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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue May 19, 2020 12:41 pm

Nah, I have one of those. It is about four inches long and about 3/8" thick. This is a small and thin stop rod and not an adjuster that self centers. I do not see any slide stoppind rod on these horns in the pic.

I can place the self-adjuster and the stop rod side-by-side in a pic, if you like. No, this little thing is from a trombone, and I think it's one of the ones with the tuning slide in the hand slide. But I really don't know. But I am not married to that idea at all.

Whatever, it is nicely made and very old.

On with this project…

Today I am starting to look at the 5th circuit and its two slides. I just did a mockup to see how they fit. The two Jin Bao crooks, the dogleg and the Michael Escher-looking part all seem to fit. I cut old Mirafone inner and outer slide legs of the correct length and that are not too loose from wear, I have one Mirafone brace, and four of the braces are Jin Bao, but not sent to me in "kit form" (where I file them to fit and hard solder the feet to the posts) but came pre-assembled. The four brass parts came to me through Wessex, as did a complete set of ferrules and those kit braces. The pre-assembled ones were procured through Tuba Exchange. They stopped selling the 410 years ago, but when they did carry it they liked to keep parts in stock that they could sell to other shops or customers, so they ordered up a bunch of all the braces, pre-assembled.

Of course, the four JB pre-assembled braces are all a bit too long, so I have to think about that. I am about to send an order to Miraphone and these would not cost much more, so maybe I will screw with getting these to fit when I install the 5th on the cut tuba.

Anyway, the crooks seem to be the correct widths, my slide legs are the correct length, the dogleg and Escher piece both fit and the single Miraphone brace fits nicely.

I will build the lower slide to make all this a lot less floppy when figuring out exactly where things have to go. Right now the best fit has the outer leg slightly covering the rear valve caps. I need to drag out my 410 and look at it very carefully to see what is up. Also, I suspect the JB lower crook is too narrow for an actual Miraphone. (It is not an exact copy of the 186; there are differences.) I have a brand new lower 5th slide crook and will swap that in to see how it affects stuff. It is just a few millimeters wider, and when dealing with really short slide legs that is like being off by miles.

We shall see. I already did my fooling around with the Holton 345 5th valve so I can order the needed parts from Miraphone, and I mocked up the 5th slides for the 186. I need to actually send my order in and I have to add some stuff to it, obviously, heh, heh…

Here is the mockup of the 5th circuit using the described parts…

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue May 19, 2020 6:38 pm

I just requested an estimate for a bunch of parts from our friends at Miraphone.

I listed a lot of little things needed for the cut BBb as well as parts I want for this CC, and I finally am getting back on the Holton project.

I am getting all the parts needed to build the 5th valve section the way I want, using all matching tubing (and not that mixed bag of stuff I have been trying to make work) centered on a nice, new 190 valve that matches everything. No more stretching or shrinking all that tubing!

I dislike the "new version" thumb lever I have on this CC right now. I also am not crazy about the parts collection I have for my 5th slide circuit - something is not quite right about it. I will eventually need all these parts for the cut BBb horn, so I am going to donate everything I have right now to that project. My "shopping list" includes everything needed to build the current 186 5th valve circuit as well as an old-style 5th thumb lever and all its parts. This will make me much happier over time. I am having trouble with joints on my right hand, and the position of the bar-style thumb lever hurts my hand a lot. The old-school lever works much better for my hand, so I think this was a good decision.

I'm convinced the shipping charge will cost at least $100 more than I paid last time, and what with the US Customs precautions regarding COVID-19 slowing delivery times waaaaaaay down I probably won't see this package until July.

Time for supper.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed May 20, 2020 5:09 pm

in another thread the elephant wrote:I am a hater of lacquer anyway, tinted or not.


Since we can see the light at the end of the tunnel on this very well put together 186, and forgive me if this has already been covered somewhere, but what are you planning on as a finish?

raw brass?
silver?
lacquer?
spray paint?
rhino liner?

Other than the last two options being silly, I really am interested to hear what your plan is.

Thanks for this meticulous build and documentation!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed May 20, 2020 5:51 pm

Raw brass, all the way, baby! All my horns have either been raw brass or bright silver plate.

