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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:14 pm

Okay, I discovered a problem with what is in the above photos. The second slide is too close to the 3rd, so it sits at an angle just a bit south of horizontal, and that kicks the 1st slide too far over toward the mouthpiece side of the horn so that the brace between 4th branch and the 1st slide no longer works. There needs to be a gap between the tubes of about 2 mm or so, and I will fix that tomorrow. I have to remove the 2nd valve/slide and clean up everything. Then I can correct the angle.

I have to also assemble the posts that hold the paddle rack. I left all the solder pads for these more or less alone as I de-dented and then and then cleaned up the runners. I will remove the levers and springs and then screw the posts to the 3rd and 4th slides to the bar to ensure the alignment is good on that side, then look at wiring 1st and 2nd in place and then soldering the post to 1st and screwing it to the bar. That will ensure that the alignment is as it was before I torched all this stuff apart.

Anyway, I will be cleaning up the error with 2nd tomorrow and fully assembling the valve section minus 5th.

Yesterday I assembled the first slide circuit to the valve; the slide action is somewhat better than when it was when I bought the horn. I also assembled the upper and lower 5th slides and (out of sequence, I know) alined the new 4th slide (formerly the 3rd slide) of the BBb so that is works well. (I had to use it to help me align some other stuff, so it had to be well aligned first. I know — weird.)

I had to cut four new 2.75" inner leg tubes for the two 5th slides as the ones I had were uselessly loose and a quarter inch too short.

Today I had a bit of a fright: I lost the 4th branch-to-lower 5th slide brace I recently received from Miraphone. I searched every box of parts I had several times. I was getting pretty angry about losing this part because I *hate* wasting time and money and after all is said and done then finding the dang part under the bed because a cat found it out when I was getting a drink or in the john or whatever.

I found it, though, and there was great rejoicing.

Also, I located the former MTS crook of the Holton. I had planned to use one set of parts for my 5th valve because I had switched over to a wider B&S crook that I really liked. But in the end that added about 2 inches to a horn that was bordering on flat already.

The Holton is now such a consistently made horn that I was also bugged to no end that the 5th tubing was a mixed bag of stuff that sort of matched, but not really. I decided to purchase some parts for a Miraphone 190, to include a valve, two crooks and a half meter each of inner and outer slide tubing and two braces. I also need some runners but don't yet know which ones.

So some of the Miraphone parts will allow me to move the piston set closer to the 5th valve, so I can go back to the well made York sousaphone MTS crook and get that 2" of length back, and that makes my life much easier. So I dug out that crook and will soon be working on the "dent that is impossible to reach" with a ball and a doubled-up magnet.

Lots of words. Not so many photos. Sorry 'bout that. I promise to have some evidence of progress on this horn on Sunday or Monday night.

The completed 1st valve slide circuit…
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Lower and upper 5th slides…
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All my parts came new from Miraphone or off of three or four BBb 186 tubas made between 1971 and 1978 or so. You can see here how the details varied over the years. Compare with the 1971 details in the first picture; all three differ, so locating usable parts that matched well enough to make me happy was a bit of a bear. Miraphone no longer does this sort of work (or bell engraving, either) so the tech who gets the work order (with included photos of these details) cannot match them exactly but still has to charge extra for their time at the lathe trying to copy your stupid photos of old tuba parts. The amount of detail put into these older horns is wonderful. Modern horns lack these personal touches and that is sad, but they are much more consistent today. The real loss to my way of thinking is the method of producing tubing and branches and such as compared with today.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:22 pm

At some point, someone may :?: have decided to make the space past the two lathe-cut trim rings (inside slide assembly connection ferrules) be the same width as the soldered-on trim rims at the ends of the outside slide tubes.

I can understand/appreciate desiring a complete original/vintage appearance, as I have friends (with extraordinary financial resources, YET frugal as a Scot) who are into genuine Confederate arms (swords, and [friggin'] CANNONS :shock: ). The values of those items are meteoric, and the attention-to/scrutiny-of "Has this part been replaced" is down to the microscopic level...

...and no, I'm not-at-all implying any attempt to "fool" anyone ( :arrow: after all, we're putting our bare-nekid projects up here for all to view), but only that I completely understand/appreciate the desire for a consistent vintage appearance.

I'm also glad to see that your ultimate decision was to mechanically upgrade (from worn to like-new) a genuine/vintage Miraphone, rather than (from hastily-built to properly-built) a jimbo. 8)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:26 pm

I am typing this while on lunch break, and am here to tell you that the freaking wind is TERRIBLE today! I cannot solder worth a road apple because of this. I use old style tin/lead solder and a pretty corrosive flux, so moving this dog and pony show indoors is not an option.

