Horn Repair Services
Call us at 978 823-0580 to schedule your repair. Most repairs can be completed in a few days; larger projects take longer. Many repairs can be done in one day (with an appointment). We realize that sometimes you need your horn right away and sometimes you can leave it a little longer. We work with your schedule.
We have the expertise, experience, and facilities to take care of all your service needs. In addition to the everyday dents and broken solder joints, we offer a wide range of services. Listed below are some of our most often requested services.
Chemical\Ultrasonic Cleaning: A chemical\ultrasonic cleaning starts with a complete disassembly of the instrument. We remove buildups of old grease and oil and use special chemical baths to remove the corrosion and other materials from the inside of the horn. Ultrasonic and traditional cleaning techniques are used as we feel appropriate. (While ultrasonics do an excellent job of removing old oil and grease, they do not remove buildups of calcium carbonate (the "green crud" you see in your horn) or calculus. Additionally, they can lift poorly applied lacquer and open up any pinholes caused by de-zincification. For that reason, ultrasonic cleaning is particularly unsuitable for older instruments.) No metal is removed in the cleaning process, and lacquered finishes are not disturbed. We do not use chromate dips which, in addition to being very damaging to the environment, etch bare brass surfaces and can remove metal from the inside of the instrument.
After cleaning the rotors are bathed in oil and reassembled and restrung. We grease the slides, oil the levers and springs, and check the instrument thoroughly. If any other repairs are needed we can diagnose them and advise you.
Recommended every one to two years, depending on the individual player. In addition to regular maintenance this service will prolong the service life of the instrument by reducing the effects of dezincification (corrosion from the inside out - pink spots, red rot, etc.) Very cost effective insurance for your prized horn.
"Thank you all for going the extra mile to help my son by fixing his horn before going to the Kendall Betts horn camp. His hand strap broke the night before we flew from Nashville to Manchester NH and was in a bind. We came to your shop when we landed, and you all jumped on it and fixed the strap and took a dent out and touched up the lacquer. He was thrilled with everything and the Schmid Horn he tried. We will definitely buy from you all when we make that move. Thanks again for the great service." (J.M.)
Complete Valve Service; A valve service is a complete mechanical tune up for your valves. It begins with a chemical cleaning service. Next, the valves are adjusted to remove end and side play (end play is what causes the annoying click). The bumpers are replaced with permanent neoprene, the lever hinges are tightened, the levers are adjusted to provide the optimal valve action, and any worn or missing screws are replaced. (There is a extra charge for removing broken-off screws.) Valve services can usually be done on a same-day basis with an appointment. The recommended interval for this service varies between every three to ten years.
Rotary Valve Rebuild: A valve rebuild returns the valves to new (or, in many cases, better than new) condition. The valves are built up with a coat of copper plating, then hand-fit (lapped) into the valve casing. This process, which may have to be repeated several times, brings the valve and casing together in the best possible fit, eliminating any low spots. We also adjust the relative fit of the bearings and the valve body to insure that the valve runs on the bearings only. We use a static air pressure gauge to measure and control the air tightness of the valve at every step in the rebuilding process.
When the valve has been properly fit we finish it with a layer of bright nickel plating. Nickel is non-reactive so corrosion of the rotor is eliminated. Nickel is also self-polishing, a quality that makes nickel plated rotors become smoother and quicker as the horn is used.
The rest of the valve rebuild is the same as a valve service, usually taking from 5-10 days. The time can vary greatly with the complexity of the job but we will always try to accommodate your schedule. Please be aware that special situations, like previously plated valves which need to be stripped before rebuilding can entail extra charges. We do not make an extra charge for cylindrical or triple valves. We are happy to advise you as to any extra charges.
"This is regarding the A. Wendler compensating; new mouthpipe, valve rebuild, etc. The important thing was the horn's performance, and it was such a delight! After using the loaner Holton double, it is so light. I LOVE IT!!! Very glad we made the decision to repair. I'm no professional, but I trilled right up into the high register with no problem and produced some good solid notes in the low register. Thanks again, Jim, for all your care and concern. Certainly showed why Osmun was the name that came out of everyone's lips who knew about horn repair. Have a great weekend!" (S.K.)
Neoprene Valve Stops: We offer valve stops in a variety of materials: synthetic rubber in three different durometers (hardnesses), a soft natural silicone, and a clear silicone-like synthetic. Unlike the shaped bumpers used by some manufacturers our materials are round in cross section. When properly installed they don't break or compress. The harder bumpers give a very positive feel. Softer materials feel more forgiving under the fingers and are quieter. Our bumper installations include shaping the stop plates to hold the material firmly without compressing or cutting the material and carefully aligning the valve ports. When properly installed, synthetic bumpers do not bounce or "flutter"
Oil Holes: Small holes are drilled through the bearing plates of your valves to allow more oil to reach the enclosed top (back) bearing. Buildup of corrosion in this area is the prime cause of sticking valves.
Detachable Bell Conversion: We convert horns to detachable bell for several reasons: to allow the use of a compact flat case that makes the horn far safer to travel with or ship, to allow the use of after-market bell flares that can greatly alter the sound and feel of the instrument, and to reinforce the bell of older instruments. Additionally, the flare can be rotated to bring new, unworn metal beneath the hand. Normally we use Engelbert Schmid bell rings because they make the horn compatible with the wide range of Schmid flares. We also keep Alexander rings in stock and can fabricate rings as needed. Our Schmid and Alexander rings are genuine manufacturer's parts, not copies. Our conversions include relacquering of the entire flare and bell tail up to the ferrule. Your horn won't look like it's been “worked on”. Read more...
Resonance Enhancement: Our cryogenic stress-relief process. Using liquified helium and specialized equipment we slowly cool the instrument to just a few degrees above absolute zero and the, just as slowly, return it to room temperature. The whole process takes about thirty hours and the helium never touches your horn. After processing your horn will play like it's thirty years old, but with new valves and slides.
Rebuilding Services: We call it “body-and-fender”. Horns are commonly kept in service far longer than other brass instruments so they have unique problems to address. In addition to the usual dent removal and broken brace repair we can replace all necessary tubing, replace mouthpipes, fabricate nickel silver guard plates to reinforce and protect wear points, rebuild mechanical linkages, in fact, anything you need to keep your horn in top condition.
"What can I say about the Alex............OMG!!!!!!!!!.......... When Tim took off the paper wrapper and there it was...my mouth dropped open. All of the photos DO NOT do it justice. I just cannot get over how smooth the surface areas are. The hand guards looks great!! Jim, thank you again for taking on this project and "creating" a new horn for me. I am hoping that I have never come off demanding. I will always be a customer of yours and can appreciate the top notch artistry that you put into everything you create." (S.A.)