This old tuba was obtained in a bad condition. Parts were missing and a partly violent repair
had been done in several cases. Also quite some wear to the valves was observed. To that came
som bad surprises that I was not aware of when the work began. Had I known, the tuba might
have been scrapped. Another problem proved to be the materials that were of a brass alloy
that tends to cracks (but gives a good sound!). Hard soldering at too high temperatures
did not make that problem better.
But repaired it was. Here are some pictures showing you just a little part of that work,
which took more than 80 hours.
A cracked tube being hard soldered
A stuck valve slide is loosended
Dents being reparired
Many tubes had cracks and had to bee cleanded from over 100 years of dirt. Then the long side cracks were hard soldered.
Tuning slides and valve slides were all stuck, one even tin soldered. To get them free, the loop was removed,
a long term treatment with chemicals was needed, and then each slide was dragged out with a dragging hammer.
Then a lot of dents and bends had to be corrected, which was a difficult work on that brass alloy.
even if annealed several times.
A bad surprise hidden under a shield
More bad surprises
Same loop atfer repair
Much can hide under a shield. This tuba had a somewhat odd shield made of copper that was
tin plated in order to look like nickel siver! Under the shiled large holes and dents were hidden.
Exessive soldering flux caught under the shield had corroded its way trough the
tube. This tube part took longer time to work up, than the valve engine. The tube was repaired, but some
scars will always be visible.
Valve bearing being reamed
New bearing being hard soldered into place
Turning the new bering into precise fit.
The valves vere extremely worn. It takes much to destroy rotary valves beyond repair, but this was close to.
All valve bearings vere worn, causing the valve rotor to scrape against the valve body.
Thus all walve bearings were replaced. The old bearing that has become oval, is reamed to recieve the new
bearing, that is hard soldered to the inside of the old bearing. Then it is all turned
into a precise fit on a lathe. It takes 3-5 hours per valve when it is as bad as here.
Washing off the bell
Polishing a valve
Soft soldering the tube parts
When brass gets black, and also very dirty, it takes strong things
to get it clean again,
a work that is best done outside. Later each part is polished on a machine, hand polishing is only
neccesary in edges not accessible to the machine. Then the parts can be assembled again, using soft (tin)
All parts at one view
Replacement for a missing ferrule being made.
Assembling the parts
Also some missing parts have to be replaced. In this case it was some screws, a ferrule, and a tuning slide
that had to be replaced. These parts are made to match the design of the tuba, and the trend of the late 1800's
Egg trays are well suited for storing the smaller parts. Finally all parts could be assembled, and here it is.