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Toothpaste For Sticky Valves


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Bob Stevenson
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some observations in no particular order;

1)When you brush your teeth using toothpaste you are using a mild abrasive to clean something by loosening detritus using brushing.........When you run your trumpet valves up an down with toothpaste between the valve and jacket you are using a lapping compound to 'lap' the surfaces against eachother, thus, by definition, removing metal to attempt to enhance the fit and finish......

2)If a particular instrument leaves the factory with the valves operating well during use then there are NO normal circumstances during it's playing life when you will need to remove metal from the valves......if the valve action becomes less efficient then it's NOT DUE to too much metal on the valves!

3) There's nothing wrong with players/owners carrying out DIY work to instruments providing they have the mental faculties (or experience) to KNOW why, when and how to do them, and to properly analyse the situation.

4) Next year it will be 60 years since a cornet was placed in my hands as a small boy and during that time I have seen all manner of 'stuff' done to (and with) brass instruments.....I have known more than one player who liked to relieve the monotony of daily practice with mouthfulls of chocolate cake but getting it off the valves did NOT require the valves to be re-lapped.......

5) NOTHING that comes out of your mouth and goes down your instrument will weld itself onto the valves such that they will require metal to be removed from the sliding surfaces thereof......(and that included an older gent in my band who spat part of his false teeth down his euphonium)

6) When people present you with a gleaming instrument and tell you how thoroughly they have cleaned it in 99.99% of cases you will still find detritus in the instrument, often in places where it will affect the playing efficiency......for good valve action the small interconnecting tubes between the valve jackets need to be completely free of detritus although these tubes are very hard to clean in many instruments...it's common for the 'instrument polishers' to completely overlook this, and to be baffled as to why it's even important.

7) DIY 'remedies' are both seductive and great to enjoy........by and large ordinary people, both players and the lay-public, have no idea how items are manufactured or what the processes involved were, or for what purposes, but "the toothpaste trick" is always there when wrestling with the difficulties of playing and becoming a musician gets too onerous......
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deleted_user_680e93b
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's jon ruffs' opinion on toothpaste and valves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIvxF5rnPj8


tom
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Speed
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've watched trumpet players argue about this for many years. Personally, using toothpaste on the valves in the manner the OP described was recommended to me and my band mates by our high school band director as a matter of course when one of us acquired a new trumpet back in the 1960s. I either did it, or watched a band mate do it, on Bach Strads, Conns and Getzens with no apparent damage. We thought of it as just part of the normal break in process.

I stopped following that course of action long ago. On a few occasions, I have put toothpaste on a rag, wet it, and rubbed it on the surface of the valves to clean them. This was done only with old, poorly cared for instruments that were all gunked up.

In the context of putting toothpaste on the valves, inserting those toothpaste covered valves into the valve casings and working the valves up and down, it seems to me that for toothpaste to serve as a lapping compound, its abrasives would have to be harder than the metal in the valves and casings. I don't claim any expertise in metallurgy, so I would ask you guys who are knowledgeable about that sort of thing if my assumption is correct.

If the abrasives in toothpaste are not harder than the metal in the valves and casings, perhaps it is just cleaning the gunk off the metal surfaces.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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mm55
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some toothpastes (most Colgate pastes, for instance) contain aluminum oxides, which are very hard indeed; harder than stainless steel, nickel, Monel, and brass.
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speed wrote:

In the context of putting toothpaste on the valves, inserting those toothpaste covered valves into the valve casings and working the valves up and down, it seems to me that for toothpaste to serve as a lapping compound, its abrasives would have to be harder than the metal in the valves and casings. I don't claim any expertise in metallurgy, so I would ask you guys who are knowledgeable about that sort of thing if my assumption is correct.


It doesn't have to be harder to remove material.

By way of example, in what free time I have (besides work and playing) I like to indulge in a little woodwork from time to time. To sharpen chisels, I use a high-speed grinder with aluminium oxide wheels - these are harder than the steel chisels and the steel disappears much faster than the aluminium oxide does, but given time the wheels do also wear down.

