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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Doc » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:13 am

the elephant wrote:
I may keep the Jinbao or I might sell it. The two are *not* the same beast, and despite the Jinbao's resemblance to the 186 it is like having a completely different 4/4 CC. Even the wife agrees with this. So I will probably keep the Chinese tuba, too, since the resale value of the 410 is not very high.


Is it particularly mouthpiece sensitive? What have you found to work the best?


And now the thought of the day: Imagine if the Star Wars and Star Trek universes were joined and the Gungan (Jar Jar Binks' species) had been assimilated by the Borg. "Wesa da Borg. Gimme yous skeebeetle. Wesa gonna assimilate all-n yous peoples. Resistance isa nutsen."


This is the best thing I've seen all week! :mrgreen:
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby hrender » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:46 am

the elephant wrote:This is Jason Maxwell's Yamaha...


Sweet! I'd like to strip my King to get it like this. Whoever had it before me lacquered over the nickel silver bits (!?!?), but I'm leery of trashing it, so for now I'm living with leprous lacquer.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:58 pm

Okay, so I have been working mostly on two other projects and have not had time for the Hilton for awhile, now. I had been putting off the next step because it was to tear down some stuff I was unhappy with, and the fit was very tight, so disassembly with a torch would be a major hassle for me. And yes, I had to bash up the end of my bottom bow, which literally made me sick to my stomach, and the large ferrule was slightly damaged, and I burned myself in four places.

However, that horrible task is done. I can now move forward once more. (One of my project horns is currently involving me getting my Z60 dent machine chops back up to snuff. Things are going very well in that regard. However, to really do a fine job on the Holton's bottom bow I need to purchase two attachments. So I will get to the bottom bow when I get those. Ugh… it's always about money…

Anyway, I am a nut for details, and I know what I like and want, and getting that all the time is not easy. Being really picky means spending more money on parts and supplies and eating up more of my time. What can I say? I am slow. I do not do this for a living any more - haven't in more than a decade, actually. But I am careful and usually pretty meticulous; after all this crap I want to be happy with what I did. I do not want to sit there on a gig, staring at my horn during a tacet, and thinking, "You know, I really wish I had done a better job on [insert ridiculously minute detail] when I had this thing torn apart." That sort of thing makes me sick over many years and many tacet sheets.

So one of my ideas with making the valve section removable is to be able to make a tool kit so that, in an emergency, I have everything I need to fully remove the valve section at a job site. I have had emergencies crop up on the road, 200 miles from home, that with a few simple tools could be fixed in a matter of an hour or less. So I want to carry this tiny tool kit in my bag with my supplies and such.

I have to use some Yamaha sousaphone braces on this tuba, because they offer the smallest space between two tubes of the braces I can get commercially. Yes, I can make these from scratch - it is easy to do - but I do not have the needed nickel silver bars and sheets to make me happy. I *will* probably make my own on future projects, but for now I am using stuff I can buy. And this means I have braces from Getzen, Conn-Selmer and Yamaha. All these come apart using different tools, and this bugs me to distraction. So I altered the little Yamaha braces to use the same hex key as the King braces. I know, that was a waste of time and money, but IT MAKES ME SMILE and not much does that these days. :-)

So the Yamaha braces use a Japanese shaped Phillips head on a M3x.05 @ 6mm. I want socket-headed cap screws, so I bought some at the hardware store down the way. They are much better quality than the crap in the bins at Home Depot, by the way, and ONE FOURTH THE COST. I picked up 18 of these guys for the cost of four of them at HD.

You get what you pay for, except when you don't.

These fit the braces perfectly but were black oxide (read: Chinese black paint) and they used an M3 hex key. This need to carry another damned tool in my bag that could get lost irked me for a couple of days. I visited McMaster-Carr and found exactly what I wanted in a very high grade of stainless steel (think mouthpieces, surgical instruments, etc.) that won't allow the threads to strip out, the head to snap off or electrolysis to be much of an issue with the brass parts. The SS is of a higher quality than that used by Yamaha. PLUS - Yamaha Philips screws tend to deform so that the driver no longer fits if the factory guys installed them too tightly, which they do on some horns. (Or they used to back in the day. The screws in the braces of my 1983 YBB-641 gave up the ghost after three or four removal/installation rounds. I could never get them out again, eventually.) Part of the reason for this is the Japanese use a different shaped Philips head screwdriver. This is an issue today with electronics, but also with some cars. It just means that the drivers we use won't fit exactly right, and they slip out. The screws used by Yamaha are of a lower grade SS that is about a Grade 2 in hardness. (Normal for the automotive world is Grade 5, with Grade 8 being what gets used for off-road crawlers and such.) You can pretty easily crush a Grade 2 fastener with a 2 lb sledge. Anyway, the bolts I got from M-C are super hard and corrosion resistant (mil spec stuff that will suit my purposes quite nicely). I bought FIFTY of them for the same price as the 18 from the hardware store and the four from Home Depot. These are really nicely made, quality bolts, and they cost just about NOTHING in comparison to the Big Box.

