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My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:38 pm

Greetings,

Since I've been making some headway on this project, I thought it was time I start a thread dedicated to its progress. My plan is to convert a 1918 H.N. White King Eb tuba to a front action horn with four (someday maybe five) valves. The valve section is from a Conn 12J with a fourth valve from a 15J. I plan on calling this tuba King-Conng or maybe King Kahn... I haven't decided... Perhaps a poll is in order? :)

I've got the 4th valve added and have been working on building the valve circuits. The second is soldered on (but missing a brace in between the outer tubes). The first is partially completed. I've got the top crook and slides paralleled and soldered and the outer tubes braced. Thanks to Wade "the elephant" and his suggestion of purchasing a flat granite slab and set of parallels online, the first valve slide almost moves as easily as a trombone slide. Kudos also go out to roweenie and bloke on this forum for their tips and suggestions. Thanks for looking!

The starter horns:
Image

Rough mock up:
Image

Removing the second valve to use as the fourth:
Image

Fitting the fourth valve:
Image

Image

Sleeve soldered on:
Image

Image

Mock up of valve circuits:
Image

Parallel-ing the first valve slide:
Image

Let the soldering begin!
Image
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Bclark14 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:24 pm

Really awesome to see posts like this, because these are the types of things I really would like to eventually do. I think some of those smaller Pan American Eb's would be really good for converting to F, because many of them have an extremely long pigtail main slide. I have heard that they aren't too shabby as Eb's, and by removing the pigtail, one could probably raise it to F without much alteration to any of the larger branches.

Where did you get the blocks for this horn? Did you take them off of horns you acquired, or were they removed when you got them?

Also, that setup you have for slide alignment is really cool! I always use a scrap sheet of brass that was leveled for my horizontal surface, but I have not seen that trapezoid setup before. Much easier than doing it by hand and checking with calipers for adjustment.. Looks like its time to make one of those for myself!
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:51 pm

The main valve block is from the Conn 12J in the first picture. The 15J block was purchased on its own (it's the one in the "rough mockup" photo).

The trapezoid parallel tools were purchased used on eBay in a set of various sizes. I don't remember the brand at the moment (the elephant was the one who told me about them).
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby DouglasJB » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:21 pm

I lucked out, I have several old pieces of granite that were being thrown away, once I can get set up, I won't have to worry about that
Meinl Weston 2141 Eb tuba
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:36 pm

I got the first valve all soldered together and cleaned up. Third valve will be next, but will likely take a while. The top crook is quite damaged, so I might try and make a new one by cutting a narrower crook in half and adding a straight tube between them. That will also give me more flexibility to adjust the width of the crook to fit better. I figure it might look ok given that the 12J crooks are "squarish" already. We'll see.

Image
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby BrassedOn » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:06 pm

Mighty pretty circuits.
"Do less, better."
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:32 pm

I got the third valve circuit all worked out and soldered together. I ended up using two wider crooks to make it work. I put a slide on the top and the bottom. I might need some thick slide grease or something because that lower slide moves so smoothly it almost falls out. Hooray for being planar and parallel! Next step will be to begin taking apart and de-denting the bugle and to reassemble it "flipped" for the front action valves.

Image

You can also make out where I "toasted" the felt on the third valve cap...oops! Gotta watch where that fire goes! Luckily I have other caps I can use...
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby DCottrell » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:08 am

If you are considering a future 5th rotor, be aware of the tubing on the bottom of the 3rd valve. A rotor placed after the valves, before the main TS, will need more room than you think. Look at Sam Gnagey's horns there is a big swoop to the tubing here to get it out of the way.

The other options are after the main TS (you'll need a larger rotor) or in the mouthpipe (IMO least desirable position). This is where my own Eb project horn is currently languishing in rotor placement limbo.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:29 am

Thanks for the insights! I have gone back and forth with adding a 5th valve to this horn. At the moment my plan is to complete it as a 4-valve horn and see what happens after that. I don't plan on using it for much that would require a 5th valve (mostly polka and the occasional tuba ensemble at the holidays and such), so we'll see. I looked into finding a rotor a while back and it looked like the only ones I could find were going to have to be after the TS somewhere. Thanks!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:28 am

DCottrell wrote:If you are considering a future 5th rotor, be aware of the tubing on the bottom of the 3rd valve. A rotor placed after the valves, before the main TS, will need more room than you think. Look at Sam Gnagey's horns there is a big swoop to the tubing here to get it out of the way.

The other options are after the main TS (you'll need a larger rotor) or in the mouthpipe (IMO least desirable position). This is where my own Eb project horn is currently languishing in rotor placement limbo.


I would love to see any pictures you've got of your project! Thanks again for the insight.