Despite the wind issues I *did* manage to get the valve section more or less assembled and aligned so that all slides have adequate clearance and the valves are aligned in a fairly decent row while the paddle rack fits at all three connection points. I had to "tilt" 2nd away from 3rd a bit to allow the 1st to fit up to its brace on the bugle and also allow the valve ports to align. However, once it was all completed the 2nd is still a little too far away from 1st. After some inspection I realized that there is a hard solder ridge on the exit port that is preventing the little dished valve-to-valve ferrule from fitting on all the way.

Yeah, after all that work *NOW* I see it. :roll: :oops:

So I intend to remove all this assembled stuff in one, large piece from the bugle, separate 2nd from 1st, clean up a lot of horrible wind-driven solder mess that looks quite embarrassing, and then Dremel the ferrule until the 1st and 2nd fit together at the correct distance.

I have to clean up a LOT of solder that ran all over the damned place while trying to run the bead needed between the too-far-apart 1st and 2nd slides, so having that joint corrected will help me a lot.

I have one issue I cannot figure out. The entire valve set sort of "runs uphill" (when viewed from the side with the horn lying flat, valves up). The leadpipe now needs a short brace between it and the top bow. None of the braces that I left attached were moved or bent. I pulled up the MTS brace, which had been smashed down into the bell by about an eighth of an inch.

As I have pulled apart and repair this old tuba I have discovered a LOT of old work, with old work beneath that, so this horn probably is WAY off from being "straight and true". I have decided to simply make it work and to try and keep any wonkiness hidden from view.

I have to clean this up this afternoon so that I can leak test all the tube joints.

At this point I am uncertain where to go. I have to clean up a lot of old gunk on the bugle inner branches (that I had forgotten about - duh) so I guess I will do that first. I really must-but-not-want to remove 5/1/2 and can the horrible mess up. Now that I have all my guide points installed reassembly will be pretty easy. Once all this has been prettified I can reinstall, paying more attention to the (Dremel-ed into submission) ferrule to ensure proper alignment of the whole 2nd valve/slide. I am hoping when this has been fixed that I have a reasonable gap between the tubes for the long beads that run along 2nd's tubes.

We shall see.

Here is some horn dorn for now. Note that the valves will probably still run uphill when I am done, because everything works and fits this way, but I will have to find or make a brace for the leadpipe-to-top bow gap I have managed to create. I am thinking the same one used by Miraphone today for the leadpipe-to-bell connection? I suppose I need to email Eva for some information...

Anyway, I might find whatever is causing the valve section to sit a bit askew. Or I might not. I don't really care that much as everything seems happy where it is.

Image

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Here you can see how the valves are off of the centerline of the horn and now set the leadpipe about a quarter inch above the top bow. This is not good. I suspect the 3rd slide tube nearest the valves is to blame for this. I think it was misshapen due to damage and when I de-dented it it went back to its original shape, but the stuff it connects to is still damaged a bit. Or I F-ed it up myself. Not sure, but it needs to be addressed.
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Here you can see what I mean by "the valves run uphill" because the leadpipe does not fit correctly. I will investigate the alignment issues to see what is up. Perhaps I can fix it, or perhaps I will slap a small brace between these two points.
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The leadpipe offset is more pronounced now, but the old leadpipe connected 2.5" further down without the 5th valve; the offset was eaten up partially by the longer distance of that leg of the triangle between the three points. That is okay, though, as I have the needed bell-to-top bow brace from the new version of the horn, which sets the bell about a few millimeters farther away from the top bow, making it center in the leadpipe better than this. However, I am not too sure it will be enough. Again, I need to check alignment and see if things can't be set up more on target, so to speak.
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One more shot…
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:23 pm

Tomorrow looks to be rain-free, but still breezy. I will take apart some of this and clean up my mess and then see whether I can reinstall it all much more neatly.

I fixed one thing I disliked right before I came in for the afternoon. I may leave the basic valve section alone since it all works well enough. I still plan on realigning the 2nd slide after grinding out that ferrule to allow for a more close fit; it cannot be too much or the posts to the paddle rack will no longer fit. I also plan on removing and trying to get the MTS to fit more to my liking.

You know, you put in all this time and then when something does not fit "just so" you get pretty pissed. I did not put in all tis time and care to have it all fit back together so-so.

Roll your eyes at me if need be. I want this as correct as I can get it.

My kingdom for some factory assembly jigs.

See y'all tomorrow...
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:37 am

Thank you for your text and pictures as you rumble toward the finish line with this great tuba. I think your willingness to go the "extra mile" as it were to make sure everything is done the way you want is really great. After all, you're the one who will be playing it, so why not? Keep up the great work!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:03 am

Image

This project is coming along exceptionally well.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:54 pm

Today I worked on the BBb valve section in an attempt to train myself to reassemble the valve section on the CC so that everything goes together correctly.

I started with the 2nd slide, which is the only one of the four that has no direct analog to the CC outer slide tubes.