[In addition to various lacquers not being to my taste, I dislike "satin" or "frosted" silver. I am a dyed-in-the-wool fan of bright silver, however. The issue for me is that I like to play with my acetylene torch far too often for any sort of silver finish to last long on my personal horns. (I like silver to be immaculate, but I have never had a horn with silver plate that did not also need work done to it. And solder loves to run all over the place on bright silver finishes.) I am a utilitarian sort of guy who has a true love of form following function in the case of machines, rather than the reverse. Form that follows function can be just as beautiful as function following form, or just form itself.]

Everyone is different. Apparently—in this community—I fall outside the norm in aesthetic taste, and I'm fine with that. I just despise being told that I like something for some reason other than why I actually like it. "You *really* prefer that "A" thing over that "B" thing because of blah, blah, freaking blah." No. I like the "A" thing for a reason the other person obviously fails to understand. I catch this sort of crap a lot here, and I always have.

Regarding this tuba, I will buff anything I can get to that does not look good to me after a good hand-polishing job using Simichrome. Then I will leave it for a couple of months out of the bag, in the corner, to turn that beautiful, shiny brown that I love so much when next to lots of highly polished nickel silver.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Fri May 22, 2020 10:52 pm

I spent my horn work time today fiddling with the top 5th slide on the CC. The Jinbao braces (all five of them, in fact) are too long. I had to squish both of the leadpipe braces in my vise down about 1.5 mm each. I finally think I have them fitting correctly, but the feet have to be recurved a little so there are no gaps when I solder them on.

The four short outer slide legs are rescued parts. They had been much longer ones from a BBb horn and had crushed "far" ends. The "near" ends were all fine. The ends rings on two match my horn's perfectly, and the other two are very close. The details are very crisp and clear. I cut them to the length needed for my 5th slides and they work very well. I have to notch the ends with the Miraphone double rings so they match. It is amazing how much this detail is noticed by its absence when they abound elsewhere in the horn; they really sick out when missing. So guess what I will be doing tomorrow…

This nonsense of fitting fixed braces into spaces that are too small for them sucks. It is right down there with silver soldering on my list of procrastination inspiration. Anyway, I am happy with the fit and alignment of the top 5th slide now. After the little rings have been cut into the tubes I can install that top slide. I have the dogleg measured and marked now; it is ready to be trimmed on the ends. I have confirmed that I have the Z-shaped Escher-esque runner from the valve to the lower slide oriented correctly; the two ends are slightly different lengths and radii. I have to assemble/align the lower 5th slide and double-check the alignment of the upper slide. I still have to remove the MTS and replace that huge brace with the correct one. (I still am not sure how I did that.)

The rest of my day was spent cleaning up left-over solder, stripping the lacquer, and rebending the feet of about 20 braces, some for the CC, some spares, and all of the ones for the BBb cut horn. Two from that tuba are missing one foot each. I was — miraculously, I think — able to locate one of those feet. I will silver solder that on in a few days. (That saves me about $15!) The other one is sorted in that I happened to have the EXACT SAME BRACE in a junk parts box. It is damaged, but it will be going on the BBb cut horn, so cosmetics are not so important; it just needs to not be cracking at the joints. (That saves me *another* $15!)

This was boring, tedious, dirty work, but when finished the parts look so much better and can be made to properly fit the horn again.

The upper 5th slide is wired in place so I can mock up some things to mark them for cutting. Note the missing rings from the bottom of the two outer slide tubes. That crap bugs me to no end.
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Here are some of the braces from the BBb horn. You can see the two that are missing feet. One was located, and I have another brace that exactly matches the other (with both feet, though). These had to be stripped and a lot of damage to the feet had to be fixed for them to fit tubes with no gapping.
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Here are the rest of the CC's braces plus a few strays, all cleaned up, with nicely repaired feet (well, mostly).
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon May 25, 2020 1:25 pm

I have to cut all those damned little grooves into the tube ends of all four outer slide tubes as well (as one end each of the cut-offs from these same tubes to net me two more lookalike ferrules) and I can then assemble the dogleg to its two outer tubes. Once that has been done it will be pretty easy to measure and trim the lower end of the Z tube and solder on *that* outer slide tube.

Then it can go onto the horn.

Totals in this set of parts:

Miraphone "vintage" — 13
Miraphone new — 1
Jinbao — 3
Total — 17

Then there's the five braces. One is Miraphone and fits perfectly. Two are Jinbao and have been made to fit through violence and the gnashing of teeth. Two Jinbao ones will not fit and I will have to use my Jinbao brace "kits" to cut them to fit better, then braze on the feet.

