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Which valve oil do you use?

Postby lost » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:54 am

Time to reorder some oil and I want to try something new.

Since we haven't had a good old fashioned valve oil discussion in awhile.... what is your horn and which valve oil works for you?
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby oedipoes » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:23 am

Hetmans for all rotors (Miraphone Eb and Rudi BBb) and La tromba medium for pistons.(Besson Eb and Conn 36K)

Works perfectly!
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby pauvog1 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:23 am

I usually use hetmans
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby iiipopes » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:55 am

Roche-Thomas.

Ever since I started playing brass in the early '70's. I have tried others. I have used up the "leftover" bottles of various brands that were in the case of used horns of all kinds I have purchased over the years. I have taken advise from others on what is "best." I always go back to Roche-Thomas. I have said "Thank you" and tried others offered to me when I would run out in the middle of a rehearsal or concert. Nothing comes close to reliability, ease of application, does not dilute, does not react with slide grease, does not get sticky, gummy, gunky or foamy (as does Hetmans), lasts a long time between needing to re-oil (unlike Al Cass and Blue Juice), and comes in a large 16-oz bottle that is economical (@$11) and will last years as you refill your one- or two-ounce individual bottles that you keep in each instrument case.

Worn valves or antique horns? As you dispense the Roche-Thomas into your horn case individual bottle, it mixes well with a couple of drops of pharmaceutical grade mineral oil to thicken the viscosity to seal the valves. You can get a bottle of mineral oil for @$2 at WalMart, which you can then make your custom mix for your particular valves, and it is a helluva lot cheaper than Hetman's "Classic."

Being a conventional oil, when it comes time to clean the valves, casings and slides, it cleans off much easier as well, so you can reapply fresh oil.

Did I say Roche-Thomas?
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Donn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:13 am

Unscented lamp oil thickened with a little motor oil. Any weight motor oil is fine, I just collect the drips that are left after adding oil to a motor vehicle. I use this on several tubas, one with rebuilt pistons that are reasonably tight and others that aren't so tight; the weight is infinitely adjustable.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Voisi1ev » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:45 am

I use highly processed and screened oil from a male virgin narwhal with a horn shorter then 6 feet.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby roweenie » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:48 am

Ultrapure lamp oil with a few drops of mineral oil.

https://www.google.com/search?q=al+cass ... gws_rd=ssl

$6 for a bottle of valve oil is ridiculous.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Kirley » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:44 pm

Voisi1ev wrote:I use highly processed and screened oil from a male virgin narwhal with a horn shorter then 6 feet.


Lacquer or silver plated? :)

In all seriousness, I actually appreciate threads like these.
I think I might venture down the lamp oil path. I've always been a "use whatever's around" type.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby hrender » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:45 pm

Bell's Super Lube, but it seems to be out of production. I'll be trying Monster Oil when I run out of Bell's.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby nworbekim » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:13 pm

Donn wrote:Unscented lamp oil thickened with a little motor oil. Any weight motor oil is fine, I just collect the drips that are left after adding oil to a motor vehicle. I use this on several tubas, one with rebuilt pistons that are reasonably tight and others that aren't so tight; the weight is infinitely adjustable.


what might be a good mixture to begin experimenting with? i'll start with one of the small valve oil bottles like the instrument rental stores put in the beginner's cases, filled with lamp oil... i have a bottle of mobile 30 synthetic that i used in a vehicle we no longer own.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Donn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:04 pm

I don't measure anything, but it's probably less than 1:10 motor oil, enough to color it just slightly. Bloke may have made more of a science of it. There's probably nothing wrong with synthetic, but I have used only "natural" so can't say from experience.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby bloke » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:32 pm

I don't bother adding anything to lamp oil.
I rarely play more than 1-1/2 - 2 hours.
I oil my instruments each time I play them.
I try to buy two half gallons at a time from Amazon, which makes shipping free and lowers the cost to about 26 cents per oz.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:09 pm

I add enough Marvel Mystery Oil (mostly mineral oil, but looks and smells more interesting) to turn the lamp oil dark pink/light red.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby nworbekim » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:24 pm

Donn wrote:I don't measure anything, but it's probably less than 1:10 motor oil, enough to color it just slightly. Bloke may have made more of a science of it. There's probably nothing wrong with synthetic, but I have used only "natural" so can't say from experience.


I'd like to have my bud try this in his 2341 clone. the instrument plays great, but the valves are fussy and it's a bit of an aggravation. I suspect whatever slide grease he uses is oozing down into the valves. he takes them out, wipes them down, re-oils, and they're good for a while.

the lamp oil cured a similar problem I was having after I used lanolin on the slides of my TE1914. I started using straight lampoil, cleaned that stuff off the slides, and after a bit, the problem was solved and I haven't been bothered.

I just didn't like the odor, but I was using a lot of it... Maybe a smaller amount won't be as bad.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby Tom » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:11 pm

Mostly La Tromba T2 valve oil "special."

I bought a case of this stuff (12 bottles, I think?) somewhere around 2004 from Jimmy Cara (former trumpet player with Dorsey band and others). I like it and have enough valve oil to probably last the rest of my life. I haven't purchased a bottle of valve oil since then, that's for sure. Looking around, I see it's not cheap, but I don't remember paying tons of money for it - guess I did?

Honestly though, I've used whatever has been most convenient many, many times without any issues. I've got partial bottles of all kinds of stuff I've accumulated over the years. Sometimes I actually try to use up a mostly empty bottle, but 99% of the time I just use whatever bottle I happen to have in the gigbag or easily accessible. Good valves seem to work good with just about any oil provided they are reasonably clean and have no actual mechanical issue or damage. I oil my valves each time I play the instrument.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby the elephant » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:28 pm

I use a mixture of mostly spit with a bit of whatever I just ate. Works great for me.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby lost » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:35 pm

Would anyone recommend blue juice? Seems like a better deal in price and quantity.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby DouglasJB » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:59 pm

After trying several I really like monster oil, it really works well for my horns
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby DonShirer » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:21 pm

I used to use a 7:1 mixture of pure lamp oil and 4in1. Worked fine and was inexpensive, but I had to re-oil every other day. I finally switched to Yamaha oil which lasts longer and doesn't smell as much.
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Re: Which valve oil do you use?

Postby the elephant » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:29 pm

lost wrote:Would anyone recommend blue juice? Seems like a better deal in price and quantity.


Blue Juice is great for some valves that are not too tight or too loose. It can have a buildup but I never experienced this. I like the smell. Some don't. I used Blue Juice exclusively for many years.

It was lousy on my Yamaha 621 F, which had, even after lapping and many years of use, very tight pistons. They would hang all the time. Part of that may have been the felts I used, which would occasionally drop a fiber and it would get between the very top of the piston and the casing and cause hangs.

Oddly enough, over my career an instrument maker's label of valve oil was usually the cheapest gunk available, the bottle in the case being more of a courtesy than anything else, like the chapstick-like cork grease that you get in your new Vito clarinet package, along with a few bottom-of-the-barrel reeds.

However, after years of testing, I believe the claims Yamaha makes about its synthetic lubes are absolutely justified on Yamaha valves, and I like it on my Holton 345 and my Kurath F, both of which have NIrschl-made piston sets. I love the stuff.

I use Monster Oil lubes on my Mack 410 and the 2165. I really like this stuff, too.

I have mostly stopped using Hetman's stuff. The yellow-green buildup is frightening, looking vaguely radioactive to me. :lol:

I still use Hetman's stuff for many rotors and for bearings and linkages. I love his slide lube, too; it is stiff enough and does not seem to travel.

All good products.
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