BBb 1 becomes CC 3
BBb 2 must be cut about 20 mm
BBb 3 becomes CC 4
BBb 4 become CC 1

I have hated the idea of losing the figurations at the ends of these tubes because every other valve has two ferrules next to each other and all of them have a double ring decoration and now 2nd will just be… blank. This sucks.

So rather than do what I had intended, I stayed on the 2nd slide and made my first ever attempt to cut and shape these rings.It was 46º outside all day, and since I do not have a lathe and had to do all this by hand/eyeball I'm not going to lie to you: This sucked. I will do it again to both sets of outer tubes for the upper and lower 5th slides on the CC now that I have had some practice time, have a procedure and have learned some things to avoid doing. [I used a jewelers saw, blue painter's tape (as a guideline for the initial sawing of the ring before beveling), a saxophone file and a Swiss file.]

I am happy with the results. They are far from perfect, but for eye-balling/free-handing I think they look pretty good.

For a couple of days I sat on my bed with 12 186 rotors, testing for leaks. This was extremely frustrating. I discovered that I have been keeping two JUNK rotors in my possession since about 1997. Many leaked after having been lubed with what I use on the walls and bearings. Mostly the leaks were pretty tiny and I do not think that in an actual playing situation that anyone could tell. My CC played very well for the most part, but I sensed a leak in one of the valves and decided to replace them all to bring this old bugle up to date. I was right, and two of them proved to be unacceptable. Since the tuba played really well I am assuming that the valves with lesser leaks are probably just fine, but I won't know until I have to use them on some other project.

So, as I said, I have three sets of four, marked 26, 70 and 71. The CC is 71, 70 is the BBb and 26 came from two horns that both had the same bench marker with serial numbers that put about 200 horns between them, so they were made in the same year but a few months apart and bound for two different Mississippi universities back in 1978 — I am betting the same person made them.

Two of the 26 valves were thrashed, probably having been "played out" after 20 years of service at a public institution. However, two were the best ones I had in the dozen.

I am betting that the thrashed valves came off the better horn because serious students usually take better care of their school horns while playing on them a lot more than non-serious players.

The good valves came from the smashed up horn, which was owned by a school known to have a lot of careless, inattentive students who view their Jury Examination as something to be ignored until the day before and think nothing of wasting the time of their teacher by skipping their weekly private lessons to chat up the honeys. This horn would have been fairly destroyed but the valves would not have been played on nearly so aggressively or so often as the other horn, so this pair of valves would be in much better shape.

Anyway, the upshot of these hours of work sorting and testing and all that, was that I ended up with a pretty darned decent set of five valves for my BBb project horn. Oddly, there was some symmetry in how things worked out.

5 — 71 (3 from CC)
1 — 26 (1 from 26)
2 — 70 (2 from BBb)
3 — 26 (3 from 26)
4 — 71 (4 from CC)

A Miraphone 5th valve set up facing the same direction as the other valves (for right hand thumb actuation) is a casing with the cork plate drilled to fit like a 3rd/4th valve but with a 1st/2nd rotor inside. This give the over-the-bearing, counterclockwise rotation needed to work using their slide setup and all that mess. Then it has one of the two slide knuckles point to the side as normal, but one pointed straight up like the other side going into the leadpipe. So my 5th was the casing for the 3rd valve from my CC using that rear bearing plate with the #2 rotor from my CC in the casing. I cannot believe how well this worked out. I have one port headed 90º off in the wrong direction, but I have already solved this issue for this tuba's 5th slide. Doing this saves me a lot of money and keeps the valves all having the classic scroll-y top plate that looks so nice. (The new ones are plain and, IMHO, pretty boring.)

So now I have all five valves with two having very tiny leaks that are less than the leaks the CC originally had, and the other three being very airtight. All have very smooth, silent and fast action with minimal vertical end play that is easiy adjusted out with the take-up screw.

All the rear bearing plates are pretty loose, though. I dimpled them to keep them from rotating, but I really hate doing "redneck repairs" like this, so I will try to fix it later. Perhaps new plates? Not sure where the wear actually is, so this might not work for me, and I have no lathe. Hmm…

I plan on building the 1st/2nd/3rd part of the valve section tomorrow for this BBb horn, with all the slides now adjusted to play in the key of C. Once it is together I can then fiddle with it until I get it to fit my CC correctly. THEN I will duplicate all that with the actual CC valves and slides. I discovered two places where errors had been made that caused me to tear down my CC after all that work. One is a boo-boo (yep, sorry) and the other is a slightly bent part. I do not think I did this through any repair work to the runner, but more like it got caught on something and I pulled on it some. Another hmm…

I'm gonna lick this thing eventually. I may be stupid, but I keep swinging. I am genuinely pleased with my trim rings and can't wait to get to the CC 5th slide so I can add them to my trimmed-to-fit 1978 outer slide tubes.

