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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bort » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:57 pm

That cat's lucky she's cute... !

Excellent, Wade, in every way. I'd ask you to guess how many hours you had invested in this, but... maybe humans can't count that high? :)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:59 pm

Absolutely Beautiful! Thank you for documenting your work so thoroughly through pictures and text. Enjoy the horn, you've certainly brought it to a place where it needs to be played! :tuba:
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby Ken Herrick » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:01 pm

Bravo!!! Very well done - I just wish I was making some progress on mine. I think you will get a lot of pleasure from the result of your work.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bisontuba » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:22 pm

Congratulations...great work!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:29 pm

Cat approved. Anything after that is gravy!
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary CC King...
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:41 pm

Thanks, guys! This is actually my main work horn. I have missed it sorely this past season. The trombones and trumpets will be glad to see it back on stage as they also like it a lot. (The horns seem to prefer the Holton, and I am hoping to make them happy in the upcoming season, too, by finally finishing it—by September, if possible.)

The cat is quite cute. Her name is Ginger and she loves to sit with me when I am at my workbench. She initially got into stuff, but she has learned to not do that now. She is a true shop cat. ;-)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby roughrider » Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:44 pm

Great to hear about the Holton!
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:35 pm

Today I started working on the cut branches and large ferrules of the BBb 186 to better fit everything together. I did a lot of re-tapering, a lot of work on the dent machine smoothing that stuff out, and then some heavy spot-buffing to remove the lead from all the cracks and holes in the two outer branches. This also makes it easier for me to locate any additional holes or cracks.

Tomorrow I will try out the new product I got for crack repairs. I am excited about it as the potential it there for making silver soldering much easier using my Uniweld air/acetylene torch. (Yeah, I need a large-headed torch for annealing or disassembly, and I need an oxy/acetylene torch for brazing. But I have what I have.)

Before I can really get into the cracks I have some rebounding work to do, as well as some work with the larger dent balls. I really wish I had some rounding rings. Fixing this bottom bow with the tools I have is going to be one step above fixing it with a ThighMaster; I'm having to round sections of the bottom bow by squeezing it between my hands or legs! Not good…
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Here are the shortened and (mostly) re-tapered branches, before and after. Lots of work to do to the shapes of these. Then the cracks and holes can be addressed.

I am not yet happy with the taper of the top bow as it enters the ferrule to the bottom bow, but EVERYTHING FITS, NOW!
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All cleaned up. Now I can sand and buff the lead off of all the cracks and holes and look for any I have missed. I still have to hack out about an inch of the 5th branch (the pretzel) to make it fit with the CC waterkey elbow.
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CRACKS! Bottom bow. There are around ten of these cracks, varying in length from a quarter inch to two inches. After the final dent work and reshaping of the bottom bow seam there will doubtless be more of them to fix.
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Bottom bow…
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Bottom bow…
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Top bow. The top bow is just about fine, except for these two monsters.
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Top bow. This one is over an inch and a half with a big, gaping area that has to be filled. Ugh…
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Same crack but from a different angle. I needed to pick at it and buff it until I could clearly see exactly where the crack ends. It does NOT continue beneath the nickel silver guard cap, thankfully. Under the guard the top bow is still solid.
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Bottom bow… This was an Old School repair. The bottom bow had been badly smashed here (on the front, just below the ferrule to the top bow) and someone who did not have enough money to pay to have the bottom bow removed to have the dent work done done correctly, opted to go for the budget repair. A brass rod or drift was soft soldered to the low point and then popped upwards, pulling the dent out a bit. This was done a bunch of times at this location, and at some point the metal became a bit too annealed and the rod pulled free, taking a small bit of the bow wall with it. So there is a hole here with a few radial spider cracks. This is out in the open and is worse than the photo shows. I might opt for a simple patch here. I'm not sure. Today this could have been fixed in a few minutes without opening up the two largest joints on the tuba by using very strong magnets and steel ball bearings.
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Bottom bow… Ugly, but solid metal. Thankfully, most of the two bow seams are like this.
Image
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby The Big Ben » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:16 pm

