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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:
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Rough mock up:
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Removing the second valve to use as the fourth:
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Fitting the fourth valve:
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Sleeve soldered on:
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Mock up of valve circuits:
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Parallel-ing the first valve slide:
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Let the soldering begin!
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Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress

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 the elephant » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:14 pm

Excellent! Document everything in detail. Most won't read it all, many will simply skip it altogether. But there is a small core of users here who eat this up. (I am one of them, obviously.) It is to this small group you are writing. Also, you are posting stuff that will eventually be archived, so make sure your photos are hosted someplace that they can live for a loooooong time. My Eb build thread was ruined by Photobucket. I have not had the time or energy to upload all those many photos to my new hosting site and then sort them to what the text is saying. Many hours of work ruined because of that stupid hosting site. Keep that in mind as you work to update this thread and any future build threads that you want to see available to others for many years.

I have started to compile these threads (as I finish them) into text documents with the photos, to be saved as PDF files. I think it would be great if this place opened up another forum solely for storing these PDF files. It would sidestep the photo hosting issues by including them in the PDF files. It would give the builders a chance to go back and correct GSP and content and to remove false starts or major time wasters. It would also allow each builder to decide whether to include all the banter (as some if it brings out good information) or to exclude it.

I will make a few PDF files like this and see what Mark thinks of them, but that won't happen until after Christmas.

I have enjoyed watching you ingest all the advice you have received from people here and on Facebook and turn that into tangible stuff. Keep up the great work learning to do this stuff. I used to do this for a living many years ago. Now I make some money off it, but mostly it pays for more tools, more parts, more horns. It is like owning a Jeep: it becomes an obsessive hobby that costs a lot of money and time. (They say "Jeep" is actually an acronym for "Just Empty Every Pocket" and I would agree. For me, the discovery and learning is what is most fulfilling when I do this work. I could leave my horns alone or I could take them to someone to have all this work done. But I know how, I now have most of the tools, I have accounts with suppliers for my micro business, and I get to figure out some fascinating problems that actually keep me awake some nights when my brains locks onto an issue and has limited options, none of which is fully what is needed. Figuring stuff like that out is hugely rewarding for me. I know that is silly, but there it is. I do this stuff simply because I must have answers to certain questions and because some things look and function a bit off, and this obsesses me.

Keep it up. This is an excellent hobby that exercises the gray matter! Never let anyone tell you to not do something. You can decide that on your own, and sometimes the worst ideas will NOT leave you alone until you prove them to be garbage. It is a type of School of Hard Knocks. There is no one way to do something in this field. There are tons of tools, proper use of those tools and improper use of them. You are set a task and you have tools and you have to figure out how to get to where you want to go with what you have on hand, or you have to locate what you need and get it, learn to use it, and then fix your task. It never ends, educationally.
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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

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 the elephant » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:28 pm

They are adjustable parallels made by Starrett. There are six. You can scrounge them up used on eBay. As a full set brand new they are not cheap.

adjustable parallels

A *real* granite surface plate of any decent size costs tons of money... in the thousands once you have it installed on a proper table. However, what we do does not require such precise flatness over such a large area. I use this one set on plywood on my stainless steel work bench. It is only fifty bucks!

surface plate
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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 the elephant » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:03 pm

DouglasJB wrote: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


The material does not matter. To be a surface plate means a flat surface milled to within a few ten thousandths and certified. It is FLAT FLAT FLAT. The surface plate gets the tubes planar and the parallels get them, well... you know...

Granite milled for a countertop is not really flat to anything but feel.
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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.

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Jordan
King 2341 with a Holton "Monster" Eb bell
Eb Frankentuba in progress

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."
2001 King 2341UB BBb
1977 Fender P Bass
1970s King 3b Silver Sonic
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby hrender » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:53 pm

the elephant wrote:
DouglasJB wrote: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


The material does not matter. To be a surface plate means a flat surface milled to within a few ten thousandths and certified. It is FLAT FLAT FLAT. The surface plate gets the tubes planar and the parallels get them, well... you know...

Granite milled for a countertop is not really flat to anything but feel.


See if you can find a lab or fab that's shutting down and auctioning off their stuff. I know the company I work for just auctioned off a few such surfaces when they closed one of their facilities. Google "industrial auctions" and you might find on that's not too far away. Moving it might be the bigger challenge.
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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

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 the elephant » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:33 pm

Tubajug wrote: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...


Like.
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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

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 bloke » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:41 pm

It take a ton more time to install a 5th rotor...particularly if it is done well. (I've seen some "interesting" add-ons on customers' instruments.)

That having been said, it is really nice to have a real low A♭, a real low G♭, a real low F, and a real low E.

Again...
Often stuff that is worth doing is hard, a little bit pricey, and a little bit time-consuming...but - as those things are worth doing - those things adds pleasure, and - having accomplished things that are "hard", we find ourselves stronger.
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Re: My Eb Tuba Project

Postby YORK-aholic » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:19 am

bloke wrote:It take a ton more time to install a 5th rotor...particularly if it is done well. (I've seen some "interesting" add-ons on customers' instruments.)

That having been said, it is really nice to have a real low A♭, a real low G♭, a real low F, and a real low E.

Again...
Often stuff that is worth doing is hard, a little bit pricey, and a little bit time-consuming...but - as those things are worth doing - those things adds pleasure, and - having accomplished things that are "hard", we find ourselves stronger.


What he said. Plus, it is easier to do so now, rather than after its all together. Then you've got to either work around what is there/in the way, or take everything back apart and start from where you are now...

If you PM me the bore at the small and large end of the main tuning slide, I may have a valve that might work for you.
Some old Yorks, Martins and maybe a rotary King...
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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

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.

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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

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

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
5 valves
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE

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:

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Some "after" shots:

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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

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
5 valves
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:23 pm
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