Thank you for reading. And now for the all-important "hornporn". (This now has to be one word as p o r n gets changed to "dorn" by the kid-friendly software used here. Weird. I am used to seeing **** but just respelling the word? WTF?)

Here is the BBb 1/2/3 section with the 1 and 3 slides swapped out to be in C but with 2nd still at Bb length. I have to trim about 20 mm off of the outers and like 17 mm off the inners to make them fit the way I want them to. I will teach myself to assemble this much of the valve section with no alignment jigs first, then transfer that new knowledge to the same parts for the CC.
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Here is how I will line up the gaps between 1/2 and 2/3 this time so that everything fits correctly. I will not add the long beads to 2nd though until the alignment has been finalized. The 1st and 3rd runners that connect to the posts that go to the paddle rack curve away, so some adjustment will probably be needed, but the basic alignment should be fine doing it this way as the gaps are the correct size and very straight/even.
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First I have to cut the slide tubes to work for a CC tuba. And I will then hack in the trim rings at the ends of the tubes so it will look sort of factory rather than like something that was hacksawed in a carport in Mississippi. I have everything carefully measured and then the tape is put on using my "G.I. Mk-1 Eyeball".
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Tubes trimmed and dressed, and the first ring has been etched in with the jeweler's saw. Oops. I scratched it. But "it ought to buff right out" as they say about car accidents and tornado damage. ("That's a joke, son.")
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Both of the first rings are done, and one of the 2nd rings and some of the texturing, too. I am glad I decided to try this because it looks really good to me.
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FINISHED! Rings cut, slide aligned and soldered to the valve, some adjustments to the oval bulges in the old, inner tubing with a leather mallet and an interior slug, with some very light lapping to clean it up, and now we have none of the draggy-ness this slide used to have and the leaks are gone because I reshaped the inner and outer tubes a bit. The pull is very decent with a light coating of Schilke lanolin grease. I like it. The valve is reinstalled and my vent works well. This is a score in my opinion.
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You can see the bulges that have been lightly tapped down on a slug I have for this size tubing, and then lapped a bit. I had to use an expander on one of the end rings because it was rather oval shaped. Now all works well.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:18 am

Yesterday I only had a short time open to me. Tonight I have a rehearsal that will cause me to have to quit working at 3:30 and due to the cold I can't start until 10:00. The weather has made its change and the gigging madness has begun. I will try to get this done by the 12th or 13th, though; I have a gig where the CC 186 would be my normal choice of horn, and it would be great if it were ready in time.

I also need to throw myself into this or some other project. One of my cats was diagnosed with cancer and given about two to three weeks to live, so putting her to sleep was discussed for awhile yesterday morning. I've never had to do this before and I am *really* close to this old girl, so I need a distraction that is also productive. I guess finishing my CC will be the ticket, but this BBb valve section has been started and I have learned some stuff that will help me get the CC valve section together where I am not upset with the alignment with the leadpipe.

So after the bad news I spend some time with Mina and then I headed out to work. I had completely gone through all the parts of my dozen Miraphone rotors and much more carefully selected the five best, to include a 5th valve with the needed 3/4 casing and 1/2 rotor. So now three of them were previously vented. (I had vented all five some time back but ended up dumping two of them due to having pretty big leaks.)

I rather stupidly had used the cork plates from all four of the "26" valves for my Cerveny Piggy project because the Cerveny ones pretty much sucked. I have them around here somewhere, but I did not like them. The Miraphone ones were much nicer and made of nickel silver. They improved that already good example of a Piggy aesthetically, IMHO. I am glad I made that upgrade, but I did not know at that time that these cork plates made at Miraphone were sort of loosely drilled and tapped, so the screw hole placement varied a lot over the years until they started using a machine jig to place the part on the casing and to locate and drill the holes thorough it and the plates. (Or however these four holes are located and aligned — Miraphone is *very* consistent with this process now and has been since the late 1970s, I am guessing. These older horns, though? Very inconsistent from year to year.) I was not aware that these old cork plates needed to stay forever with the casings they were fitted to because you cannot simply replace them. You have to purchase the cork plates without the holes. And to be honest, I have a feeling that these have the holes cast into them these days. All they do is finish the part, holes included.

Whatever. The other choice is to fill the holes on the casing and re-drill to fit the replacement cork plates.

My solution, though, was to do some minor Dremel work to the cork plates. After digging out all the cork plates and using the stamps that indicate the bench number and valve I mated them all to the correct casings. After I had finally made my decisions on which valves would be used on the BBb I realized that two of them were from the 26 valves, so they had none of their small parts. Since all these are just slightly different, I snagged all the leftover cork plates from the junk valves and started fitting them to find the two that would require the least adjustment. I discovered that the 26 valves had the screws a bit closer to the bearing, but the screw holes were still the same center measurement. Instead of ovalizing the screw holes to meet where there are on the casing (making the plate able to shift with use and put the valve out of alignment) I ground out the "hole" that fits around the bearing, pushing back into the metal just enough to allow the screw holes to line up. You cannot tell what was done and the parts fit very well.