So, to get the 3/32" hex key to work I had only three sizes to choose from, two of which were too small. So I ended up getting 5-44x.25" and a very nice tap (better than Irwin/Hanson) for dirt. The only issue was the shipping. I wish those guys would just take tiny orders like this and put them in a padded envelope and ship them USPS-slow-as-heck stuff to save money. I *hate* it when the shipping costs more than the purchase. So my bargain ended up being about the same as my driving to Home Depot - no savings at all. BUT - I have *exactly* what I want now.

Tonight I re-tapped the Yamaha brace bases and assembled these beauties. These are not strong braces as all the weight is on a post about 3mm thick and it is frequently in shear, so I am using five of them in one small area so that much of the brunt of carrying this tuba around is spread around lots of braces. I had planned on using the same six it had before; comparing the weakest parts of each brace I decided to use no fewer than ten to hold the valves to the bugle.

Here are my new beauties after surgery…

These are an original Yamaha brace kit and one with the same-fit, plain steel "black oxide coated" (yeah, right) Chinese socket headed cap screw from Home Depot.
Image

Here are the slightly larger (with with a slightly smaller hex key size that matches what I am already using) sooper-dooper bolts from McMaster-Carr. Of note: The Yamaha unthreaded half has holes that are too large and allow for a LOT of slop, which I don't want on my personal horn. These new bolts fit the unthreaded part very well, with nearly no noticeable horizontal play.
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Image

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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby The Big Ben » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:56 am

Nice stuff. I have Japanese motorcycles and know all about the mutant Phillips head screws. SOP on Japanese bikes is to replace all of the fasteners with SS hex head fasteners.

Hilton the Holton will be pretty nifty when it's done.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:46 am

Yes, on one of my vehicles SOP is the same: either purchase replacement hardware or purchase Japanese tools. I have the tools. I just do not want to have to pack them around. I mean, a single hex key is a lot better than a hex key and a screwdriver, space-wise, in some of today's gig bags that feature micro-useless storage space…
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Doc » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:02 pm

What’s the latest? Any pics/video of the completed project? How did the braces work out?
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:02 pm

+1
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:09 am

No. Nothing.

I had bungled something on the Holton and in disgust (and prudence) I put it away until I could start retraining myself on my Z60 dent machine. I had not needed to use it in like ten years so I was afraid to even try it on my precious Holton.

I got my super cool 1971 186 CC and found that I had need of some Z60 work on it, as well.

Tabor saved me by selling me a 1971 186 BBb for parts, and I have been working on the Z60 with it as my sacrificial metal.

Things were going along quite well and I was very happy, and then Christmas season reared it ugly, dollar-studded head and I had to stop. Then January and February were busier than I can remember for the MSO and the freelance scene. Whatever, give my my money! ;-)

All through March I have been very ill and hardly got out of bed, except to work.

Things are back on an even keel again and my work schedule is letting up. I have like 13 more MSO performances or rehearsals and freelance gigs left for this season and then I have almost three months to get to work.

The 186 project has blossomed into my trying to salvage the BBb parts horn by learning to silver solder all the holes and cracks rather than making patches — in addition to completely revamping the CC 186. Instead to stealing parts from the BBb to benefit the CC I am now using only new parts on the CC. All the old ones will be restored as possible and put onto the BBb when I cut it to CC. For fun. Because I can. Because I want to. Because it had been consigned to the scrap heap and I think I can turn it into a good practice tuba. Just because.

I have been slowly gathering new parts. (Painfully so, to be honest, but this stuff costs a lot of money when a customer is not there to pay you when finished.) I have just about all I need for this stage. I will be getting more stuff later, but I can do some mighty satisfying work with what I now have in boxes in the shop.