Those parts have been through an ordeal !
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:16 pm

Yeah, and I may not be the one who can solve all these issues and have them both look and function decently. But this is a dead common horn and I am not into it for very much money at all. So why not have some fun with it and get some additional experience as a part of the deal? I just hope I don't embarrass myself in the process. ;-)
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:32 pm

Today I tried out a new-to-me product to help with silver soldering. I am excellent at many things in this field and I am very good at some, only decent at others, and not very experienced with some.

Silver soldering is onerous to me because of a wicked injury I witnessed back when I was an apprentice (1995) followed quickly by an injury I suffered using the same faulty torch. (I know it was faulty and not my fault, nor the fault of my colleague who was injured the previous week, but it freaked me out enough that I tend to avoid it.)

Anyway, within the tasks one can accomplish with silver soldering I do very nice work on certain things despite my hating to do it. I make some excellent levers and mounting brackets — things like that. Crack filling is one area, however, where I have little experience. My former employer did not like us filling cracks or holes. Despite it being superior both structurally and aesthetically AND being much faster (read: LESS LABOR TIME) he forbade us filling cracks. So I never learned. Instead, we all were top-notch at making some very nice patches. (I hate perpetrating ugly-assed patches on peoples' horns. Just sayin'…)

Today I got to do some learning and practicing. It was not all good, but in the end, all the many leaks in this tuba have been stopped.

All five valves have been swaged, have cleaned up actions, have been assembled as a stack, and have slides 1, 2, and 3 installed to them. The branches have been cut and (mostly) re-tapered (along with the five large ferrules). The major dent work has been done. Lots of fine dent work is still needed; lots of rebounding work needs to be done to get the bottom bow looking more or less correct again. I need to fix two braces with torn-off feet. I need to spend a good part of a day trying to clean up the inside edge of the bell Kranz (which looks like caca right now). I also keep forgetting to chop out about an inch from the middle of the 5th branch so that it matches the part used on the CC 186. They are NOT the same…

Here are some laughable photos of my craptacular crack and hole filling. It looks pretty so-so right now, but I am happy enough to move on to the top bow guard repair and reinstallation. (The bottom bow guard may have to be replaced. It is t-r-a-s-h-e-d…)

Be nice. I am back in learning mode for the first time in a long while. I will clean up all this as I go. The bottom bow stuff is gloppy to ensure no leaks. It will be covered up, so appearance is not important. The work to the top bow, however, is completely exposed, so I will look after it later on.

Inside of the large end of the top bow. These are the penetration spots of the huge crack and the hole opposite of it. It is actually very flat, despite the crappy lighting in the photo. You cannot feel these spots. I was worried that the solder would flow inside these openings and cause lumps that would not allow for dent balls to push through easily and would be difficult to flatten without re-opening the holes.
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Before. This is the front face of the small side of the bottom bow, just below the ferrule to the top bow. It looks to me like a burn-through from careless torch work. And then there are those two stretched areas that have been butchered by being pounded flat over themselves. Thanks to whoever did this. I will not be trying to fix it. "She stays as she lays." :evil:
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There are still pits, and you can see them because they are filled with buffing dirt. But the metal is now solid right here. It had been paper-thin and very fragile. Now it can bear a load. I tried running some dent balls beneath it and alles ist gut.
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Before. This is the hole in the front face of the large end of the top bow.
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After. I think this one actually came out rather well.
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Before. This is the long crack (with that big gap to fill) that is on the rear face of the large end of the top bow.
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After. I did not realize that the final shot of this joint did not come out until I had packed up the outdoor shop and brought everything back inside. All I got was this shot I took after the first try with the new silver solder paste. The pitted end (scratched up looking for leaks) was done using the paste. The upper half (including the big gap at the elbow of the crack) was done using traditional paste flux and silver wire. I am not convinced I understand how to use the new paste, so I will hold off cussing defaming this product. I must have used it incorrectly. I'll get better. The joint actually looks much better than this now. I went back and cleaned up the lower half after this photo was taken but my finger or something was partially covering the phone's camera lens.
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The following are random Before and After shots along the bottom bow seam. They are not paired up.
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Ugly af but filled and not in an area where it needs to look pretty.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:01 am

general comments for anyone's consumption:

