Holton 345 Redux Bookmark and Share

Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby KiltieTuba » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:16 pm

Tubajug wrote:What valve would you use instead and why? I'm considering adding a fourth valve for a project I've got in mind.


Wouldn't first valve be the next best option for the various knuckle clearances?
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:04 pm

Yes. On this set (as with many) 1 and 3 are the same valve, so 4th frequently ends up being another 1st that has been rotated 180º so it will link up with 3rd.

I chose to use the 2nd valve from my donor set for the wrong reasons; if I end up using it I will have a great piston set that will happen to have both 4th slide ports on the same side of the casing — just like having another 2nd valve, but with a really long slide circuit. There is no problem with that, per se, but it leaves you with a lot more slide tubing to cram into the space on one side of the piston set. Normally (like 1 and 3) you have an entry and exit port on either side. For 4th this is especially important because you can eat up a lot of 4th circuit length simply routing your slide tube back around to the other side. This makes things easier, design-wise, and it helps make 4th have a more open wrap.

With both ports being right next to one another I will either have a whole lot of tubing on the outside of the piston set or I will have an extra loop in there to get the slide on the other side and then back around to the same side. This *could* work out better in the end, but will be much more complex because this all has to fit within the outer branches and still not end up looking weird or causing balance issues. So I might go back to installing a 1st (flipped around) to 3rd.

Here are some pics of my 1931 York piston set with a 2nd temporarily grafted onto it. I also did what I *thought* was a pretty slick fix to all the knuckles for direction and all that, but now I am convinced this has to be completely redone, too.

(NOTE: This piston set is only tacked together via a custom cut sleeve to hold 4th in place. No connecting posts have been installed and the overall shape of the sleeve is still ugly. Once I have the shape finalized I will make a new one that is more neat. I have my posts and the end mill to counter sink them into the casings. It is all ready to go. It is that *I* am not ready to go. Decisions, decisions...)

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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby YORK-aholic » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:33 am

Those were all York sousaphone valves/casings right? They are a fair amount taller than the front action valve clusters right? If possible, could you measure one of the York casings for me (top of the top threads to the bottom of the bottom threads if that makes sense)? No rush, just when you have a chance.

Your rebuild threads are really some of my favorite threads ever!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:11 am

YORK-aholic wrote:Those were all York sousaphone valves/casings right? They are a fair amount taller than the front action valve clusters right? If possible, could you measure one of the York casings for me (top of the top threads to the bottom of the bottom threads if that makes sense)? No rush, just when you have a chance.

Your rebuild threads are really some of my favorite threads ever!


I have never seen the concert horn valves in this size, only sousaphone. I was not aware they were in a different length. Why would they do that? What a waste of materials if the valves are needlessly long. Weird. But yes, these are some big, honking valves, both in diameter and in length.

I will try to remember to measure mine for you sometime today or tomorrow.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby YORK-aholic » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:31 pm

I'll post the same from my York 702. The 700 (top action) are really long in comparison to mine. Just wondering where the sousaphone valves fit in the grand scheme of life.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:19 pm

No measurements of the York piston casing length, today. I simply forgot. I am sorry, man...

Now for a mini-update:

The $100-for-20" telescoping nickel silver slide tube sets I purchased not only would not fully telescope, they would not even go together more than a half an inch, and great force was needed to go this far. Obviously the .002" gap is not good enough if the tubing sets are slightly bent...

Allied Supply, you're slipping up, guys. This was unacceptable.

I had to spend six hours today hand-fitting and hand-lapping THREE of these sets. THREE!!!!!!! I have two more to go, but they are on backorder because Allied is not keeping up with their restocking, apparently. (I suspect all my tubing was less than straight, had crunched tips and was pinched in the cross section in spots because they were the last ones in the bin and probably very old and quite banged up. My brass tubing all was fine, but that is all US-made. The nickel silver in the largest sizes are completely different than the stuff Allied makes/sells/whatever and is likely European - hence the huge price difference per tube.)

My hands and wrists are shot. I am tuckered out. And I am very disappointed in Allied, which has always come through for me with perfect products and service. These were all slightly bent and ovalized, so it was HELL getting the inner to go into the outer more than a half an inch at a time, and frequently they would bind up so much that both mrs. elephant and I would have to pull to get them apart.