Yippee. :-/ I am so excited.

Actually, I need some iced tea and lunch.

I hope to have all the rings cut by quitting time today, but I am a lazy man, so who knows. I might go out and violate some social distancing rules at a restaurant instead. Mmm… iced tea… social distancing violations… perhaps a side of pasta…

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby Tubajug » Mon May 25, 2020 4:22 pm

Looking great! How are things with the BBb to CC horn? Or is it a race to the finish on the CC horn and then on to the BBb/CC?
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon May 25, 2020 10:12 pm

Yes, one horn at a time; it's all I can handle with my severely limited space.

The cut BBb is looking pretty good right now. I may have to buy the three inner branches in the end to make it play really well, but this is an experiment, so I am slamming it together with as many cut up and repurposed parts as I can, with any CC-specific parts coming from the CC I am working on right now. That way, when I have to buy new parts, all of them will go on the CC and the castoffs will go on the cut horn.

It has been fun watching your little baby coming along, too. Have you finished the bugle, yet? I saw that you were about to line up and install the dogleg.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon May 25, 2020 10:21 pm

Okay, that was more trouble than it was worth, but I cut some semblance of end rings onto all four of the 5th outer slide tubes.

I didn't bother with the two tube end stubs that I will be using as valve set ferrules on the BBb. I can Bovine Scatology my way through two rings off at one end of a tube, but since I am eyeballing this while sawing along a line of blue painter's tape, I did not feel up to laying down two lines right next to two factory cut lines.

It would have looked pretty mediocre, I believe.

Perhaps I will give it a try this week, but I think I'm through cutting these damnable rings for the present.

Before…
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After. You would not believe how much filing I had to do in order to not get any appreciable bevel on the outer rings. Rats...
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I think this makes a big difference from the photo in the above post. As I said, you do not notice these details unless they are missing here and there. Then they sort of stick out.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby Tubajug » Tue May 26, 2020 12:12 pm

the elephant wrote:It has been fun watching your little baby coming along, too. Have you finished the bugle, yet? I saw that you were about to line up and install the dogleg.


Thanks! Yep, bugle is all soldered together, down to the dogleg!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue May 26, 2020 1:49 pm

Like. :-)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed May 27, 2020 8:15 pm

The 5th circuit is on and more or less cleaned up.

I only did a halfway cleanup job because I am not finished. It was windy and raining so some of my soldering work was sloppy. (I *really* need to install an exhaust fan in my laundry room shop so I can do smaller soldering jobs indoors.)

I used my Dremel to buff away the excess solder. I did not bother with sanding much as the Dremel did an excellent job. I can clean things up more later on down the road.

Mostly I needed to get the flux off of things. This lives on my workbench right now, and one of my cats likes to sleep up against it. No flux on kitties. No, no, no…

I still have to make two braces from lookalike Chinese posts and feet, and I also have to remove the MTS and swap out the huge brace for the correct one out of my collection of them. (I am kicking myself for mixing these up in the first place.)

The horn is now fully playable, the intonation of the 5th valve series is excellent; low F makes me smile. The pedal range is nicely in tune with no slide pulling if 4th is set to be in tune for 24 combinations.

Slides in…
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Slides pulled…
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Pre-cleanup mess…
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Post-initial cleanup—not so bad…
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Top slide leans outwards by a degree or two. Rats! But this was the *only* way to line everything up with both slides having good alignment. The lower slide is perfect. Unfortunately, the top slide is still a bit out, but only just a bit. When I install the replacement leadpipe I can fix all this much more easily since the lower end is now fixed in place and where it truly needs to be.
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The lower slide brace in this photo was a beast. I cannot figure out why, either. The thing just would NOT fit.
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Angle across the two slides is off a little, too. Whatever. It still looks and plays great!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed May 27, 2020 8:44 pm

Very nice Mr. Elephant. Looking good and I’d imagine plays even better!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Fri May 29, 2020 4:43 pm

Attention

To the eight people who have contacted me: I cannot give *anyone* the "right of first refusal" on the homemade 186. It is not a tuba right now; it is scrap in several boxes. It will not be a tuba for a good while, yet. I still have a lot of cracks and holes to repair. Once that is done I can get back to reassembly. I will be working on this horn—on and off—but the 345 is next in line to be completed, not the homemade 186.