So even if a trumpets valves are harder than whatever abrasives are in the toothpaste, it can still be removing material.
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Manuel de los Campos
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KRELL1960 wrote:
Here's jon ruffs' opinion on toothpaste and valves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIvxF5rnPj8


tom



OMG: He actually IS removing material from the valve because the toothpaste is not nice green shiny anymore.

On a stubborn 3th valve tube I once used toothpaste with great succes: by removing material I could use the tube for trowing out for finetuning low D and C# that was on a brand new B&S trumpet

I think home-lapping valves is not such a good idea: better clean the valve and cylinder with purified petrol, re-oil and try the valves. Still sticky? Go to an expert tech, maybe the valve or valvecasting is off-set or has a small dent or the liner of the valveguide is not smooth
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would never insert my valves from the bottom, even if doing a little hand lapping using toothpaste.

That said a little judicious use of toothpaste to clean residual deposits, in my opinion, will do little harm.

If we were to stop doing anything that might remove metal from our valves we would all need to stop playing.

After all, just moving the valves up and down while playing will remove metal.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had problem valves lapped by professionals and I'm pretty sure they inserted them in from the bottom, though I don't quite get why.

On some reflection, I do recall when I've succeeded with toothpaste in the past I didn't insert the valve in the cylinder with the paste between. I just rubbed the toothpaste with either my fingers or a cloth on the surfaces of concern then rinsed. Not lapping at all.
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vatrumpet
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, I love this whole post. I think you're fine using some toothpaste with an old toothbrush on the valves as long as you clean it out when you're done.

Toothpaste is without a doubt the most mild abrasive cleaner one could use. It's such a mild abrasive, that I have been using it in my mouth 2 or 3 times a day for the past 44 years and my teeth haven't worn away yet. I think the metal in your valves will survive the onslaught from some toothpaste and a toothbrush.



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Sharkbaitboi
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=129052&sid=391a9a9bb680a439f8c07dfa46d7f3d8

Kwality
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'll chime in again.

NOT ALL LAPPING COMPOUNDS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

Traditional pumice as presented in the Eric Brand Repair Manual is old school. There's little control over the grain size, so results can vary widely.

Silicon carbide compounds are made in a variety of grits, but embed in the metal. And because they're non-fracturing, continue to cut if not completely removed.

The compounds we choose to use come in a variety of grits allowing for a variety of final clearances, from ultra-fine to coarse. These are non-embedding so they can be cleaned out easily, and are self fracturing making them finer as they're worked.

When in doubt, consult a professional. Cue up Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better"....

My two cents.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Becker wrote:
OK, I'll chime in again.

NOT ALL LAPPING COMPOUNDS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

Traditional pumice as presented in the Eric Brand Repair Manual is old school. There's little control over the grain size, so results can vary widely.

Silicon carbide compounds are made in a variety of grits, but embed in the metal. And because they're non-fracturing, continue to cut if not completely removed.

The compounds we choose to use come in a variety of grits allowing for a variety of final clearances, from ultra-fine to coarse. These are non-embedding so they can be cleaned out easily, and are self fracturing making them finer as they're worked.

When in doubt, consult a professional. Cue up Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better"....

My two cents.


Your 2p. is worth hundreds of dollars if at least one person reads and understands it. Players should NEVER use abrasives of any kind on their instrument.
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Abraxas
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point of "You're removing metal" is a moot point. If I touch a tissue to a piston, it's going to knock off some number of molecules of the metal. I don't have a scanning electron microscope to prove it, but I don't think a physicist would argue this point. The toothpaste issue isn't about lapping the metal down on your pistons, it's about getting the scale and grime off, not unlike it's intended purpose, getting scale and grime off of our teeth.18,000 times, over 50 years, if one brushes their teeth only once a day and hopefully not too much enamel got lost.

Further to my earlier points, I went out locally, 2 days ago, and bought an old LA Olds Special Cornet for about $50 USD ($75 Canadian). That to my mind at least made a lot more sense than spending roughly $1000 CAD on a valve job for my tritone, later model, Special. This older, all brass one , once cleaned up (I won't say how....cause y'all will jump on me again...even perhaps worse this time) and unsticking a slide with torch and wax, is just more amazing than the tri-tone.