> Allied "Slime-Away" works surprisingly well as a pickling solution (to clean up silver solder repairs and remove crusted-on paste flux). It's a great short-cut for clean-up. (It probably greatly diffuses the acidity of the "Slime-Away" solution to do this, so it might possibly be advisable to isolate a small amount of the solution for a pickling job.)

> For seemingly stubborn cracks, bending a little piece of small-gauge copper or brass wire to fit right into a crack (and yeah...it can take a bit of time) can act as a "bridge". I've used this technique - more than once - to repair high-end/vintage bassoon bocals - where their seams have failed. This technique also tends to "guide" the silver solder towards the crack (rather than just running all over the place).
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:37 pm

I have a good pickle. There is no "glass" in any of those photos. (Perhaps the lighting is making you think so?) No, that mess is the solder itself. (A lot of it is the factory spelter, which was very poorly cleaned up. It is everywhere.)

As I said above, the new silver solder paste I was testing runs *everywhere* except into the cracks. The cracks were properly cleaned, and I had zero issues with plain old silver wire and paste flux.

Thanks for the tip. (I have five gallons of Slime-Away, but I don't use it much. I have better luck with muriatic acid.)

Today I worked on the final fitting of the re-tapered ferrules to the re-tapered bugle branches. This beat-up stuff will never look new, but it is now whole again, and it is starting to look pretty good. However, I am having to buff way too much for my liking.

The issues today are with the overall physical shape of the bottom bow. Ideally, you would have rounding rings to do this, and I have exactly zero of those. That means I will have to do more rebounding work, and I think that Tabor may have had to do a lot of this to open up the crushed bow, and that may have led to all the cracks and holes. I am pretty certain I will get this into decent shape and will then find all sorts of fun, new cracks. Maybe not, though…

The dent machine work to the bell end and the large end of the bottom bow caused both to expand just enough that the ferrule no longer fits either part well. The bell end is *okay* but the bottom bow end sucks. (I had to use too much pressure to remove the crumpling at the end.) Anyway, if it nice and smooth now, and I did not have to resort to sanding, which I think gets done way too often to horns that have been smashed. It is a time-saver, but at the expense of the instrument, IMHO.

For my Monster Eb project, I made a tool that I call a ferrule hammer. It was a bit too small for this large ferrule, but I made another one yesterday, and I was able to force the ferrule on at the correct depth and angle after about an hour of tedious work. The ferrule now fits both the bell and bottom bow quite well; there is no gap between the ends of the bell and bow, and the ferrule fits tightly around both parts without gapping. Nice.

After lunch, I will look at some final dent work to the small branches and I will try to pound the flat areas of the bottom bow back out so that they no longer look like giant 20J valve ports in crosssection.

The other ferrules fit their small-side branches just fine, but a couple of the large-side joints are still too tight or keep the parts too far apart inside the ferrule. I will work on that soon. Once that fine dent work is done to each branch I can address this last fitment problem and then I can assemble the inner branches with the partial valve section and top bow.