Please allow me to enjoy myself as I work on this horn. I am getting a lot of personal entertainment and education from this project, and agreeing to a sale would impose a deadline on me that would ruin my fun by turning it into "work".

If I decide to sell it there will be an ad in the For Sale forum.

And no, the CC I am about to complete is absolutely not for sale. That one is *mine*… :mrgreen:
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby Three Valves » Fri May 29, 2020 5:38 pm

Uh, oh, I fear the ranks of Mack Brass Artistes may be thinning...
Who needs four valves??

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sun May 31, 2020 9:47 pm

I got another request to buy the cut horn. Hmm... These are coming mostly from Facebook. I think they are not reading the whole story and think the horn I am working on right now *is* the cut horn. No. Not it is not.

Today I spent four hours working on a 5th valve from Jinbao. I don't think it had received any sort of lapping or other fitting work because it could not be fully inserted into the casing. The rear plate could only be hammered on about a third of the way.

It took some parallel pliers and some serious "grunt" to get it to turn at all once fully seated into the casing with the rear bearing plate hammered home. It took me all morning to get a nice, quick action that is light and free of noise. It is now a good valve. I do not give those bearings much time to enjoy life, however. They are some tiny-assed little things. They work well, for now, though. I like the valve now.

I will be using it on the cut horn instead of using the parts I have altered to work with the incorrect porting of my "compromise" valve made from Miraphone parts. If the cut tuba turns out to be worth anything I might retrofit an actual Miraphone 5th valve. But that is a big "if" right now.

The other half of my day was spent removing the MTS and waterkey elbow from the CC.
Some of you might remember that I was sort of pissed off about how my MTS brace fit with the horn reassembled. It made me feel like I have seriously missed the mark on getting things back together correctly. Well, I had not botched it. I had tried to use a new part and a part from a different tuba, and after all the damage done to this horn and all my work to correct it stuff just won't line up exactly the same.

Soooooo…

I cleaned up everything. Then I messed around with parts combinations for a while trying to decide which of my four MTS braces and two waterkey elbows would work best with this tuba.

Last week I had installed a new waterkey elbow and that made using the original TS brace impossible. <grumble>

So I used the next longest one, which turned out to be a .25" too long, jacking up the waterkey elbow to a weird-looking angle.
After a long bout of bending the feet to fit this particular tuba, I got things where I was pretty well satisfied. Then a huge gap opened up with the application of the torch, as this part had been buffed to death many years in the past. It was very thin at the edges of the large flange, so the gap unexpectedly opening up made a huge mess.

Today I went back to the original brace *and* the original-but-bent-to-fit-after-damage (I guess) waterkey elbow. It will only hold the MTS outer tube at a 15º angle, which pushes the MTS closer to the bottom bow (and <thankfully> the MTS brace foot). So I opted to remove two new parts and go back to the two old ones. Sometimes the old, bent up stuff just works better.
What a lot of wasted time.

However, the slide is now where I want it. It is better aligned on the horn's body and with itself, so it looks good and it pulls nice and smooth. (I realigned it first and installed a temporary brace to keep it that way as I fit it between the 5th branch and the waterkey elbow.

No wire had to be used this time as after all this work you had better believe that I made that stuff fit correctly! I simply put the parts together and soldered them. No binding wire, no drumstick pressure, no crutches at all. This horn has gone together like that almost 100% of the time.

I will clean up today's work after I install the waterkey tomorrow afternoon.

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Sun May 31, 2020 9:56 pm

Good, forward progress. I have plenty of days where I end up going backwards, so it’s good to see you moving toward the goal line!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Jun 02, 2020 2:25 pm

I wasn't feeling the magic today. (It was hot. Waaaahhhh. I know.) I only did some cleanup to the MTS work I did the other day, and I installed the waterkey. The old parts are more accurately made than the brand new ones, again, and this is frustrating. So I used the new cork, spring, and screw with the original waterkey, bracket, and nipple.

Since I opted to reuse the old, bent-up waterkey elbow (because some clever sot had done a nice job of bending it to fit with this set of parts) I had to contend with the poorly placed waterkey hole in the elbow. But hey, that's totally okay with me, as it is pretty much where *I* would have put it, which is not exactly the factory location.