I have been out of acetylene for months, but I keep putting off picking up a new tank because I cannot do any work until the 18th. So on the 18th I will try to get back in the saddle.

Once the CC 186 is done I can move on to some of the weird science-y stuff I have in mind for the BBb.

And I can start to work out the blunder I perpetrated to my Holton's bottom bow. Once that has been fixed I have to remeasure everything because I think it will play pretty flat if I continue on this path. I need to reconsider some things — specifically how I plan to reassemble the horn. I am doing it wrong and I can see that now. If I was not reimagining so much at once I could just "paste" the valve section (with which I am supremely pleased) onto the bugle and make a new leadpipe. But I screwed with internal Bob Rusk sins that changed the taper. Tom Treece assures me that what I did will only improve the horn, but I have no way of telling whether I butchered a serviceable tuba in an attempt to make it structurally solid.

In the process of doing all this I redesigned the 5th valve completely based on a wider MTS crook. Now the horn is longer. There are *very* few places left from which to trim length. So I am stressing over this tuba to the point of pretending it is not there whenever I have to step over or around it. It is effectively invisible for me at this time.

Once I am past the CC Mirafone I will look at my baby again. Until that time I am pretending that it does not exist, heh, heh...
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:26 pm

Thank you for the update. We look forward to further pictures and text when you are ready to post!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:08 pm

More than a YEAR ago the elephant wrote:In the process of doing all this I redesigned the 5th valve completely based on a wider MTS crook. Now the horn is longer. There are *very* few places left from which to trim length.


Okay, so I am back to work on the Holton.

I think I have sorted the issue of the horn being flat. I did not want to cut anything, anywhere, at all, ever. There is next to nothing left to trim away; Mr. Rusk really did a number on the branches of the bugle in this regard. The variables that were giving me headaches were leadpipe length and MTS crook radius. Everything else more or less added up to being the same as before.

I moved to the wider B&S MTS crook. It was elegantly bent with a taper rate that measured out to match that of the bugle very well.

The one the horn came with tapers way too fast.

The one I installed is much better. That was the one from the 1930s York sousaphone valve section. That York crook was very well made, with a nice, even taper that also matched the bugle taper pretty well. It was a little fast, but was never a problem for me for the many years I used it.

Then I found this wide B&S MTS and decided that it was what make my happiest. It gave me enough room to finally install my 5th valve oriented to put the slide circuit where I wanted it. I was stoked. I bought parts for that size rotor (.827") that would allow me to make an entirely new 5th valve circuit.

Then I ran short of the nickel silver outer tubing I had, and would have to use some seriously inferior stuff. Then I found more of the correct internal dimension, but it was just a tad thinner, so the inner/outer tubes were not compatible with the other tubes in that circuit. And some of the stuff was brass inner/outer while some was nickel silver inner/outer. Nothing matched in size or metal type. I had spent a ton of money and time doing this and in the end I would have a section of the horn that looked "homemade".

Plus, I figured out the blunder I had made, mathematically. I had allowed my design to be about two inches longer than "in tune" with the slide all the way in at 68º F (standard temperature in an orchestra contract). I like to play with the slide out about an inch. That means I had to find a way to ditch four inches from the bugle in some way.

I figured it out and have some new parts on the way that will fix all my 5th valve woes and allow me to easily remove three of the four inches needed. The last one I have covered, now. Once I get the parts I will then be able to put the horn back together.

Also, I have improved many things since I started this horn. I have better tools and supplies that make aligning slides much more accurate and easier to do. I have much better tools for cleaning up joints if I happen to make a mess. I have regained much of my lost skill over time as I do more work.

So once I get going I will also be re-doing a lot of stuff a bit at a time. The net result will be a much improved Holton 345. It was good in many ways when I got it, but there were aspects of its behavior that were very frustrating and that took a lot of extra time to work out. I am far enough along in my career (this season will be 28 years with the MSO) that I want one of Rick Denney's fabled "old man tubas". I am hoping these changes will correct some of the weirdness introduced by Mr. Rusk when he cut this horn. I was told that it had been an excellent BBb but that it was one of his cut jobs that turned out to be only "meh" due to a number of things. Hopefully it will once again be "very good" one day soon.

Anyway, if you used to follow this thread it has come back to life.