And bloke, thank you for appealing to my desire to achieve. I was really hoping to have this at least playable by December, but money and things being what they are, I won't be able to get a rotor by then. I guess I can wait... Thank you for reminding me that anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:50 pm

The time has come to start work on the body. The valve section is on hold until I get the body straightened out and can get a better idea of where/how to route the 4th and 5th valve tubing. I also need to wait and acquire a 5th valve, though I do have a lead on that (if anyone has need of the old valveset, let me know. Maybe we can work out a trade for something?). So here is the body all disassembled (my lovely assistant was kind enough to assist in the process):

Image

Here is a REALLY rough mock up (everything is just lying there. Even just looking at it like this, I really like the proportions of this tuba. It looks really nice to my eye. Hopefully I can add the 4th and 5th valve tubing without making it look too unsightly!

Image

In this next picture I highlight a few changes that will have to be made. The piece circled in blue is what connected to the top-action valveset, but you can probably imagine that if I put the new valves there, they would be really high up on the body. So, that piece will have to go and I'll have to make up the 4" lost somewhere else along the way. The orange square indicated where that piece will have to be cut and ferrule added to turn that dogleg around to the front to mate up with the large side of the main tuning slide.

Image

I plan to de-dent and clean up all the bows, branches, and bell as best I can with what I've got on hand. I would really love to send it out to someone to do professionally, so that it's all smooth and straight, but I can't afford that, so I'll do my best here at home!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:22 pm

I haven't had much time to do work on this lately, but I've got a little bit done. The last few nights I've been playing with different polishes to get the tarnish off of the inner-most bows (I still need to cleanse the inner vessel...). That 100 year old silver still shines! I also got the side bow guard off last night. Any ideas on how to tackle reshaping that bad boy with home repair-type tools (i.e. no dent machine, etc.)?

Here it is:
Image
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:37 pm

I've been getting a little work in here and there on the body. I haven't finished anything completely, but I thought I'd post a few pictures of what I've been doing. All I have to work with are steel balls and magnets (plus a muffler expander). The "after" pictures don't look much different I think because I haven't polished all the tarnish off yet, so the spots where the dents used to be are still darker. Anyway, have a look!

Some "before" shots:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Some "after" shots:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I imagine they will look more "de-dented" after I get them polished, buffed, etc. I still have more to do, especially with the bottom bow (it was pretty smashed on one side, so I'm still trying to get that out with my homemade stuff.

Thanks to Dan Schultz though for his suggestion using a muffler expander to shape the ends of the bows and ferrules. That worked very well! Thanks for checking in folks.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby roweenie » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:35 am

Tubajug wrote:In this next picture I highlight a few changes that will have to be made. The piece circled in blue is what connected to the top-action valveset, but you can probably imagine that if I put the new valves there, they would be really high up on the body. So, that piece will have to go and I'll have to make up the 4" lost somewhere else along the way. The orange square indicated where that piece will have to be cut and ferrule added to turn that dogleg around to the front to mate up with the large side of the main tuning slide.

Image

I plan to de-dent and clean up all the bows, branches, and bell as best I can with what I've got on hand. I would really love to send it out to someone to do professionally, so that it's all smooth and straight, but I can't afford that, so I'll do my best here at home!


Very nice work!

Why not just dispense with that blue-circled dogleg, and solder the 4th valve exit port right onto the small end of the male tubing of the MTS? The "lost length" theoretically doesn't really exist - the length will be made up in the mouthpipe (side action ones are, generally speaking, longer than top action ones).

If worse comes to worst, you can extend the length of the MTS 2" on each side.....this can actually be a plus, as an added 5th valve usually takes out about 2" of space of the tubing it is spliced into.

(Also, don't forget you've probably already added at least an inch, by adding a 4th valve to your valve cluster.....and, the actual diameter of the valves on the side action set are probably larger than the original top action ones. Make sure you remember to add the length of the valves, entrance to exit, into your calculations....)
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day".
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:20 am

the elephant wrote:None of those pics shows up in my browser, for whatever reason. I have not had this issue with any of your previous photos. It may be a privacy setting. I could view the pics before but now I can only see them if I open them in a new page or tab, and even then they won't display. The browser will only download them to my computer. I don't know what is up with that. :|


Hmm.... that's odd. I posted them the same way I did all the others (using a Google drive direct link generator).

And thanks for the thoughts roweenie. I had actually thought the same thing about adding a small piece of tubing between the valve block and small side of the MTS because I'll be putting the 5th valve on the large side. Good to know my line of thinking was on track!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:00 pm

bloke wrote:Have you done a pre-test - blowing through the well-sealed bugle (with the taper as it will eventually exist) to insure that the offered intonation will justify the project? (I didn't see that anywhere in the thread.) The scariest project I ever undertook was the cimbasso-thing, because there was absolutely no practical way to pre-test, and - until near completion - I only had a "hunch".


The short answer is no, I have not. I currently don't have a leadpipe for it (other than the one from the original horn and the one from my 12J carcass). The only part of the original bugle I will not be using is the "blue" dogleg. I'm trusting (hoping...) that the intonation will be close to what it was as a top action horn, which was very good. I haven't gone through and measured lately, but that will hopefully happen again soon. The original valve section was about 8 inches of horn, the leadpipe was 12 (the 12J one is about the same actually, but sticks way out the side of the horn when I tested it for fun), and I haven't measured my new valve block yet.

