Plan of the optimal care for brass instruments

Polishing / surface care

Unlacquered instruments are polished
- at best in one direction from bell to mouthpiece receiver stolidly as the tube runs
- If available, use mounting timbers respectively fixtures.
- Applicable are cotton fabrics with fine rib texture, e. g. Tricot fabrics.
- Improper are nylon, toweling and especially wool (scratching)!!! Synthetic fibres hardly absorb
- Cleaning oils containing sterien are used as they conserve well afterwards.
- So-called lacquer polishings protect from hand perspiration (especially for lacquered instruments).
- Silver-plated instruments are of course brightened with silver polish cloth.
- For nickel-plated instruments, chrome cleaning agents or regular polishing oil can be used.
- Beware of acid and alkaline polish agents as they let the soldering points corrode sustainably, continue attacking in the material and also elicit health problems (also ecologically questionable).

Inner cleaning

- An inner cleaning from time to time is good fort he elemination of germs and deposits of all kind.
- Inner cleaning can be of great use with drawing sponges.
- In order to avoid damages, brushes with metal core and metallic gadgets should not be used generally; the risk of blockage exists when drawing through cloth.
- Do not use hot water – danger of scalding! Do not use chemical solvents or alkaline agents as the inner self protection coating of the brass is destroyed.
- Mild washing liquids, cleaning benzine, ethanol can dissolve older deposits and are therewith applicable.
- Calcification cannot be removed, as it originates from saliva (as dental calculus does)
- In order to protect from deposits, a drawing sponge must be used at least twice a month continuously!
- Also mouthpieces are more hygienic if they ar brushed regularly.

Oiling of cylinder valve instruments

- at least twice a year all hinge-joints and steel screw joints should be oiled with: viscous engine oil (e. g. Shell-Super), mineral or dedicated synthetic oil.
- No oil directly onto the valve – it would run much too inactively thereby!!! Only put 1 – 2 drops of viscous engine oil each onto the swivel pins in the upper and lower cover.
- On ball joints only viscous oil, for ball joints with grub screw: ball-bearing grease around the ball.
- for "MINIBAL®"- & "UNIBAL®" joints only a little viscous engine oil.
- Equally also onto the axis of the press work and the spit vlaves as well as the trigger mechanism
- After longer irregular running due to a lack of oil or frequent playing breaks, valve stiffness can occur as a result of calcification. This should be corrected by an instrument maker.
- Do not use fine mechanics oil or household or kitchen oils. (Vegetable oils are fatty acids and resinify immediately. They also attack the metal aggressively.)

Oiling of Perinet valve instruments

- The Perinet (pump) valves should always run in an oil film, which effects good smoothness of running and avoids calcification and metal abrasion.
- In any case use only Perinet valve oil!!! With other oils or similar agents the valves do not run...
- Indispensable is drawing through the valve cases (after removing both covers) with a soft cotton cloth and wooden pole (e. g. bird cage bar) and wiping the valve Ventilwechsels with a cloth, followed by the application of new valve oil (at least once a month).
- At lacking care, the running treads can calcify, become ragged and porose, so that the valves can only be reprocessed correctly by an instrument maker.

Greasing of tuning and valve slides

- Tuning and valve slides are there basically fort he regulation of the tuning of the instrument. Above all, they serve for emptying the tubes from condensation water. That is why they should work well and quickly, but also be leak-proof. So always use these slides and grease correctly!!!
- Valve and tuning slides are greased with spezial tuning slide / plug grease. Do not use anything else!
- Trigger slides, thus mechanically moved slides, are greased with lubricant oil, special slide oil.
- Trombone grease or oil is completely improper for tuning slides, as it emulsifies with water, thus does not seal.

Greasing of trombone slides

- Trombone slides are brought to better sliding with special trombone oil or grease depending on the kind of slide and tolerance. Trombone grease seals less. It provides a better running and avoids abrasion. There are different kinds of trombone grease and oils (also 2-components).
- Trombone slides must be straight, clean, parallel to each other and well-polished. Only then they can run perfectly. Too much grease is as destructive as too less. Slide tubes must be kept very clean.
- All flattening and planishing works should be done immediately – and only at an instrument workshop.

(C) 2010 by Frieder G. Loebner