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Stuck bottom valve cap


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BedfordTrumpeter
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Joined: 27 Dec 2007
Posts: 476
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:01 pm    Post subject: Stuck bottom valve cap Reply with quote

Hi all,

The first-valve bottom cap on my flugel is stuck, and has been since I took delivery of the horn last year (a used purchase). Aside from during a general horn cleaning, I have no reason to remove it. All the same, I'm wondering if anyone can pass on a home remedy for removing a stuck bottom valve cap? I don't want to do any harm by just grabbing it with pliers and going to town on it.

Cheers,

Paul
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VetPsychWars
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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Location: Greenfield WI

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whack it with a wooden spoon a few times and then, with a rubber glove on, try to remove it. Repeat as necessary until it's off or you give up and take it to a pro.

Anything more than that will ruin it.

Tom

Edit: This tool is FABULOUS for removing stuck valve caps (and works fine on jars as it was designed to).

http://www.evriholder.com/EasiTwist-Jar-Opener.asp
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Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
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Last edited by VetPsychWars on Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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A.N.A.Mendez
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Location: ca.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know what scotch bright material is, those green scrub pads? Take a piece of that just big enough for your pliers (I know, shudder) use it as the protection for your brass and a grabbing agent, proceed with light pressure and care. I have used this on dozens of horns over the years. You must squeeze just enough to grab and not slip but not hard enough to bend tube out of round.....
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try soaking it in WD-40 for a day. Then wrap the jaws of a pair of pliers in duct tape and gently squeeze and rotate counter clockwise. It should come free. If not, better take it to a pro repair person and, while you're at it, have the whole horn chem cleaned.
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A.N.A.Mendez
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We must have all been typing at once....Cool
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VetPsychWars
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must dissent from my respected compatriots. Do not allow pliers, regardless of padding, anywhere near your horn. Sooner or later, you WILL regret it.

See above plastic jar opener.

Tom
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Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
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Humes and Berg mutes
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A.N.A.Mendez
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While on the tool subject

USE OF TOOLS

HAMMER:
Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE:
Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL:
Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.

PLIERS:
Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW:
One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence it's course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS:
Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH:
Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS:
Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 inch socket you've been searching for for the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS:
A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL:
Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say "Ouch...."

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK:
Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4:
Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS:
A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE:
Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

GASKET SCRAPER:
Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR:
A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT:
A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST:
A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

1/2" x 16"-INCH SCREWDRIVER:
A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER:
A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

AVIATION METAL SNIPS:
See hacksaw.

TROUBLE LIGHT:
The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", which is not otherwise found under motorcycles at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm Howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battles of the Bulge. More often dark than light, it's name is some-what misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER:
Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR:
A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 60 years ago by someone and rounds them off.

PRY BAR:
A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER:
A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.
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BDJazz96
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Joined: 22 Oct 2005
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Location: Wilmington, DE

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please for the love of god do NOT use pliers of any kind or in any application. There has NEVER been a horn I have worked on that I could not get even the most stubborn valve cap off with a sharp wack from a canvas or rawhide mallet.... maybe a few wacks. Hit it right on the edge of the cap, not flat or against the side of the casing. Honestly out of all the tools I have in my shop, my little canvas hammer is probably the most valuable AND most used horn tool I have.
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BedfordTrumpeter
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Joined: 27 Dec 2007
Posts: 476
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much, folks. Turns out a gentle whack with a wooden spoon did the trick. There was some grit or gunk of some sort on the threads. I've now cleaned it off.

On a slightly embarrassing note, I have never previously owned or played an instrument with bottom-sprung valves. So, n00b that I am, I was completely unprepared for the spring to jump out at me when I removed the bottom cap. Gave myself a little fright.

Thanks again!

Paul
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Dan O'Donnell
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once put my valve in wrong on my new Kanstul 925 Flugelhorn (a day or two after Bob Reeves had aligned the valves) and the Valve Guide got stuck in the inside diameter of the Valve Casing.

Being highly intelligent as I am... ...I removed the bottom cap, and used a hammer to hit a piece of wood against the bottom of the valve thinking (or maybe not thinking) that would "gently free" the valve.

Results...I dislodged the insert inside the base of the valve...which then wedged crooked in the inside of the Valve...which caused the outside of the valve to get out of round.

My punishment...I took it to Zig and had to explain my incredibly smart approach. He wasn't as abusive as I expected (deserved) and charged (punished) me with a $90 bill for the repair (replacement of the bottom barrel of the valve).

