Saxophone Forum


by judstr
(8 posts)
8 years ago

Removing paint from a horn...

I know it's hard to believe. Tomorrow morning I pick up a 51 Buescher Aristorcrat Series II 140 alto I won up on eBay for about $340. The horn was apparently painted with gold colored paint except bell and neck. Any suggestions for getting paint off? Is there any chemical approach? I am assuming that old fashioned paint thinner or similar solvent would destroy any laquer as well as remove paint. Thanks for any comments, guidance. judstr

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  1. by Dave Dix
    (421 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Removing paint from a horn...

    Paint stripper will do it but it will remove the laquer but that will be ruined by the gold paint anyway Dave

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    1. by judstr
      (8 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Removing paint from a horn...

      Thanks, Dave - that's a good point. I suppose leaving a coat of paint on would affect the sound? And stripping the paint pretty much means taking the horn apart, doesn't it? (It would be interesting to hear the horn stripped down to bare brass, but taking it completely apart seems scarey...)

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      1. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Removing paint from a horn...

        I did this once when I was in 9th grade, and got it back together with no problems... not that I'm an expert, but here are a few hints. - Pay attention - if the horn has setscrews (like old conns) forget it and have an expert do it for you. - don't bend anything - don't force anything - try to lay things out in the way they were on the horn, or label them with tape or something - springs are sharp when exposed to your bare hand! there were a few more, but it's early. pretty much as long as you don't bend anything you're in good shape! (and if you do, I think if you roll it between a board and workbench things should straighten out... or that's how we did regular rod stock in college, and this is just regular rod/tube stock with a few bezels and things attached)

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        1. by judstr
          (8 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          Thanks, Chiamac. I've heard before that dissembly is not as terrible as it appears. And I picked up a book on repairing sax's and flutes which reinforced your point. But it does sound like I'd need to devote some time and space to make sure the project starts and finishes without having to pick up parts, etc. BTW, I picked up the horn this morning, and it seems like the paint comes off with persistent fingernail effort. So maybe there is a non chemical way that might save the laquer. I'll post more when I find out....

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      2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Removing paint from a horn...

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------- I suppose leaving a coat of paint on would affect the sound? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- No, the paint wouldn't do much or anything for the sound, but it sounds cheesy.

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        1. by judstr
          (8 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          '...sounds cheesy'. I'd think from a Wisonson boy that would mean it sounds good! So you don't think a layer of paint over the laquer would deaden the sound or anything? I can live with cheesey looks if the sound is not messed up.

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        2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          Nah, That sort of thing gets debated to death, but paint shouldn't do any more to the sound of the horn than a winter jacket would do for your singing voice. :)

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        3. by judstr
          (8 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          Sounds like the MONSTER Cable syndrome...as an engineer I understand the detrimental effect of using too small a guage of wire. But buying some esoteric gold laced, oxygen starved pretty looking cable over good quality lampcord of the same guage...well I've heard the arguments, but I ain't spending my money in that direction! Thanks for the comments.

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        4. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          is the winter jacket down filled or what material is it made of? =)

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        5. by Tbone
          (120 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Removing paint from a horn...

          If you totally dis-assemble it you can use a chemical stripper like Jasco brand (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) or just plain old hot water and baking soda will sometimes release a finish. You want it as hot as possible. You could leave it bare or re-finish it yourself. www.votawtool.com sells Nikolas lacquer in spray cans. Both clear and gold tint!

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