The hole was drilled to the outside face of the centerline of the tube to allow water to drain while the horn was being played—it is at the true lowest point in that elbow when the horn is up. This means I do not have to sit up straight to get the water out. I can have the horn leaning slightly forward and to the side.

Using one of these traditional waterkeys (rather than something like an Amado) makes this noticeable, but I don't care. I am only pointing this out because it looks wonky to me—I did not drill this hole so far from the CL of the pipe. Just sayin'… HAHAHA!!!

Tomorrow I will probably use a whole tube of Simichrome in strapping and hand polishing.

I realized that I have one more structural solder point to do. The waterkey elbow is supposed to come into contact with the 5th branch (the pretzel) and there should be a dot of solder to make a direct contact "brace". This tuba was bent up enough in the past that there is a 4mm gap between these two points. I have to fit a bit of rod between them and solder it in place to help the MTS not have any sort of flex when it is pulled. I did not think it would make a difference, but that point really does need to be connected. I supposed that is why they do that at the factory. Duh…

My bell and bottom bow are clocked about a half of an inch off, so the valve section is just a bit too high for me to use a thumb ring and be able to reach the 5th lever. I am not sure what I will do about this. I do not usually use a thumb lever but I want it to have one and for it to be usable. Rats. I am *not* fixing that since everything else lines up so well.

DONE! Now I need to think about the length of my linkage arms on 1-4 as they are too long. I may just leave them.
Image

I got the area pretty well cleaned up. It helps when you don't have much mess in the first place. Mostly I had pink heat blooms.
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The alignment is just about perfect. What you see is a lens effect from not being perfectly centered over the subject. Trust me, the slide pulls fine and is not bent 15º out of true like the pic suggests. Also, it bugs me that the ceiling of my carport is so crappy that the reflection makes it look like my horn is full of small dents. IT'S DENT-FREE! I wish the pic showed that. Whatever. It's lunchtime, baby.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:22 pm

I have reached the END of the CC rebuild. <finally…>

I will continue this thread once I get back to work on the BBb partner of this tuba. I have no idea when this will be. I cannot finish the CC properly until I get the leadpipe, 5th lever and some braces, but for now I can take it to a gig and have zero issues with anything physical or mechanical about the horn, and now I have a much more accessible low range with the 5th valve installed.

I might post pics of the final work, but it may be months until I receive my parts from Miraphone, what with the international shipping situation being so bad due to the virus. I cannot get back to work on my Holton either; same reason—I'm awaiting parts.

This means I might very well start up the crack and hole filling on the top and bottom bows of the BBb horn tomorrow. Probably not, but this might happen.

I have two old projects that I would like to get on, too, so I may work on them. (I also have mucho yardwork to do.)

I told myself I would reward my work on this CC tuba with a new gig bag. Back when I thought this would be back in December of 2019 I used some bonus money from the orchestra to buy a leather Cronkhite from the guys at Torpedo. I ordered it in early October. It did not show up until sometime in March, just before the 12th when everything tanked, nationally. I got it just in time, I guess. And the orchestra's bonus check paid for all of it, too. Thanks, boss!

Since Ginger *loves* gig bags and tubas she was excited when I loaded the 186 into its new home for the first time, ever.

Here are some pics of my initial cleanup work. This was 100% hand polishing, and I ran out of Simichrome about halfway through, so I am done until I get more. Once that has been done I will disassemble the horn and clean the snot out of it, chemically degreasing it afterward. I *might* try some of the nice Renaissance Wax stuff this time, too. I hear either great or terrible stuff about it. Time for some direct experience with it.

Note that the gap between the waterkey elbow and the 5th branch made the connection rather weak feeling. It is nice and stout now as I managed to locate a tiny pin brace of just the right size. It is *very* thick metal, so bending such tiny feet to fit the Miraphone tubes with the centerlines of the curves being offset by about 40º was a massive, unhappy PITA. But it is done. The fit is good but not great. The front side has a gap, which pisses me off since the side no one can see is perfect. (But of course…) But that gap is small and it is filled and the soldering was quick and neat.

Now for the black leather hørn-pørn…

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby groovlow » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:55 pm

Super...I love Mirafones.
Great job, love the descriptions of you, the work and the elements.
i enjoyed the superb photography too..
Thanks for the huge contributions to TN :tuba:
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