That is NOT how matched slide tube sets are supposed to come out of the box, guys. That is over-priced garbage.

At least they now work pretty well.

In other news, the Proxxon mini miter saw worked great! I got nice, straight, flat cuts in about 15 to 20 seconds, going slowly enough to prevent the fiberglass cutting wheel from flexing. Using my primitive home method, in the past these usually took me about 15 to 20 minutes each. I did 24 chops in about a half an hour. Using my old system that would have taken me about six hours! What a time saver!!!

So, mixed report. More later on my Holton 345 project.

Goodnight!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby bloke » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:27 pm

Your tubes may well be bent.
I've received enough dented/bent items and tubes from that concern to not doubt it.
That having been said, the telescoping (.5mm increments) tubing from Deutschland usually requires some sanding and buffing. As you know, it's all made with draw rings, and the target dimension is more the inside than the outside.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby YORK-aholic » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Measuring the valve casing length (including threads, not including top/bottom caps):

York 702 (3 front action valves, humps in 2 of the 3 cross ports): 4.948"
York 700 (3 top action valves, no humps in any cross ports): 5.667"
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:50 pm

Yeah, Joe, I had to do a lot of hand sanding with 400 grit wet/dry until it was *close* and then went with 600 grit. When I got it where it would go in most of the way I would switch over to 900 grit lapping compound. With a *lot* of effort I got where (once thoroughly cleaned out) the tubes more or less work well. I will mark each loose section and each tight section to try and cut matched pairs that work with more or less the same effort, but looser on top slides and more snug on lower ones.

Thanks for the information. I thought I was being too anal and fussy and whiny, but if this is the norm (or at least common) then I will just cope. My first four batches of tubing were so well drawn and fit that the one pair (out of like two dozen or so such pairs) that had a serious catch was unusual. However this batch would not even go inside the outer tube at all. WAY TOO MUCH WORK!

Cheers!
_____________________________

Today the wife and I spent eight hours farting around doing detail work, but that sort of stuff pays off in spades when you go to assemble things.

The first two hours we spent mocking up various angles that this piston set could live at within the bugle. The 45º set that they were built for is ugly (for lack of a better word) and looks strangely out of place on one of these old Holtons. I have only a small (healthy and sane) amount of fear of cutting knuckles and making new ones that point where I need them to go. But that small amount made me burn these two hours. Option 1 was to leave them alone. My 6th branch is a bit too narrow for this. I am not willing to splice in a short straight patch; that is a No-Go. Option 2 would be to set the pistons so that 1-3 are vertical. This would look the best, but then you have that hated Yamaha 621 series pinky location that causes a player to have to bend the wrist too far toward the pinky side in playing position and I have minor CTS from that. No way. Option 3 would be to make the set vertical through the centers of 1 and 4 so that 2 and 3 angle out a bit. Best option. Lots of work to make the tubes needed to make my knuckles work, but it could be done so that only two knuckles needed to be altered; the rest would work as is.

Then it hit me: my horn borders on flat with the slide all the way in. (It always has.) Rotating my piston section over would move 1st farther from the leadpipe end. I would have to make a leadpipe about three inches longer but only have about two inches in the MTS that can be removed, leaving my horn flat and uncorrectable as there is literally no place safe from which to remove the additional needed inch. I am not willing to go there, so trash that idea. The 45º setup is how Mr. Rusk measured out and cut this horn. It works well enough *and* is better, ergonomically. Maintaining this angle to the piston set will save me untold hours of work.

So ugly it shall be. Screw it; it's a freaking tuba.

Moving on...

I torched apart the 1st and 2nd slides to harvest the crooks. I pulled the ferrules, too, so that I could measure the inner legs. So I have marked and am ready to cut the inner and outer slide legs and ferrules for 1st and 2nd. I will cut that stuff tomorrow.

I spent hours using mild chemicals and sandpaper to remove a lot of my silver plate from the crooks. However, my MTS crook is from a 1931 York sousaphone and the plating is much thicker than modern stuff. I am striking out trying to remove it, so it may have to stay as is. The other three crooks were a bi-otch to do, and much of it remains, too, but it is coming off. Top 1st is nearly done. Bottom 1st and 2nd are going to need more aggressive work from me.

