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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:14 pm

Once again I went out with plans and promptly strayed from them.

What ended up happening was that I spent forty-five minutes buffing the five BBb bugle ferrules so that I could better see issues and so that I could… well, never mind. Long story.

After a quick break I spent two hours bashing and expanding these ferrules and the ends of the tubes they are to live with until just about everything fits nicely.

I now have the BBb bell fitting well into the #1 ferrule, but a bit too tightly, and the other end does not quite fit the bottom bow - it is still too tight. The #2 and #3 ferrules both fit too loose on the side where they need to be tight and too tight where they need to be a bit more loose.

Adjust, adjust, adjust…

The #3 ferrule is a cast iron female dog; it is super thick and is just about impossible to taper at all to any degree. It is pretty close, though.

Ferrules #4 and #5 are fitting very well.

So, as far as the BBb the whole horn is trimmed and the ends all fit. i just need to clean that fitment up. That last bit usually takes a lot more time than all the work needed to get it to that point, so this ought to take me another six hours of clubbing away like a caveman.

I am off to eat at the local diner with my wife and then see Star Wars at our local two (small) screen theater. should be a real hoot, what with the locals shouting stuff like "LOOK OUT, LUKE!"

I hope.

The factory CC outer branches and ferrules next to the factory BBb ones after having been cut and now properly tapered to fit together nicely. I do not see any real acoustic issues save that the cut BBb is smaller, internally, and that ought to just affect tone and not intonation.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:59 pm

Okay, so the weather sort of cooperated with my plans for work today, until I would light off the acetylene torch, then it was like the winds of West Texas in February. This slowed everything I did down a huge amount and caused some times where I needed my old shop's time honored "Anger Cornet" to throw around the damned back yard. UGH!

Anyway, the weirdly misshapen 2nd ferrule ended up becoming a very nicely shaped one that fits much better to both parts now. I also fit the bell to the 1st ferrule. So now the bell, outer branches and inner branches are ready to reassemble.

But first, HEY, I MADE A FREAKING MESS TODAY. Much of that is wind-related, and some was just me getting older. (cough, cough) I have to clean all that crap up tomorrow.

Also, I have to build this back like in the factory, if I want my old braces to still fit right, so top bow, (then the 4th slide, which I think at the factory is installed after the first three slides, so that is out of order, but it is convenient, so there it is) then the bottom bow. I need to fit the longer bell brace, so I will tack the bell and bottom bow together like I want them, then dry fit the bottom bow to the top bow and wire things in place with the new brace, and the old brace on the bottom bow can then be slide upwards a bit to allow the bottom bow to kick over a little. This will allow the bell to be on the bottom bow straight and not canted a bit outwards. Once that is done I can solder the bottom bow in place and remove the bell for some cleanup. The bell can go on after all the valves are on, since it is much easier to handle the tuba with the "stovepipe" out of the way.

Anyway, the top bow guard fits incorrectly across the top of the bow just as it did originally and later with this new part that I had to remove and then reinstall. It has a weird twist to the shape that I could not figure out how to remove, so the guard has to follow that contour. It is centered from the bottom to just about the middle of the curve over, then it pulls to the rear of the guard. I'm not going to have a baby fretting over it. (Okay, maybe I did in the recent past, but I have since gotten over it. Mostly.)

It became too cold to do the cleanup work, so that will be tomorrow, as stated above. I also have some additional fine dent work to do, but I keep forgetting to do it.

Time for some pics.