Again. :tuba:
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:19 pm

A Lot of Blah-Blah About Braces

I am reviewing all the many detachable braces I have gathered for this horn's valve section.

This tuba is so freaking heavy that I decided the Edwards trombone braces I used on my (also very heavy) Kurath F tuba would be too wimpy. I can feel these flex a bit on the Kurath, and I only have two of them. (The other five braces detachable braces are short and stout.) On the Holton I can imagine the six main braces bending fairly quickly if I used that same rod stock. What I want is beefier hardware with heavier posts for these braces.

The guys at Getzen sent me to their supplier for braces, which is a company called Instrument Innovations.

Their small detachable brace joint is nearly the same design as the ones used for Edwards trombones, but it uses a thinner rod, which I *really* want to avoid doing. (Edwards rod = .218" — I.I. rod = .187") The threaded male part does not normally come with a foot; you have relieve the bottom face to fit the curvature of the foot you decide to use, and then silver solder the two parts together.

The Edwards parts are a little less expensively made, but they use a heavier rod. The also come with a male threaded post with a foot already on it, a length of rod, and the brace foot for the other end. It is a very nice and complete package, but it isn't cheap.

The large I.I. brace is more appropriate for tubas. The three parts are much beefier and use .250" rod stock. These look less likely to bend than most long tuba braces on heavy horns, especially with the threaded post being so thick. If this is silver soldered to a large, nickel silver foot it would take be pretty hard to screw it up.

The Edwards design is a rod with a very short bit of tubing soldered to the end to capture the lock nut to the rod. These lie flush to the threaded male post and the lock nut screws down around these, clamping them together. The I.I. small kit uses a neat, little cap that you solder to the end of the rod. Otherwise, it is the same except for a thinner rod. (Pics below.)

The large brace has a machined plug that fits over the rod and that fits into a socket on the threaded part, making it much more resistant to shear if you pick up the horn by the valve section.

I will be using these larger braces for the six main braces that connect the valves to the bugle.

Here are some pics of these braces. I have a list of the Allied King brace feet and the correct OD rod stock that fit these braces. If anyone wants this information just PM me for it.

All the Instrument Innovations detachable braces come with three parts (male threaded post, female lock nut, rod retainer) and can be ordered with a flat bottom or relieved to fit a trombone-sized tube. I ordered the flat bottoms but ended up with a few of the relieved ones and just one of the flat ones. I think you need to be very specific about what you order and ask that they check because of this. (I suspect these look a LOT alike when in their little baggies and that they are actually mixed up in the bins. Whatever.)
Image

These are the three parts of the large kit. That socketed plug is a nice improvement over the retainers used on the smaller kits.
Image

Here are the two I.I. braces next to one another for size comparison. The large one is definitely healthier looking for a big tuba. Note that the small brace retainer disc simply butts up against the threaded part. The large one is socketed, which I prefer.
Image

These are two of the King 2341 brace feet that fit the .25" rod used by the large brace. For the threaded post I can order the same feet bent to the radius I want (and center drilled to help location of the socket) from Voigt in Germany. I can even get them in nickel silver if I like. Very nice.
Image

This shows two of the Edwards kits (one assembled, one exploded) and the slightly smaller I.I. small brace. I prefer the I.I. retainer disc over the Edwards bit of tubing. It has a wider lip so it will lock down more securely, I think. Edwards rod is .218" OD and the I.I. rod is .187" OD.
Image

Here is an Edwards stock photo. The red circles were used in an email to Getzen to inquire on the price of these braces. The Edwards version of the large I.I. brace is in the center of the three brace cluster on the right side. It will work better on my Holton BAT, I think.
Image

This is one of the two Edwards braces on my Kurath. It works but feels a bit bendy. Detachable braces need to be more stout that conventional ones because they are separate parts that are locked together, and therefore they are weaker.
Image

Here is the other one, MTS-to-bugle…
Image

The Edwards brace and the I.I. small brace are not socketed, as I said before. The end of the rod just butts up against the threaded post. This can bend more easily than the socketed design of the large brace.
Image
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:53 pm

So glad to hear that you are once again on your way with the Holton! Please keep posting the text and pictures as you rumble toward the finish line! :tuba:
1930 King "Symphony" Recording Bass BBb
1916 Holton "Mammoth" Upright Bass BBb
1994 King 2341 Upright Bass BBb
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Stofer-Geib mouthpieces
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