Then I remembered that two of the valves had not yet been vented. So as the sun went down and the carport became colder (37º — I checked) I dragged out the tools I use for this procedure. [I do not like rotors that are not vented, but I do not like doing this work when the horn is assembled as it is difficult to keep the very long bit where you want it. If you like vented rotors and you have your horn torn apart, do not wait to do this work until after the horn is together; it is very fast and easy to do this accurately by hand when they are apart.] After some time with my need-to-be-melted-and-replaced Chinesium-coated miracle drill bits I *finally* got both holes done to my satisfaction. No leaks. Smooth, fast action.

The two that I vented came from the CC (the #71 set of valves) and had not been cleaned up and buffed, so that was the next step.

In the end everything looks and functions very nicely. For a junk tuba at least it will have very decent valves. With all the work I am doing to it the BBb should play as well as the CC, with only the intonation being a serious question, due to taper inconsistencies in the inner branches from being cut to play in C. I have already decided that *if* this horn comes out well enough to use at work for anything at all and the pitch is a wonky in ways that are abnormal to the 186 that branches 3, 4 and 5 will be replaced with ones for a CC 186. The outer branches ought to function acoustically just about the same as they did for the horn as a BBb and very similarly to how my CC horn plays. I can only see any issues with the pretzel (branch 5) and the two cut points between branch 2 to 3 and 3 to 4. Everything else measures out very close to correct.

As is, once cut not only will the taper rate for branches 3, 4 and 5 be off, but the tubes have a smaller internal volume, which will make the horn more tight sounding, I think. It might help the low register, but I think the price in pitch and sound breadth are not worth it.

I honestly believe that the journey to find all this out will be fascinating to me. (Probably not too many others, though. We'll see.) Once the slides have all been shortened and the outer branches have been cut there really is no difference, acoustically, save for the taper and volume of those three inner branches.

Of note, on the BBb (made for the US school market, so not quite as accurately assembled as the CC from six months earlier, which was bound for the US university/professional market) there are a lot of indications visible in the horn of hand work that did not get fully cleaned up. It is really nice to see these marks made by a human hand for a task performed by machines today. Specifically, the end points of the decorative rings in the outer slide tubes and the ferrules do not always meet up with the starting points. This worker did not seem to lock down the tube in the lathe jaws perfectly, allowing the tube to slip to one side by a very tiny amount. I see this on the BBb decorations a lot, Maybe the lathe (which has to be checked and re-checked for accuracy may have just gone out of spec and this was one of the last batches before a scheduled inspection? I don't know.

Another example is that every tube on the BBb and CC horns made in 1971 have very thin seam lines that are only really visible right after having been buffed. After a few days the metal starts to get a patina (which is not really noticeable for a week or more on well buffed nickel silver) and this seam line disappears completely. I can see one very clearly on one of the 2nd slide tubes. I know how dorky this is, but I think that is very cool. You can see that these were rolled from sheet brass, seamed and then pulled through the drawing machine to make matched pairs.

I also love that you can clearly see the same on the 1975-ish smaller leadpipe that Miraphone managed to dig up from some box that was pushed into some corner of their warehouse of parts. It is an original one with the seam clearly running down the inside edge.

Also, on my CC and my BBb there are clear seams on the top and bottom bows, as well as the seam and "gusset" on the bell. Again, I really like this. I don't know why, but it is like they are calling cards from workers who are probably very old or who have passed on, showing that they were there and that they did this work. Maybe that gives these two horns some additional personality that no one else will ever notice? I don't know. I sort of wish I could go to Germany, visit Miraphone, and have the workers who built these horns be present so I could buy them each a beer to thank them for their craftsmanship.

Yeah, I am pretty weird about stuff like this. Sorry. I need to head out back to work, but it is still too cold. One more hour and I will get started.

Yours in coffee and long johns,

Wade
Last edited by the elephant on Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:06 am

So sorry to hear about your beloved cat. It is always sad when a family member comes to near the end. Your attention to detail is really something. Keep up the great work.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:36 pm

To roughrider and the several people who PM-ed me about Mina and Ray: Thank you. I have never had to put a pet down, I have never even experienced this with any of my friends. I am *very* close to my cats as I have no children or grandchildren upon which to dote. My cats are my life when I am home. They are very much my family. So again, thank you.
_________________________________

Here are the photos. I had tried to make them a part of the above post, but as normal, my writing is way too long-winded; I had hit the 10,000 character limit. (I am very sorry about this. I write like I speak — long-winded.) I had everything typed up and was about to cut all that from the above post and make this separate post when our craptacular cable went out, which it seems to do two or three times a week here in Small Town, Mississippi. This means that all that work was lost in the ether.