My cat Zoe is suspicious of the BBb press-fit bell and bottom bow. The CC bell and bottom bow is far less sketchy to the cat, I guess. Perhaps her suspicion is due to the new bell garland that is devoid of any engraving. I know that makes *me* suspicious
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Here are the re-tapered bottom and top bows. (I hate that term because I think it is deceptive, but it is the term I know.) The top bow has had the guard reinstalled and the 2nd ferrule soldered in place. Sorry for the slop. I will clean all that up later. The Scotch-Brite finish was to clean stuff up well enough to check for pinhole leaks or gaps in the solder on the ferrule or guard.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:15 am

The cuts look really excellent.
==========================
I wonder if this (below) would help anyone who - for now - is doing carport repair work and customization.
Is it short enough to fit underneath a typical carport ceiling?
(weighing down the corners with cinder blocks, heavy spare car parts, etc.), but able to turn it when the wind shifts)
Later - when something better is devised - would this prove handy for misc. storage?

https://www.harborfreight.com/10-ft-x-10-ft-portable-shed-63297.html

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1-5-20.png (6.67 KiB) Viewed 2384 times


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EDIT: I'm installing unstained/clear polyurethane-coated baseboards in a room, today, with mitered corners. I wanted to Titebond-glue and staple the various corners together before stapling them to the walls, so I went to a suburb of Memphis to buy a corner clamp from Harbor Freight. I was MET AT THE DOOR :shock: by an employee wheeling out one of those VERY tent-sheds for a customer.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:38 pm

Today I am finally getting to reassembly. Sort of. \

I am on a lunch break. No pics, sorry.

So far I spent an hour or so gently scraping, sanding and buffing the edges of the #2 ferrule and the top bow guard so that I can *finally* reinstall that to the inner branches. Then I will look at the cleanup of the 4th slide circuit, which is fragile as it is long, in one piece, and sort of "floppy" at the moment. I have to buff off old solder messes from previous (probably more than five) previous owners' repairmen, and a strip of lacquer that I could not get to (but that was clearly visible) when this was on the horn. It still looks like a matte, Scotch-Brite finish over most of the run, so I will hand polish that out once it is on the horn.

Today is going very well for the most part. There is a lot of wind, but it is sporadic, and I have set up my Jeep's hard top as a wind break.

Back later.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:00 pm

The amount of adjustment needed to fit that 2nd ferrule to the bottom bow was a real unexpected time waster. I got that done, cleaned up the solder work on the top bow ferrule and guard, and then moved on to the first step in reassembly. The top bow and its two braces were installed and partially cleaned up. Before the bottom bow goes on I will actually buff the thing decently and then strap between everything. Then the big boy and its two braces can go on and the fit can be adjusted to accept the new bell brace. Then more biffing and strapping to the bottom bow heat and solder areas.

Then I come to a stopping point where I have to decide some stuff, which I'll deal with when I get to it.

So the top bow is back on. The 2nd ferrule looks nearly new: de-dented, re-tapered and -shaped...
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Top bow guard. Yeah, buffing dirt. I have to work on this tomorrow, but I had to bring it inside for the night, so I did an *okay* job with the mineral spirits, but I missed some stuff. Sue me. ;-)
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The bottom bow fits into the 2nd ferrule very nicely now, and I did not (thank goodness) open up any of the bugle's branch radii. I have seen that happen before so that the horn could not be reassembled, and this uses only non-adjustable braces, so even being off a very little can make reassembly a nightmare. But no worries! This looks really decent, fit-wise. (The bottom bow is just press fit so that I can fit all this into the box.)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:24 pm

Thanks for the photos and text! The work you have done looks terrific and we all are anxiously awaiting the final product of both the CC and the BBb horns. Keep chugging along!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bearphonium » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:14 pm

That is looking good!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:43 pm

Here is the core of the horn, valves with slides 1, 2 and 3. This is the BBb section altered to play in the key of C, with three very nicely aligned slides with no interference and no alignment issues. I think I got this one right, unlike my experience with the CC rebuild. I had to spend some time figuring out a way to put these 48 parts together with no source for alignment. I finally figured that out the other day and tried this today. It worked great!

I had to put a new crook on 3rd as the old one had like five pin holes and I hate patches and am too lazy to fill them. The crook was from a 1978 186 and was 2mm wider, so a minor adjustment had to be made to the lower 3rd runner. There is a bent up, old 1st brace on 3rd right now. It will come off later. I needed it to help me line up everything when I was soldering all this up.