After all that was done I spent a couple more hours with my flute headjoint expander getting all my knuckles on the valve set opened up to the new size. (I am bumping the bore from 19 to 19.5 mm so I can use nickel silver tubing.) Everything on the piston set went really smoothly, but that damned tool tore up my hands. (I was stupid and decided to not put it in my bench vise. I'm a real tough guy. Yep. And now my tough guy hands hurt like hell...)

After that I did the three crooks I harvested today. These *really* needed to be annealed. I did not do this because I am a stupid man. I decided to slog through this torture with my girly man hands and my spindly arms and not set up the torch outside and take care of business. So I added at least an hour to my work by saving this ten minutes. How grossly inefficient of me. And my freaking hands are wasted, too. Sheesh...

However, I now have three crooks and a piston set with ports that perfectly fit my new tubing. The difference in bore will not affect anything, musically, and the nickel silver slide tubes will make me happy since the horn will eventually be lacquered and not plated. BLING!

I love my headjoint expander. That thing has so many uses! Just not flutes. I have a *good* one for flutes. (Hey, they are like $68. Not a big deal to have two.)

Tomorrow I hope to hear from my "buddies" at Allied that my backordered tubing is on the way. Then I can start to tear down my 3rd/4th cluster and measure and cut those parts.

I also spend a long time with the inner branches when we were fooling around with the piston set angle problem. I think I now know exactly how I will reassemble this stuff and factor in the altered space in the bugle due to my moving the top bow. I think my old leadpipe *might* work, but I am planning for it to need a bend at the bottom by 1st, so I will make a new one. the 1st, 2nd and 3rd loops will go back as they were. The partial valve section will eventually go back on the horn and a leadpipe will be made. Then I will design yet another 4th slide circuit. I think I have this down now, but you never know until you have a physical horn in front of you that you can look at, move around, test fit and measure.

I have a pretty trick solution to the 6th branch/5th rotor/MTS that will give me a MUCH better 5th slide and sort of correct some spacial things that did not go as well as I had hoped when I moved 5th from the leadpipe to just after the MTS (three years ago). I am excited about that. Hope it works!

Here are some pics. They are of how I did today's stuff, rather than of me doing it. You cannot see the difference in A/B shots of a half-millimeter increase in knuckle sizes, so that would be pretty lame.

This is a very short length of the outer slide tubing, about the length of a ferrule, with a slightly longer bit of the inner slide tubing. I used the smaller part to monitor the expansion of the ends of all my pre-existing parts to match the new slide tube set. I used the inner part to see if there was any exposed old tubing that might make a lip. In the end, everything fit everything else perfectly. Good tools are wonderful.
Image

This baby is about to be stretched .5mm and it has no idea how much it will enjoy this process...
Image

ISSUE: All of the knuckles now have a small ridge from the expander. This can easily be fixed, but it looks ugly right now. However, the ferrule and the inner tube bit mate up with the valve knuckle quite well.
Image

Here is the new inner bit next to the knuckle without the outer tube covering the joint. It is an exact match.
Image

The trusty-dusty flute headjoint expander tool. I love it.
Image

Fit the ferrule, run the tool in, expand, enjoy your new tuba! Okay, so it is a bit more involved than that. Each knuckle, to avoid splitting (and to avoid ripping off the skin on my hands) took about ten expansions. Each expansion took about two or three minutes to execute, remove the tool, inspect for cracks or tears, test fit the ferrule, then do again. There are ten ports on a four piston set, so with rests for my hands this took some time. Now that this has been done I can try to smooth out the entry and exit knuckles that were smushed sometime before I owned this tuba. I have knuckle tools for that, but it is never easy with tuba knuckles due to thickness. Fingers crossed on that one.
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Here are the three crooks I expanded. They sucked. I now hate them. Okay, as stated above, I can only blame my own dumb *** for not annealing them first. Moron! Dolt! Imbecile! Ahhhh, that feels better. Time for bed. Goodnight, folks!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby DouglasJB » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:29 am

Just curious, you mentioned having the pistons vertical wouldn't be an option with the horn being flat, woud something such as a shorter lead pipe much like one on a Nirschl? Twisting the horn slightly from its former playing position could provide a little space in the main tuning slide?
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby Tabor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:11 am

the elephant wrote:The 45º set that they were built for is ugly (for lack of a better word) and looks strangely out of place on one of these old Holtons.