I re-did the photos and captions, so here they are. I am sorry that what I am doing seems to be so undirected right now. I will get back to work on the CC soon. I just needed some time so experiment and teach myself some things before I screw up my CC again. (Yes, I know it was not screwed up and that working with the misalignment would have been easy, but I'll be damned when I spend this much time and money on a project and none of my alignment points have move to then have the valves not line up perfectly. I needed (not "wanted") to fix this in order to be happy with the horn.

So I am getting a lot of stuff done on the other half of my "Dueling 186" project. It is just way out of order, I guess.

And the G.D. cable just went out AGAIN! I have the TV on in the background so I can make sure to not post anything with the cable off to avoid "enjoying" the same mess. I am now using my wife's phone as a WiFi hotspot to post this. I hate living in a tiny, Third World nation like Mississippi. <sigh> Giving up on the local cable company for now and headed out back to mangle more brass. See y'all tonight when I get home from my quintet rehearsal. Posting this last set of edits via the phone link in 3, 2, 1…
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Here is another shot of my lovely ring figurations set next to the ferrules they copy. Not perfect at all, but good enough to use and a good start toward the four 5th valve tubes that I trimmed to fit my CC and that lack these rings.
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Here are two of the cork plates from the CC valves. The one on the left is stock and the one on the right has had the center circle Dremel-ed out some to allow it to slide closer to the bearing so the screw holes can work without needing to be wallowed out. This netted me the needed parts with zero slop in the fit and that cannot be identified as having been altered without actually removing them from the casing.
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These are the 5th and 1st valves I am using for the BBb. The one on the left is the 3rd casing and rear bearing from the CC with the 2nd rotor from the same horn. I have four possible fixes for the ruined threads of the stem of that rotor and will eventually fix it. For now it is not a concern to me as I need to get stuff reassembled first. The 1st valve is one of the two "26" valves that had not been ruined. It is actually the worst of the five valves for this horn, and the leak is only when it is in use, and it is *very* small. When oiled it is just about undetectable unless a lot of pressure is applied (above 15 psi, which never happens inside of an open-ended brass instrument).
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Here are 3rd and 4th, and you can see that I could not get the damned ferrules off of 4th. I have tried five different times over the last nine months and all I can say is that someone hammered these on so that there is no way to break them free while the casing is less than 300º F unless you think 3rd degree burns are fun.

My 4th runners also have the ferrules trapped on them. The valve is from the CC and the runners are from the BBb. I do not want to destroy these old, figured ferrules that match what I have, and I do not want to destroy the runners. I will have to figure this out once the horn is assembled to the point that I can start working on mangling the BBb 4th parts to be routed like the CC 4th. I need these ferrule for this so that my hacks can be covered with parts that match the horn, making it (I hope) look less homemade.

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This is the set of valves (minus 2nd, which was the "belle of the ball" in my last set of posts): 5, 1, 3 and 4. The 2nd is the only 70 valve, which was the set from the BBb. The vents are all internally centered, so some of them are a bit wonky outside, but the hole is slightly angled so that it enters the casing centered right-to-left. This hole being absolutely centered inside the casing is what helps to prevent leaks. (Not being an idiot with the punch or when de-burring the holes also help in this regard.) If the valves are separated from one another like this it is easy to correct the hole once you get it about halfway through the casing wall so that it come through just about perfectly centered.

I have had a few poorly vented valves where the hole was just a bit too large or off-center so that they leaked when the valve was actuated, or holes too small so that the valves hiss when the slide is moved while the valve is not in use. None of these will leak or hiss, so I am pleased.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:57 am

Last night before I went to my rehearsal I sat on the bed installing the neoprene and cork that I prefer and that Miraphone kindly includes (along with the two nickel silver screws) with the cork plate when you purchase it from them. I have not yet trimmed the bumpers, so the valves are all way out of alignment. I have to do some work to the rear bearing plates and in one case make new alignment marks because the valve does not go with that plate.

So there's nothing special in this post or photo; just a tip of the hat to Tabor. Thank you, sir.

More cleanup and assembly today. I have a good eight hours of fair weather and humane temps ahead of me. I will work on the BBb stuff until I get sick of looking at it and then clean up the mess I made disassembling the CC valves, duplicating this BBb work with them.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Today I did all my final work (is any project ever really finalized) on the BBb valves to fix a lot of crap I had forgotten about when I decided to switch out the valves I had previously chosen.

First, the CC valves have never been swaged, and both had a lot of visible horizontal play at the top bearing.

Second, the actions of some of these valves was mediocre when lubed and I had forgotten just how much. Today I inspected every aspect of ever valve because I do NOT want to have to do work after it has been assembled when I can do it much more easily when the valves are separated from one another.