My $90 lesson...When trouble arises...take it to Anaheim Band Instruments (A.B.I.) who has a great Brass Technician!!!
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oljackboy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The value of the leather mallet in overcoming high brass inconvenience cannot be overstated. I have found that I get the best results by spreading a clean terry cloth towel on the bench top, then laying the horn on it. I get my largest leather mallet and lay it along side the horn, then go off somewhere else for a few minutes. It is amazing how many times I have come back, put on my vinyl gloves and been able to unscrew the offending part.
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joe1joey
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Joined: 15 Oct 2010
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Location: Eastern Panhandle WV

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:28 pm    Post subject: stuck valve cap/s Reply with quote

Yeah, very old thread I'm sticking with (poor pun intended) in order to incorporate the discussion already layed down.
A wooden spoon or leather mallet, excellent though they may be in the right hands can lead to much more harm than good. It's true that most horns atrophy a bit if left uncared for as saliva with its additional nutrients, congealed mineral deposits, and simply gummed oil can temporarally freeze that cap rock solid. Then there's the WD 40 that can be added to the area with either tool...even PB blaster, warm than iced water in succession followed by a mallet/ club/ or plastic (even RUBBER jawed pliers). Besides the mis-hit and slip scenarios already pointed to in the other responses...what if ...on the off chance, its a cross threaded cap that someone figured looked better "all the way on"? I am getting to the point;
Take that horn down to a local shop and get it looked over. You don't need a high end restorer to help you out...that local gentleman or woman is an asset for you to develop a relationship with. It is in your best interest to let them assess your horn and apply those little fixes that can make a new life come out of your horn...and for VERY little. Stuck mouthpiece, slides, caps are all very inexpensive to have repaired. Often, in order to develop a networking relationship, and to encourage your loyalty, these services will sometimes be thrown in for the cost of an ultrasonic cleaning (which the horn needs at least once until you bathe it regularly with brushes internally). More times than not with an instrument that has frozen 'anything', also has a need for new felts/spacers and in short...at least an approximate alignment is the result. Your tech will test your horn once its together again to make sure that there aren't leaky spit valves, and for a couple of dollars give the trumpet new pads anyway. Cleaned/greased/oiled/semi to totally aligned...you'll have a 'new' player for about the same as one "oops" would cost you. At the same time, you are supporting the small business man that has been trained and certfied through Napbirt (see link below) that cares about what you do and will share his or her expertise to help you receive the most from the piece your playing. BTW...how much for 'all that?; generally less than $50. . Just that cap?; anywhere from free to free with a purchase of some valve oil. Contact the following if you are not finding a tech in your area: http://www.napbirt.org/mc/page.do;jsessionid=EDE2F46E7A470462DABE91BE852CE8A6.mc0?sitePageId=52481
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homebilly
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bicycle inner tubes are great for gripping these small things
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ferres Tools makes slide pliers, which come in small medium and large sizes. Not only are they used (with care) to remove sluck slides, but they can also be used to grip around a valve cap, and with a gentle twist, free them for removal. Large seems to fit best... and has been working a treat for years. You can use a protective sleeve if you wish.

As with anything on a musical instrument, using 'gorilla hands' will just cost you more $$$.

cheers

Andy
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a tool I use almost every week for just these applications:
Japanese, plastic-jawed pliers. That's right folks, you too can succumb to the insane impulse to repair your own horn and have a chance at success!

You can get these babies from Garrett Wade, they also have replacement jaws.

And I'll even give you the big caution on potential damage with these pliers - if you try to remove a bottom or even top cap, LEAVE THE OTHER CAPS ON! I found out the hard way, when removing one cap, it gave way suddenly and the edge of the pliers plowed into the threads on the next valve casing over, giving me a new problem to fix.

So have fun, and when in doubt, don't do it!
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found the best method is to not get them stuck in the first place. My tried and true method is really simple. Put a tiny amount of slide lube on the threads on the valve cap before putting it back on after a cleaning session.
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trpthrld
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RandyTX wrote:
I've found the best method is to not get them stuck in the first place. My tried and true method is really simple. Put a tiny amount of slide lube on the threads on the valve cap before putting it back on after a cleaning session.

Been doing that since the 2nd or 3rd year I was playing trumpet - never had a stuck cap.

I also don't "super-tighten" them - good & snug will do the job just fine.
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oljackboy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything on a brass instrument that has threads should be tightened just enough so that it doesn't come loose by itself. Light finger pressure is plenty for any threaded horn part.
I put a tiny dab of light slide grease on all threaded parts after cleaning.
Learned a little lesson last week with my flugelhorn, though. Thought I'd be clever and use heavy slide grease on the tuning bit, applying it down toward the end opposite the reciever. Had the mistaken idea that it would help keep the exposed bit grease-free, right?
Wrong.
All it did was migrate into the first valve and slow it down to unplayable.
Live and learn.
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veery715
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a pair of these, from working as a mechanic for years. They have never failed to loosen a cap.


I also keep my caps loose, and ofter during rests will loosen and just re-snug them. I have found that loosening often improves response. A dollop of lanolin on threads is a great idea.
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TrumpetMD
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RandyTX wrote:
Put a tiny amount of slide lube on the threads on the valve cap before putting it back on after a cleaning session.

Same here.

Mike
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