The wind out there was terrible today. (Kite flying weather, to be sure!) So I had more cleanup to do than normal, which pissed me off; some of it cannot easily be cleaned up now that it is assembled. Oh, well…

All alignment is much better than the phone camera lens depicts. (I wish I were a better photographer.)

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:38 am

Looks like good progress to me!
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary CC King...
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:24 pm

Today I am sick, so all I did (and plan to do) was to press-fit my three subassemblies together to check alignment. The subs were top bow through 5th branch (the "pretzel"), the complete 4th slide circuit, and the valve section. I joined these up with the main tuning slide.

And everything fits. All tube-to-tube contact joints work out, gap-wise, all tube ends line up, and all braces line up. Keep in mind the issues I had in my order of operations with the valve section earlier. This time I used the valve section parts from the other horn, the BBb that I have cut to CC. My two key discoveries in what needed to be done FIRST to assemble all 48 parts using no jigs or forms worked perfectly. I just had to do it wrong once and then think about it for a long time (and watch some videos showing horns being assembled at the factory) to sort this out.

I ain't half as dumb as I feel!

Again, this is all CC parts with the valves and 1st, 2nd and 3rd slides from the other 186. And my cat Ginger. She is very helpful, as you can tell.

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This very long brace got bumped some time back and it needs to be bent over a tiny bit. Right-to-Left it is still perfect, but it is tilted downwards by a millimeter or so. It is an easy fix.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:37 pm

Regarding braces:

The modern 186-5U has five fewer braces than the old -4U, but makes up for that by adding 5 new braces with the 5th slide. I do not know what differences there were between the old -4 and -5 valved horns were when the flat M3 system was used. However, between the old and the new the brace between the upper 3rd runner and the 5th branch, the two between the rotors and the 3rd and 4th branches, the long 34d-to-4th brace and the sometimes present brace between the two 3rd slide tubes (like on 1st) are all missing from my Jin Bao 410, which is a pretty faithful copy of the modern 186 CC tuba. There is no flex at these points, so I think Miraphone decided it was strong enough and did away with these to simplify construction. The added tubing of the modern flat whole step 5th seems to lock stuff down securely enough, and some of the 5th braces make the very long brace from 3rd to 4th redundant.

Interesting, if you are in to such arcane stuff. Meaningless if you are not in to such stuff. Take your pick.

Everyone wash your hands and stay healthy.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby shinytuba7 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:46 pm

the elephant wrote:
Again, this is all CC parts with the valves and 1st, 2nd and 3rd slides from the other 186. And my cat Ginger. She is very helpful, as you can tell.




And she is a very pretty kitty as well!

Love how the horn looks!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:57 pm

Today will be a lot of small jobs and tweaking a few subassemblies to get things to line up better before I start slapping large assemblies together.

I also will be trimming the part that will allow me to use a homemade 5th valve rather than one ported correctly. It will use all Miraphone parts except for two braces that I will make, but it will have to use the 5th lower crook on both the bottom and top slides.

The photo shows the brown piece as it is right now. I will be trimming it to be just a 90º elbow that is as short as I can make it.
The outer slide leg will attach to it and Bob's your uncle. I came up with this months ago when I mis-cut this part and it became available as scrap, but have been putting off mocking up stuff like this on the BBb until I get more work on the CC completed.

Anyway, this is what I was talking about last year…

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:47 pm

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:58 pm

I've seen more than a few factory C 186 tubas whereby the 4th slide sports a subtle outward tilt at the top...perhaps (??) for just a bit more clearance (as the C version's 4th slides - likely...?? - were barely cocked that way to allow for pulling for 1-4 "low F", as - in the past - far more of them were 4-valve instruments).

The rhetoric having been typed (just above), it looks a helluva lot better (as Wade's seems to be) lined up with the rest of the valveset. 8)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:50 pm

As i stated in earlier posts I was pissed off at myself for not working out a better assembly procedure to help me use existing witness marks and such for alignment. Consequently, while the valves went on the horn in an adequate manner, I was not willing to accept the angle of the valve set and what that would do to the way the leadpipe would have to fit.