Finally, I had to decide what to do about the old CC 2nd rotor stem with no threads in the top half of the hole.

I am happy with all action of each valve when both dry *and* oiled now. All my top bearings have been swaged or re-swaged now. I had to re-fit a few that needed to have a LOT of swaging done and were super tight when taken out of the tool. This really helped clean up noise and rotational weirdness that happens when the bearings have a lot of slop. I decided to tighten all of the ones had had been done earlier, because I had been rather gentle and, IMO, ineffective for the most part. I was effective today, but man that took some time to do right.

I decided to trim the stem and stop arm on the 5th valve. It came out good, offers a slightly lower profile look that I like, and allowed me to go from a half turn of screw engagement with stock parts to about six full turns of engagement.

I lopped about two millimeters off the stop arm so that when mounted all the way down the stem it was flush with the stem itself. Then I Dremel-ed off about a millimeter from the stem itself. This fixed everything.

Since all these have old, weakened or crumbling threads at the very top I plan on making all five match. Easy to do, easy cleanup, not time consuming, and it can be done at any time once the horn has been made playable again. (So this is obviously not high priority for me, but I will most likely do it at some point.

Here are two pics of the shortened valve stem and stop arm. It came out nice and flat across the top, and not slightly askew as I was fearing it would. Cool!

Goodnight to anyone who happens to read this.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:11 am

Keep rockin' it!
1930 King "Symphony" Recording Bass BBb
1916 Holton "Mammoth" Upright Bass BBb
1994 King 2341 Upright Bass BBb
Wedge H2 Solo mouthpieces
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:34 pm

Okay, so an explanation of what I did to salvage the 2nd rotor in the 3rd casing from the CC that is now the 5th valve for the BBb is that I chopped both the stem and the stop arm, with an attempt to make the cut to the stop arm as flat/level as possible.

Here are some photos.

The repaired rotor is in the valve on the left. You can see that the stems are not the same length. The threads start about halfway down the length of the screw post, and the stock stop arm is about 2.5 mm taller than the stem with pressed on all the way, with an even larger gap if you cannot get the stop arm on all the way, which is pretty common. Lopping off this small amount and then fitting the stop arm to sit on the post fully bottomed out and trimming the stop arm to ride just about a millimeter allowed me to recover like six or seven of these very fine threads by getting the screw down into the hole by this much more.
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Stock stem length with shortened stop arm. I think took off three millimeters, now that I look at this photo…
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Here is the shortened stop arm on the shortened stem…
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I had a few folks ask me on Facebook how I got the old five-sided rotor stems to fit the newer half-round stop arms. They just fit. It looks sort of sketchy, but I can assure you that I pound the valves pretty hard on my horn, and these stop arms did not slip or shift at all. There is apparently more than enough contact area in the right places that these *do* work. The reverse is not true at all, though, as you can plainly see.
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A reminder photo (from above) of what this looks like when assembled. The flatness with the screw is pleasing to me since I eyeballed all this stuff. What *does* bug me, though, is that after all this time Miraphone still does not see how bad it looks when the screw head is larger than the stop arm shaft. Stuff like that drives me nuts…
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:11 am

Tonight the Mrs. and I went out for Friday Night Eats. (In Jackson no less, so we be high stylin' tonight!) I had played three brass quintet Informances this morning and came home in need of a shower from the heavy rain and he 10,000º ovens the three schools were this morning. GROSS!

After a rest we had a late lunch. Then we went home to work on this dang tuba.

I got started at about 2:00 and worked until about 5:30 when the sun went down. We had wanted to see a movie and had a deadline to meet. (We ended up eating out in Jackson, as mentioned above. We plan on taking in the film tomorrow evening.) So in 3.5 hours we got some decent work done.

The main thing was to whip the collection of leftover ferrules into something that looked okay and that kept the rotor casings spaced correctly. I had two sets of the valve-to-valve ferrules (narrower, with small dishes on each side to allow them to fit closer to the casing body) but one was from the BBb and one was from the 1978 (#26) valve set. Both were incomplete. To connect five rotors you need for of these. I had three of each, so one was going to stick out no matter what. I ended up discovering that the narrower set from 1978 was also better fit to the casings. The older ones were dished by eyeball, it seems, and one of them had the two scoops offset by like 15º so that it could not fit the two valves together without a huge gap on one side.

So I went with the newer ones. The old ones had the two sets of double rings closer together, but were wider, overall. So there was a LOT of edge on these. The newer ones had a more narrow space between the rings and the edge. I filed down the most inaccurate of the older ferrules (leaving me with the two better ones for future use) and then Dremel-ed down the width until it matched the newer set. At a distance it looks a lot more like the newer ones now. Nice. Once all the black is removed from the lines it will be more difficult to see this difference.