But the really old front action huge Holtons, like that one on that recent Craigslist listing, and the front action big Yorks had the slanted valves!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby KiltieTuba » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:02 am

Main tuning slide in the leadpipe - like the old Conns and HB-2.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:20 am

DouglasJB wrote:Just curious, you mentioned having the pistons vertical wouldn't be an option with the horn being flat, woud something such as a shorter lead pipe much like one on a Nirschl? Twisting the horn slightly from its former playing position could provide a little space in the main tuning slide?


Not an option. The leadpipe is too short already. It hits .750" as it enters the 1st valve. And the ergonomics you describe would suck for me. I want my horn flat across my lap and not perpetually falling off it. It is top- and front-heavy, too.

Thanks, though.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:22 am

Tabor wrote:
the elephant wrote:The 45º set that they were built for is ugly (for lack of a better word) and looks strangely out of place on one of these old Holtons.



But the really old front action huge Holtons, like that one on that recent Craigslist listing, and the front action big Yorks had the slanted valves!


And they are ugly to me. They also have inner branches designed for that. Mine is designed to hold a nice set of vertical pistons. As I said, the 6th branch is too narrow for these valves unless I have them positioned in one place only. Other than that and they do not fit.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:33 am

KiltieTuba wrote:Main tuning slide in the leadpipe - like the old Conns and HB-2.


No freaking way! ;-)

Also, the physical space used by the current MTS would still have to be a loop in the horn, even if greatly shortened. There is not space (or length) available for this. And I absolutely hate messing with the leadpipe at all unless it can first reach the bore size, and that puts it right up against the 1st valve on this tuba. It was well laid out by Mr. Rusk, but chopping out 24"(±) leaves zero room for adjustments later on down the road. I am finding out it is what it is. No real alterations to the various part lengths can be made unless made up from some other part that has already had that removable bit removed. My lengths seem to be pre-set for me by Mr. Rusk. I have flexibility in how I lay stuff out, but lengths are pretty much in stone.

Ugh...

One of these days I will try to do this myself using all the tons of stuff I have learned. The problem is that when this wiggle room has been chopped out it is pretty damned hard to put back, which I guess is why these horns are frequently no-go horns and are "ruined" by the process. You get one chance.

Good idea, though.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:34 pm

Okay, I spent about four hours outside taking down old tubes, measuring them very carefully and then chopping up two of my three outer tube lengths. (One is in reserve for the long, outer 4th tube, which is the longest straight run of slide tube on a tuba like this, generally.

Since I cannot know in advance how much I will need for that slide (because I still don't really know how it will look and where it will need crooks and straight tubing, etc.) I am holding that entire 30" tube for later. The old tube is actually only 18" on my current 4th layout, but there is still a lot of other straight tube needed, so I have to be somewhat parsimonious in this one regard. These tubes are about $55 each and can take some time to get.

I spent my first hour measuring each old tube and then calculating the best layout of all the parts so that I had no wastage of the two tubes I planned on cutting up today. I did well. I netted all outer tubes for 1, 2 and 3 plus five ferrules. I wasted about a quarter inch from each tube. Not too shabby. (I have to cut the last three ferrules my old, manual way with the Dremel and painter's tape because the butt of tubing was too short for the miter saw's jaws to hold securely. I will do that tomorrow. I also learned to cut the ferrules first from long tubes — way faster and more accurate. Short stuff in this saw is a major PITA. Each part took some time to dress, check for flatness of both edge and angle, and correct, if needed. (This saw is so much better than how I did this in the past that I only had to correct two ends. Amazing.)

The Proxxon saw is a BITCH to line up for precision cuts. I needed the wife to hold a light and I had to squat down on the pavement so I could accurately get the blade to be spot on. Even with this I had two tubes come out .5mm too long. I will simply file off one of them. The other one can be installed so that this is not apparent.