I tore it all apart and then went beyond that and took down the bugle and de-dented the stuff I could not reach when it was still together. I am *much* happier that I took that detour, so the poor planning on my part with the valves was more or less mitigated by the extra (but gratifying) work. It will be a better tuba for it.

Now that I have the issues sorted on the valve install I am rolling again. Today, I decided to tackle the valves. It was easy. I just didn't want to mess with it, as though they are jinxed (or something equally stupid). I had to use two of my granite leveling plates to set up a box for the valves. These new ones do not seem to receive the individual attention to fit as the old valves did. None of the knuckles are true, all being about 7 to 10 degrees off of the axis they supposedly inhabit. Lots of slow, careful bending had to be done today after I took them all apart. Again. For the third time. I finally got them to go together without any sort of wire or bracing to keep them lined up.

These five rotor casings had a scoliosis of sorts, arching backwards from the slides. I have seen this a lot (to a minor degree) on Miraphone tubas over the decades. However, I took five valves from three different horns made in the 1970s and got all five to line up more or less perfectly with zero effort. Either this work was done as the casings were being constructed or by the tech when the horn was being put together. If the latter, then that would explain why this was not done to mine, as they were never in line for production, being pulled for some private order for a fat man in Mississippi. If it used to be done by the assembler then why would it not be checked more carefully today?

Whatever. Most parts received from Miraphone are raw, requiring cutting and finishing, so why wouldn't the valves require some sort of setup work, too?

Anyway, now my five rotary valve section is more or less lined up. All five casing tops/bottoms are very flat with one another. The "arched spine" is only a 2mm offset now, which is acceptable.

I test fit everything this a.m. and it all fits really well except for one brace. (Everything, and I mean everything is lined up on the button and no severe dent work was done to the area where this brace lives, yet it has to be moved about 4mm over to fit now. I know this happens a lot, but I was extra careful and all five of the other braces in this assembly as well as the four tube-to-tube solder beads are spot on. So again: WTF?

Anyway, if I move that one brace we will have a tuba very soon.

Tomorrow I will take my improved valves and mount 1st and 3rd and then we'll be off to the races.

Oh, and some of the other stuff I did today was to spend an hour looking for a good brace for the 3rd slide. Bracing it like 1st makes this reassembly a snap. Once I found just the right one I took apart 1st, cleaned up the parts and also 3rd, then I realigned 3rd very nicely, reassembled 1st with a much finer alignment than it has sported for probably 25 years now, and cleaned up a bunch of parts for assembly.

I forgot to take pics. I have one of the corrected valve set with all the ferrules on that are not stuck on slide tubes. There are no leaks that I can find, but checking between the valves is tough. I will do that after it is fully assembled and has lubed slides. Then I will try to see if the between-valves joints leak.

Any suggestions as to an easier way to leak test these specific joints? All my slides and outer slide legs to runners are leak free. I just can't figure out an easier way to test between the rotors. Touching up solder will leave a mess that is easier to clean up with the valves assembled but off the horn, so I want to do this now.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:43 pm

I did some solder clean up that involved sanding, scraping, burnishing and the much hated buffing. Afterwards I hand polished everything to clean up marks where I could not buff.

Afterwards I cleaned off the buffing dirt, polish and flux in a hot bath with a lot of soap. (Brand hint: "You're soaking in it.") The strong soapiness of the water discolors the brass, so it comes out all brown and splotchy, but the corrosive flux and all the dirt are gone.

This evening I plan to work on the valve action, possibly doing some light lapping to the overly slow, brand new valves. (They feel very heavy compared to those on a fully finished Miraphone horn, so I am guessing they get lapped at the factory after the horn is built. I have one new one not being used and will play with it first to see what happens and how much of this I think I want to do.) I will judge the action "feel" by setting up all the linkages, paddles and such.

Friday I am hoping to have the bottom bow and bell on, and possibly the leadpipe, too. However, being totally honest here, I will probably not get to that point until Monday. We shall see.

