clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs? Bookmark and Share

clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby marccromme » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:15 pm

I am trying to find a suitable clear lacquer for small brass repair jobs:

- polishing and closing surface of small scratches and patches in original M&W lacquer on brass surfaces
- ditto on nickel-silver surfaces

Previously I used small 400ml spray bottles, but this lacquer does not hold against frequent touching (nitro-cellouse based, I think). And is somewhat tricky to apply on small scratches and patches.

Preferably I'd like to find a lacquer which is adhering good to brass, is clear and glossy, can be applied on small patches, and is not epoxy based. Preferably applicable with a small brush or similar.

What would you suggest as brand or lacquer type?

Add-on question: how to tone it in the proper Conn 112H or King 7B bass bone color, which is pretty yellow?
Yamaha YEB-321 Eb 4v TA tuba
Meinl-Weston 2141 Eb 5v FA tuba
Hirsbrunner Bb 3v TA compensated euph
Wessex Dolce Bb 3+1v TA compensated euph
Alto/tenor/bass trombones in various sizes/plugs
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby the elephant » Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:00 pm

Many, many shops in the US use this stuff for touchups. It is not as durable as factory lacquer, but it lasts for a number of years.

Nikolas Spray Lacquer

The clear is the usual choice, the gold tinted works well on the pinkish gold of Holton student instruments, and there is some dye listed as well, but that is for using the liquid form in a spray gun for use in a lacquer booth.

As far as adhesion, the metal MUST be super cleaned using a degreaser or nothing will stick to the metal well. The best stuff is Solvent 111 (Trichloroethane, more commonly called "chlorothane") and you probably cannot get that industrial solvent as it is very nasty stuff to handle. Here at my house I use mineral spirits.

You buff, wipe down, then wipe down again with the degreaser solvent that you end up selecting (please research metal degreasers before you buy, and purchase locally as I think there is a Hazmat fee to ship stuff like this). Once you are satisfied with your degreasing job (research that, too) you can spray on three to five thin coats over the worked area so that it overlaps the old lacquer. Allow the needed dry time between coats. If you get white spots or fog (called blooms or blooming) you have to apply heat right away to boil off the water vapor trapped under the lacquer before the lacquer becomes impermeable to the water. Research this also.

If you use the proper products and do some research you can make it look very nice.

Good luck. Message me if you need help.
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby marccromme » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:37 pm

Papa Legba the Elephant

Thanks for the pointer to Nikolas Spray Laquer - unfortunately I can't google it here in the DK. It does not turn anything up here. Can you tell me what kind of lacquer and thinner it is, then I am sure I can find similar products in the DK.

De-greasing I usually do not have any problems with. Soap+hot water, then cleaning gasoil, then alcohol uses to take everything greasy stuff.

Thanks for the answer! Marc
Yamaha YEB-321 Eb 4v TA tuba
Meinl-Weston 2141 Eb 5v FA tuba
Hirsbrunner Bb 3v TA compensated euph
Wessex Dolce Bb 3+1v TA compensated euph
Alto/tenor/bass trombones in various sizes/plugs
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby bloke » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:47 pm

1. Does this adhere to polished metal very well?
2. Is it available in Denmark?

When I was a kid, I straightened out a horrible King tuba bell with a rolling pin (detachable upright bell) and a huge metal cooking spoon (lower bell), stripped/shined it with Brasso, cleaned off the Brasso with lacquer thinner, went back over it with a polishing cloth, and BRUSHED on some clear lacquer from the hardware store (with my Dad's ultra-soft REAL camel-hair brush...and I didn't tell him that I had used it :shock:). I'm sure it was sold for brushing/spraying on to WOOD, but (considering my poor methods and epic inexperience) it looked ...well... "good" (and much better than before I did anything). Additionally, it stuck to the bell (at least) for the year that I used that tuba. (Back then, when students auditioned for "all-state", etc., there was no curtain between the applicants and the judge, and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to dress nicely, and make the tuba look better.)

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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby the elephant » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:20 pm

marccromme wrote:Papa Legba the Elephant

Thanks for the pointer to Nikolas Spray Laquer - unfortunately I can't google it here in the DK. It does not turn anything up here. Can you tell me what kind of lacquer and thinner it is, then I am sure I can find similar products in the DK.

De-greasing I usually do not have any problems with. Soap+hot water, then cleaning gasoil, then alcohol uses to take everything greasy stuff.

Thanks for the answer! Marc


No, not degreased to touch, but chemically degreased. You MUST do this or it will not adhere. Soap, alcohol, gasoline - none of these will work. You need to look into chemical degreasers where you live. If you only use the things you listed the lacquer will peel or bubble off the metal in spots.

Again, good luck! :mrgreen:
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby marccromme » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:38 pm

Thanks, I will visit one of the better lacquer shops in Copenhagen and inquire about the correct degreaser to use...
Yamaha YEB-321 Eb 4v TA tuba
Meinl-Weston 2141 Eb 5v FA tuba
Hirsbrunner Bb 3v TA compensated euph
Wessex Dolce Bb 3+1v TA compensated euph
Alto/tenor/bass trombones in various sizes/plugs
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby the elephant » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:41 pm

Oh, and avoid baked epoxy lacquers.

By the way, if you order directly from the maker THEY will ship internationally, even if most resellers will not. There is a $60 minimum order plus the cost of the shipping. Usually they ship UPS.

This page has some shipping info on it.

This is the product you want to use. It is great for spot lacquering, and can be used with larger products if you are very good with the cheap nozzles on spray cans. Otherwise it is best to use a spray gun with liquid lacquer and the various additives you need for humidity, drying, etc.

So if you really want a decent product and cannot find something locally, this would be a good answer. Most of use use this stuff regularly. However, the best bet is to visit a local band instrument repair shop and simply ask them what they use.
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Re: clear lacquer for small brass instrument repair jobs?

Postby marccromme » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:44 pm

Many thanks for the link to the lacquer! I'll first will try to find a similar product over here ... I'll be back later telling how it went.
Yamaha YEB-321 Eb 4v TA tuba
Meinl-Weston 2141 Eb 5v FA tuba
Hirsbrunner Bb 3v TA compensated euph
Wessex Dolce Bb 3+1v TA compensated euph
Alto/tenor/bass trombones in various sizes/plugs
marccromme
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Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:42 pm
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