I have considered trying a stock leadpipe, but I am meeting with a gentleman in Omaha in the next few weeks to iron out my bell, talk rotor placement, and get his thoughts on the leadpipe (he has the equipment and the know-how to draw one for me).

To answer some of Wade's questions, in the photo below, the valve section is sitting as though it is connected to the small side of the main tuning slide (no blue dogleg) and I like where it sits in visual terms. The rotor I acquired will fit on the large side of the tuning slide (I couldn't find one small enough for the small side, and I thought a slightly larger bore would be beneficial for the 5th valve. I've read a lot about where to put 5th valves and people seem to be split over whether they should go on the large or small side of the MTS). I am considering putting it on two ways, either cut out some of the dogleg that would connect to the rest of bugle or simply add it to the end of the MTS or keep the dogleg intact, then adding some tubing between the valve block and small side of the MTS to keep it even on both sides (which would make up the 4" lost on that blue dogleg, but I still should measure as suggested to see if that really needs to be "made up" or not). If I go with the first option, that would put the rotor right under that tubing for the first valve, which makes me lean toward the second option. If it ends up being too long, I have some room to trim on the MTS crook itself.

Adding the rotor there and adding a couple inches on the other side would also move the MTS down toward the bottom bow, which would help fill in some of that space, but that is purely a visual thing for me.

Image

Thanks again for all the input. If I missed anything, let me know!
Last edited by Tubajug on Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:11 pm

bloke wrote:The top-action config. playing was a "test", as far as I'm concerned.


Ok, whew! I was afraid I was really missing something here! I had used it several times at certain Christmastime concerts involving tubas as well a couple of polka gigs. I even took it work (teaching band) and used it to play along with students (including a tuba trio with two students at one of our concerts). I've had it for several years before deciding what to do with it. It was because I liked it so much I decided to go for it and turn it into front action, five valve horn.
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Tubajug
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:03 pm

Here is a roughly drawn plan for where the 5th valve will go. The tubing will go behind the valveset on the backside of the horn (I posted an example of what I'd like to do, thanks roweenie!).

Image

Example:

Image
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
User avatar
Tubajug
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby Tubajug » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:13 pm

Greetings,

I've been working a bit lately and thought an update was in order.

I managed to get the bottom bow fixed up from being all smashed. I was really surprised quite honestly, with how smashed it was, that I was able to get it rounded out. Granted, it was all "home remedy" stuff, so it's not anything close to a professional job, but I'm quite pleased with it!

Image

The next thing I got done was flipping the dogleg around to be oriented for a front-action horn (this started life as a top-action). I measured and found a piece of Holton Monster Eb main tuning slide that would work as a ferrule. I used my dremel to cut as straight as I could, then dry fitted it. Success!

Image

Image

The next thing was just dry fitting the bows back together for fun. I still have to work on the bell (a tech in Omaha offered to let me come to his shop and show me how to use his mandrels and things to get it straightened out).

Image

Finally, I thought it would be fun to put it together for another mock up with the rotor in place. I did it just before lunch, otherwise I should have slapped some more tape on there and given it a toot, but I haven't cleaned out the valve section well enough lately and wouldn't want to bugger up the valves with grit and things that might still be in there.

In the mock up I simply put the rotor at the end of the dogleg, between it and main slide. I added a short section of tubing on the other side of the MTS to compensate. This put the MTS a bit lower than I had imagined it would be. I still have to measure everything to see if I need to cut into the dogleg to place the rotor or if my length is going to be close to the original with the rotor placed as pictured. It's starting to feel like this might wrap up this year! :)

Image

Still to do (in no particular order, and if you can tell me what I should do first, please let me know):
- Finish dent work
- Measure overall length
- Reassemble bows
- Procure tubing and crooks for 5th valve
- Plan and assemble 4th valve circuit
- Attach valve section
- Rotor linkage
- Make a new leadpipe

Happy Saturday everyone!
Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress
Martin Medium Eb Helicon

Used to own, but still a fun thread: Lyon & Healy Eb

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's probably not for you.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby roweenie » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:35 am

Very nice work!

If it were my project, I would (using your enumerated steps:

1) achieve a dent-free bugle

2) measure overall length, including valveset and estimated length of the MTS and proposed mouthpipe (keeping the length of the bugle up to the end of the dogleg as a separate number, adapting everything after that first, including the length needed to splice in the 5th valve)....going from top-action to side-action, you will likely need to ADD length after the dogleg....

3) reassemble bugle and simultaneously mount valveset (smaller bows and dogleg can sometimes need slight adjustment to seat valveset properly)

4) plan and assemble 4th valve circuit (make sure you leave a clear path for the mouthpipe to the 1st valve port)

5) mouthpipe

6) 5th valve circuit (I like to keep the 5th valve loose in place, so I can rotate it as needed when assembling the tubing circuit)

7) 5th valve linkage

Clear soft PVC tubing is helpful in estimating length after the MTS during assembly:

Image

I use wood shims to line stuff up during assembly:

Image

I'm just an amateur, so YMMV. There are others here that have much more experience than I do - I hope they will chime in....

Good luck! :tuba:
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day".
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