The top bow is *heavily* pitted and had been brutally buffed in the past. I have had to lightly buff that section of the bow twice now and am really uncomfortable with the idea of doing that again after the bow guard is installed. The metal is not flexy-thin at all; I am just being cautious. This horn will not be lacquered, so I am worried about this six-inch section of the branch. I may install a large patch, but I am not good at making compound curves like that, and I'm unwilling to cut up another bow to get a patch. I have to think about this one…

Photo time…

Flat areas of the bottom bow that have to be raised by "rebounding"…
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The large ferrule and the bottom bow no longer are the same taper and diameter, so I can only get the ferrule up onto the bottom bow end about halfway, and there is a large gap. After about an hour of work, the two parts fit together correctly.
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The other end had no such trouble.
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I had no such problem with the fit of the next ferrule to the top bow. This one took only five minutes of work to seal up the gaps so that they fit each other correctly. (These two internal shots were taken before I had done any of the fitting work. I forgot to take "After" shots that show the fit and that the solder filled all the way from top to bottom in these large joints.) This end of the top bow was cut about 2.5" and the bottom bow end that fits into the same ferrule was cut by about 1.25" — meaning that the ferrule had to be heavily re-tapered, the bottom bow had to be "abused" and the top bow had to be expanded a lot. It all fits now.
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Some of the "fine dent work" I keep mentioning includes trying to hide the re-tapering of the top bow to fit the ferrule. You can see the lines where the transitions are. I think I can smooth those a bit more…
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Here is the initial cleanup of the five large ferrules and the solder seams. I still have a little more to do. When these get re-tapered sometimes a crease appears because the larger end did not get expanded enough to fit the now-too-large bow. For some reason, the opposite happened here. The crease was already there and I removed some of it. Go figure…
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I still have a little more to do. The large ferrule looks pretty ugly. I cannot hide any of that, unfortunately.
Image
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:08 pm

It looks like lots of fun to bring back one really "superb" 186-C, and to then save a thought-to-be-hopeless B-flat, and cut it down to a C (particularly since 186 tapers are manageable).

I have no idea what your final plans are, but I guess I'd hope to see you sell #2 for a good (for you) price, which would help #1 be closer to "no financial outlay"...and then - additionally (I suppose...??) offer out the good-playing Jinbao copy to a college or high school student...

Otherwise, it would be a hoot of C #2 outplays C #1.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:13 pm

Of interest… or not… three of the bugle ferrules cannot be installed by slipping the wide end over the small end of their tube and then snugged up into place. The two large ones can, but on THIS Miraphone 186 the three smaller ones must be slid onto the large end and then crimped into place by hammering it into a draw ring or some sort of die. I would love to see a video of them doing this at the factory. On the BBb instruments from this period, two of these are straight ferrules and only a very little bit must be crunched down to be snug. (On my CC these ferrules are all VERY tapered.)

But the 3rd branch-to-top bow ferrule must have to be pressed in some sort of hydraulic form to get it to fit. It *cannot* be removed from its branch, though it can be fully removed from the joint and then slide freely along the branch to the beginning of the crook. I wonder whether these were installed while the tube was still unbent, or if they actually did run it through a die. Either way, the sucker is way too long to make it around the curve of the crook. It is permanently captured.

[Another observation: This same ferrule is about three times the thickness of any other on the horn. I have a feeling it was designed to be this thick specifically so it could be pounded with a rawhide mallet through the forming die to crimp around the tube without deforming the end being hammered upon. I have no idea what used to be done to create this weird captured ferrule, but this *really* looks like the answer.]

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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:09 pm

' been there...even with some slide ferrules...

I have a fairly good collection of large draw rings, but might not be any that are quite the right size.

I've actually greased the insides of portions of old tapered bows and pounded those over annealed ends of needed-to-be-shrunk-down bows to (well...) shrink them down...and then painstakingly worked them back into properly expanding tapers (up to the needed final diameters). That stuff sucks. It must be nice to have tools made to do those things.

yeah...the "laying copper or brass wire in a wide-or-just-stubborn crack to be silver soldered" thing works really well. I didn't come up with it on my own...Someone showed it to someone who was shown it by someone else...etc., etc...
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:27 pm

Unexpectedly, tonight I managed to hand bend the CC top bow guard to fit the visibly skinnier BBb top bow; I did not think I could do that.