Once all this mindbendingly boring detail work was done and I had a nice set of ferrules for all the slides and to connect the valves I realized I was, in the end, short two ferrules. I had never realized this, so I was pretty pissed off. Then I remembered that the two ends of the BBb 2nd slide were cut off really neatly and STRAIGHT, and that they were the same length. They only have the rings on the one end, but they looked a lot better than the blank ferrules I had made for my Holton 345 out of this same tubing. I decided to put the rings near the valves so that the blank ends are to the waterkey branch and the leadpipe. I think that will not look bad at all. So that is done.

Once that *next* batch of boring detail work was done I then decided that I had the needed time and the good weather to assemble the rotors. I had also spent some time working on this stuff when I was indoors resting up after lunch. I had spent about an hour with the flute expander tool and 6" of nickel silver inside slide tubing making sure all the ports were actually round and were pointed where they needed to go. (A bunch of these force the ferrules into all sorts of angles that are far from straight. I rounded and expanded the edges so they were not rolled-in, creating a ledge inside the ports, then I used the very stiff nickel silver slide tubing to carefully bend the knuckles into better positions for aligning all these freaking tubes with each other.

Since all that work had been done there was literally nothing stopping me from assembling the valves.

So I did. I only did the four connectors, and I missed some bits of solder with the buffer in my haste to get done and go out with my wife.

Tomorrow I will finish any needed cleaning and then start to very carefully assemble the 3rd loop, fitting this to my CC every step of the way to ensure that I do not duplicate the problems I had before. Then adding the 1st slide should be pretty straight forward.

Then I will add the main two rods up to the paddle rack bar with some binding wire and screw the rod down. I will then work to position the bar where I want it with the two posts still clamped tightly to their slide runners. Then I can solder all this together. If there is not enough or too much space to allow the rods to fit correctly I can heat up the valve ferrules and allow stuff to move as needed.

That ought to be a decent day's work for me. Until then, here is a nice photo of the assembled rotor casings, After some work with a super sharp scraper removing excess hard solder that was preventing ferrules to be fully pressed into position and then trimming two ferrules down a bit all them line up straight and at heights that allow all those neat, little rings to line up perfectly. It looks great to me.

Pics of what I did this evening…

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:43 am

Very nice (and a nice background for the photos, too).
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary King...
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:55 am

Currie kicks arse.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:44 pm

Not assembled. When it was assembled in the cold and high winds something was off enough that it was seriously bugging me. (Read above.) Also, there was gobs of solder everywhere due to the wind. In short, I was embarrassed by the work I did.

I took it apart like the next day or so, and did not clean up any of it. I bagged it all in disgust and shifted over to the BBb part of this project. I needed to figure out why the valve section went on a bit caddywampus. The BBb section was far less important so if I screwed up anything it would not be a disaster. The valves for the CC are all five brand new (or New Old Stock).

I started to work on the BBb stuff, but it was still a bit screwy, so I had to fix all that. Now I had to remove six stuck ferrules, heat and wipe about LOT of solder (Did I mention just how much solder this was?) and finally buff the snot out of these casings. None of these had been finished by Miraphone. The top nickel silver "coins" had striations from the mill that looked like growth rings. All of them had lots of scratches and gouges in the outer casing wall.

Except for the last one they sent me, which was completely finished. So I had an example of what these are supposed to look like, and I measured them with calipers and discovered that a pretty fair amount of metal is buffed off at the factory. So I buffed off my mess and then set to work getting the other four to look like the one, and man, that paid off. They look really nice, now, even the top plates with the "growth rings" are nice and mirror-like. I have some stuff to hit again tomorrow because the light was fading outside. Other than those few things and I am really pleased.

I will assemble all this tomorrow after I get home from my gig.

So I guess what I was trying to say was that I unscrewed all my earlier screwups. And that makes me smile. If my diabetes would allow me to have an adult beverage once in awhile this would be one of those times. So Prosit, y'all!

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:01 pm

The valves have been put together and spaced and are very nicely flat along the bottom casing edges.

Today was a crap day and tonight was crap repair work time. I'll see y'all around, probably tomorrow, but maybe not. I need to take a walk or something… :evil:

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:12 am

[I hate to say this, especially after dropping so much on these five new valves, but I *like* the old ones better. I don't know why, but it is a *feel* thing, I think. I am pretty sure that I will use the new valves on the CC tuba, but there is a small chance I will go with the old ones. Perhaps they fit together better because they were actually assembled and finished at the factory. The new ones seem to need a LOT of adjustment to knuckles to get slide legs that point in the correct direction, and the action is much tighter and heavier on the new ones, even using very thin oil. The old ones *just work* and after swaging run smoothly, fast and without noise. Tough call. I want the new ones because they will last for many years, but the "corrected" old ones will probably last a good while, too, before they need to be re-swaged. But the old ones all have super loose rear bearing plates. Hmm, some good, some bad…]

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