Now for the really interesting part: There was only one valve that was really sticking often, on my tri-tone. I swapped the stem assemblies around and sure enough, the problem followed it. It turned out that the previous owner had trimmed the spring to remove the double complete , ie 360 degree, terminating wrap that was supposed to be on each spring end. So happens the end nearest the piston. Since that loose end was unbound, when depressed (or maybe all the time ???)it was stretching inward and scraping the round barrel that extends from the top of the piston, causing it to get hung up.

Anyhow, a valve accessory kit is in the mail to me. End of problem and my collection continues to grow.


Last edited by Abraxas on Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dennis78
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m down with the toothpaste trick. Did it on a Mendini and it worked
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Bob Stevenson
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abraxas.......PLEASE!!......trying here to be friendly and NOT trying to have a gripe at you.......

Every time you use an abrasive on your vavles their life is shortened........do "the toothpast trick" enough times and the instrument is effectively destroyed. That's sad and totally unneccesary for ANY instrument regardless of cost. In my house I have several instruments over 50 years old, a tenor horn that is 109 years old, a soprano cornet that is 70 years old and a Victorian echo cornet that is 125 years old, plus quite a collection of newer cornets including early Sovereign 'round stamp' and all are playable to high standard with perfect valve action...NONE have needed the vavles lapped yet and NONE have suffered "the toothpast trick".....NONE has every had anything on their valves that normal cleaning has not removed easily.

There is NOTHING on your valves that needs an abrasive to get it off!.....this is not the black arts this is basic good practie and commonnsense!....please, PLEASE, open your mind and think about this.....

performing "the toothpaste trick" has absolutely NOTHING in common with cleaning your teeth using toothpaste.........

Even if there WAS something deposited on your valves it's NOT a good idea to use an unsuitable abrasive to remove it because, bit by bit, it's killing a playable instrument.
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Abraxas
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Bob. I guess I'll get my shovel out of the shed and be burying it before the frost comes and it starts stinking. ...................................................................... I wonder out loud if I just soaked those valves in a few liters of Coca-cola with some cotton candy, cigarette butts and coffee grinds, I can get it back to where it was ??

Peace !!!
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Dennis78
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve done some serious degreasing on old engines with CocaCola! Learned that from some country boys! They refused to drink the stuff but my god it really cleaned the hell out of some valves on the 289 we were working on!
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dennis78 wrote:
I’m down with the toothpaste trick. Did it on a Mendini and it worked

You should keep doing it with that one.

One the other hand, I'm surprised you still have a valve left.
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James Becker
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abraxas wrote:
Before you say a "Pro" would have caught that, my highly qualified tech did not, but then again, his work was focused on other matters.


At the risk of sounding conceited, some pros have more experience solving valve issues than others. Having said that, I recognize that we all have our blind spots.

With all the talk of proper care, nothing ruins valves like allowing them to stew wet without a protective film of oil. No matter how well your valves are made (including Getzen's), none will hold up to neglect. Oil not only provides lubrication, it protects the inside of your instrument from oxidation and chemical breakdown.

My two cents.
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Abraxas
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of sounding conceited, some pros have more experience solving valve issues than others. Having said that, I recognize that we all have our blind spots.

With all the talk of proper care, nothing ruins valves like allowing them to stew wet without a protective film of oil. No matter how well your valves are made (including Getzen's), none will hold up to neglect. Oil not only provides lubrication, it protects the inside of your instrument from oxidation and chemical breakdown.

My two cents.[/quote]

Well its all about timing too. Any repair shops with school contracts are insanely busy this time of year and I didn't ask my tech to diagnose valves, rather patch holes, straighten a lead pipe and go over it quickly, so I'm not surprised it wasn't caught. That loose end tucked in quite well between the valve guide and barrel so it could only be noticed if one pulled the springs back or out and had a real close look at them.


Last edited by Abraxas on Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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