Both curvatures "opened up" some when I removed it from the fatter CC top bow. I don't have access to the type of heads needed to do that sort of bending on my dent machine. (Mine all are too wide.) So I have been wondering how I would do this. Tonight I decided to just do this sans the wondering.

I did not want to waste money on an expensive, new guard (in case this horn turns out to be a turd). I can easily replace this one with a new guard if I decide that the horn is worthy of some new parts. Until I make that decision this old guard will do nicely.

To solder it on I had to use a lot of wire. I hate using a lot of wire; the part needs to fit correctly. Usually, I like to use about three or four loops of binding wire to hold down something this size. Unfortunately, this part was so misshapen when I started, that, as close as I got it to fit, I still had to use about twenty loops of wire. Otherwise, there would have been gapping and edge warpage from the torch.

This is embarrassing, but heck, I saved a lot of money, so: WIN!

I have a lot of putzing around with cleanup and then more of that so-called "fine dent work" to finish this part off. Then the top bow, a severely abused, cracked, crushed, old beer-can-of-a-part will be ready to once again be part of a functioning musical instrument.

Pics mañana.
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:35 pm

Midday Break.

Lunch: scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, iced tea. Mercy…. 8)

I did a lot of small work on all five of the bugle branches. They look better now. Hooray for me.

I rebounded TF out of the bottom bow. Cracks opened up. They are very small and easy to fix. Excellent.

I then did about an hour's worth of work with the largest of my ball bearings and my "Commie" neodymium magnets. Once everything was as good as I could get it (for this stage) I cleaned it up and could see just how much more the bottom seam needs to be pounded open to make the bow round again.

In the stretch where all the cracking was it needs to push outwards by about a quarter-inch more. A PITA, granted, but I think I can do that this afternoon without splitting the dang thing open. That is along the seam for a run of about four inches. The rest of the seam around to where it just starts curving on the large side needs to pop out about an eighth of an inch. Once that has been done I can go at the thing again with my magnets and such. I think at the end of today it might be ready to go, including plugging any new leaks.
The old bottom bow guard from the CC is in decent shape, but it opened up like the top bow guard. However, once the bow seam has been punched out and the tube rounded a bit better I think it will fit fine. The guard is pitted and scratched up, but there are no real dents. I think it will be a good bow.

The top bow was a bit disappointing in that everything about that old guard sucks. It fits, but it fits in an ugly way. I can clean it up, but a bit of denting to the underlying bow happened and cannot be properly lifted out unless that guard is removed first.

No way. No freaking way. Nope.

If I like the horn I will buy new bow guards and do the dent work to that one spot before they are installed. It will be glorious. Until that happens it will have to be how it is. It is disappointing, but not too much so.

Pics of how the bottom bow looks in its current, unfinished stage…

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:mrgreen:
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby the elephant » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:05 pm

Ah, memory lane. This is a fun, little reminder of where these two horns started their lives with me…

The current horn, in its full school BBb POS plumage. Lovely…
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Here is my beloved "Dog Piss" CC before her rejuvenation, still a four-banger. And… uh… piss-stained :mrgreen:
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Re: Dueling 186s - Twin Restorations

Postby bloke » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:37 am

I like the Harbor Freight wall-mounted 110V metal-frame strip.
You and I may have both bought those when they had them marked down stupid cheap.
I still have not installed mine, as my room is such a blanking mess.

Just as with the B&S F tuba thread - which will hopefully inspire me to put a nice new finish on mine, seeing your mounted strip may encourage me to - not only mount mine, but - clean up my horrible room.

I suspect that tuba #2, there, will be a fine player.

I would really like to get back to the 0TS Civil War E flat (particularly since its rotors are tight), but Mrs. bloke (...and I don’t know how she is managing to do it) continues to coax a bit of money out of diverse/misc. schools to repair instruments that they are not even sure they are going to be using. As money is so scarce, I’m very thankful for her, and will smile while un-smashing these piles of sousaphones and other contraptions.
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