched over to my new roll of 60/40 solder. The much-hated lead-free junk now lives in the cabinet above my laundry room sink, where all such stuff goes to die. I got a lot of other goodies, but this one made my DAY, man. It was like all my soldering skills that had seemed to disappear on me came back. I am *much* happier with this stuff on the bench.

Looks pretty good, but looks can be deceiving...

Here is the bell damage. It is very easy to get this out, but it was disappointing to see, none the less. However, my taco-ed bell is much more flat and stable now...

Here are some other views while up on my work table...



Here is an example of how these are all slightly over-bent along with the top bow being *very* over bent. By itself, this photo looks pretty good, but with the lines drawn in you can see how, after installing two more branches that this would see the valves on the horn at a wonky angle. The angle is actually much worse that this. I did not notice it because I was looking at my pretty pictures and not the tuba itself, and the angle of the camera hid a lot of this. If I rotated the bottom of the horn (as in this photo) toward the camera the angle would increase easily by another 10º canted off from the CL of the bell. Not good. I will see what I can do about this in coming weeks.

And here is the last photo I took prior to my realization that all this was simply "practice" and not leading toward my having a playing horn any time soon. And it was seemingly going soooooo well up to that point, heh, heh...

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:11 pm
by roughrider
First of all, congratulations on what you have achieved over the course of the last nine months as well as removing your self imposed deadline. The tuba will be finished to your satisfaction and you should be very proud of what you have accomplished. This thread with photos has provided so much learning for those such as myself who have absolutely no skills whatsoever in this area and therefore would never be able to take on such a gargantuan project. Your standards are very high and you are unwilling to compromise them. Bravo for that and bravo as well for knowing that this will come together to your satisfaction with hopefully much less stress for you. Well Done, Elephant!

Re: Holton 345 Redux

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:53 am
by the elephant
Thanks, roughrider! That is greatly appreciated.

I just had one of those Eureka! moments. All the head scratching just paid off. I needed to actually see the horn assembled (correctly, incorrectly, whatever - a full mock-up) to figure out my last details and take some measurements. My issue was that I had introduced far too many variables for me to "visualize" things clearly.

I popped awake at 4:00 this morning and have been sitting in my office with a ruler and several parts looking at the horn. I now have 100% of a plan for my 4th and 5th slides and how to lay out the horn better without adding any length for the leadpipe. It is all set, now. I am totally fired up. Of course, now it is 5:15 a.m. and I am eating breakfast when I only got three hours of sleep.

I have to teach out of town late this morning and won't be home until about 3:00, and then I have to leave again at 5:30 to get to rehearsal on time. I don't leave until 11:15 to teach, so after my breakfast it is back to bed. However, I am so excited that I likely won't sleep. I have to start getting ready for work at 10:30, so maybe I can get in a couple of hours of nap time.


I am very excited now.

I took several photos of key areas the other night and was studying them at rehearsal last night. The ideas popped into my head fully formed, so I guess I have been working this out subconsciously. Anyway, at 4:00 the mental timer dinged and I woke up ready to fix everything.

How weird. But frequently this is how it goes for me with mechanical problems I have to sort out.

More later. I have a long day.

I just wanted to pass on that my depression over all this from the other day was completely gone.

Take a deep breath, Wade. It will all be okay soon enough. Thankfully.