Once this horn is finished and I have taken a few days off to enjoy PLAYING my baby, I will get back to the BBb branch fitment to see if I can get it up to having everything but the bell and leadpipe. (I still have work to do on that garland I installed. I am not happy with it and need to do some additional work.)

Here is what I did today.

The BBb horn gets a mixed bag of 5 old style rotors from three different horns. I leak tested all of my old valves and these five are the best I have. To get a workable 5th without having to buy another damned valve I used a 3rd casing with a 1st rotor and rear bearing plate. Very little had to be done to convert the BBb horn's slide legs and runners to make a set for a CC, with the 2nd slide legs being the only thing cut at all. BBb 1st became CC 3rd, BBb 3rd became CC 4th, BBb 4th became CC 1st, BBb 2nd had to be cut. I hand cut the decorative rings at the valve end of the 2nd outer legs. This set has the nice, stamped figuration on the top and bottom caps. The new valves on the CC do not have the figuration pattern on the tops but the back caps are unchanged.
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I hit all the alignment points this time. Last time I F-ed it all up. It was not bad at all, but the cumulative errors ended in a leadpipe that could not touch the top bow. Well, I fixed all that this time around.
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Since bent things, once unbent, do not always line up properly unless you take apart and fix every, little bit, you have to fudge some. This horn came to me with a LOT of work done by probably a lot of different techs. Someone removed the 4th slide from the horn and then replaced it without setting up the clearance with the top bow. It was canted outwards, but only because the runners are. The slide had impacted the top bow so many times over the ensuing years that there was a trough-like dent that the slide ran inside of — and they *still* rubbed together when you pulled the 4th out. I did some messing about and got the 4th slide to clear the top bow by about an eighth of an inch, which is about what the clearance is on my humble 410.
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I have found on this particular tuba that much of the alignment problems in the slides were put there by bad techs. Once outer legs and braces were disassembled, cleaned and the brace feet straightened and flattened (some had been domed to fill gaps that should not have been there. Once everything was reassembled very good alignment was possible with minimal fuss. One slide works really well and I completely eyeballed it; the hand-fitted brace was that well made. Nice.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Fri May 01, 2020 3:09 pm

I used some new inner tubing in some slides and it needed a little lapping. Two of the old ones needed attention and then a bit of lapping to remove a gritty feel that I could not get out using normal means. I have to lap in the brand new rotors a bit, too, since they still feel heavy and slow for Miraphone gear.

I had to address all the soldering mess I had made, too, so a lot of time was spent carefully scraping excess that was too close to another joint to want to heat and wipe, as well as stuff that was not nailed perfectly when I was torching madly away in the heavy winds. Most soldering was very neat and clean and not much heat was needed, but I had to use a lot of heat and a lot of solder in the 35 mph winds we had two days ago because that much wind sends solder all over the damned place. This is the single most frustrating aspect of having to work outdoors on these projects. (Yeah, in due time I will be looking for a permanent solution, but right now I am just hoping my income does not dry up due to the MSO not performing. I need to be a cheap-a$$ for another six months.)

So I did all the scraping, sanding, a bit of wire wheel work with the tiny ones made for my Dremel tool, then a lot of buffing with the tiny Dremel sewn cloth and cotton wheels. After that I did a really half-assed job hand polishing with Simichrome.

All this for three lunchtime photos.

Now my pot roast is consumed, tea gulped, and dessert snarfed, I am about to walk the cat (seriously, you should see this) and head back outside.

More later...

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Fri May 01, 2020 9:02 pm

Valves and slides lapped as needed. I hope it was enough, but I am always afraid of lapping too much. I can always do it again after the horn is up and running.

Tons of tiny detailed clean/buff Dremel stuff, followed by a full hand polish with Simichrome, but only at a so-so level; I will be doing this again after the horn is built. I am just getting the details while I can still get my hands in there. Button up the horn and lots of these places become inaccessible.

Tired. More later. Goodnight.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby The Big Ben » Fri May 01, 2020 10:59 pm

You have made real progress! It's going to look good and you will be fairly satisfied with all the details you took care of.

Would love to hear a recording of you playing it when it is finished.
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