Tomorrow I have a gig at some high falutin' country club with the quintet, so my work on this tuba will have to be in the morning, which I hate due to the mosquitos. Regardless, I will chop up the last three ferrules and then get to work measuring and cutting inner slide legs.

All this painstaking detail work is mind-numbingly slow and at the end of HOURS of work you have so little to show for it.

But it is going to be great. I am excited!

All this used to be two long tubes. It is so accurately cut and dressed that it is essentially a "Build Your Own Tuba" kit. Zero adjustments needed. Simply glue together and start playing!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:32 am

Well, I could not sleep, so I went out to the carport at like 4:45 a.m. to work. It was pouring rain, but the carport was nice and dry. I did not plan on doing anything noisy until after folks were up and leaving their houses.

I spent a stupid amount of time on stupid stuff, stupidly, like the stupid person I can be. That took two hours of droving the wrong cows to the wrong stockyard. Absolute waste of time.

Anyway, what I *did* do right was pretty nice. I disassembled three ancient 186 slides. (Much of my wasted time was spend dicking around with these parts.) From these I harvested three ferrules that can be trimmed to go with the ones I already have made. I also netted the three slide crooks. While these three slides were built on the same tooling they were all made at least a decade apart from oldest to newest. So the crooks are identical but are cut to different lengths. The shortest is closest to the crooks being replaced, luckily, so I need to trim the other two to match. Nice score from my spare parts bins...

Yesterday I cut all the outer slide tubing for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and some of the ferrules. Today I cut and lapped (preliminary, not final) all the inner parts for 1st and 2nd. I will finish the ferrules, trim the crooks and cut the inner 3rd tubes tomorrow or Thursday.

Progress, though slow and dogged, is happening.

Here is the set of tubes needed to build my 1st and 2nd slides, along with a spacer for the long side of 1st. Some were cut yesterday and some this morning.
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:00 pm

More rainy day piddling.

Our high falutin' quintet country club gig was cancelled due to all this Irma slop. (The rain is not bad at all, but is supposed to persist through tomorrow night and be much worse this evening, and so far they have been spot on with that part of our forecast. The winds, though, suck; I am very glad to have this outdoor party cancelled/moved/rescheduled/whatever. *I* don't want to sit out in this and play my horn for two hours. I am sure my colleagues are of the same mind.

So I went back outside to do some initial work to those Miraphone crooks. Two were cut by a German-speaking monkey and one was cut by a flawless robot. The more modern one was *perfect* but was too long for my needs. I trimmed it a bit. The two simian-made ones were cut so crooked as to be laughable. Those two were off a 186 BBb sold to a school in the early 1960s. (The good one came from a personally-owned 186 CC made in the early 1980s that had been destroyed in a car wreck in 1997. Most of my 186 rotors came from this same tuba. If you care, that is...)

Anyway, the other two were leveled as much as possible, but one is so freaking short as to be nearly unusable. I may use it as a bottom 4th slide to hide it. The other two will make nice top 3rd and 4th slide crooks. They already match the bore of the Miraphone tubing from Allied and there is no silver to have to scrub off.

So now I have some vintage parts that have lived in boxes for decades that will finally get to help make music once again. Oh, and they were FREE. We mustn't forget that bit...

Finally, Allied called to tell me that my backordered tubing is in. AND they allowed me to change my order since it took them so long. They also comped the shipping. So instead of two of those $55 outer tubes and one $28 inner brass tube I am now getting two of the brass inners and one nickel silver outer. This is cool because I discovered that my estimate for the spendy tubing was more than I needed. And I underestimated the need for the brass stuff. Since the ordered the stuff in lots of ten each they were totally fine with me changing my order, and it was like $50 less because of the free shipping and the price difference between the NS outer tube and the brass inner tube. NICE! I should receive this by the end of the week, too.

Time for lunch.

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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby roughrider » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:34 pm

Awesome! Keep showing and telling us the story of the rebirth of this great horn!
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Re: Holton 345 Redux

Postby the elephant » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:49 pm

My cat managed to steal my 5th rotor unit and hide it under my bed wrapped in a sock. I just thought I would share that with you. It cost me four hours in the shop that I really needed to use and a boatload of panic.

Stupid cat. Ugh...
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