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Thread: Silver plating, green corrosion?

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    sax bear's Avatar
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    Default Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quick question. Silver plating that is wearing, and there is green corrosion.

    Anything recommended to put on it to get rid of the green? I've got standard silver polishing cloths and what not, but haven't tried any chemical stuff.

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    Brian G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    If you can get Steven Howards new Haynes Saxophone Manual.
    It gives all the info you need.

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    Brian G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Sorry I meant Stephen Howard

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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    I would recommend asking a chemistry nerd about this one. Lucky I'm here.
    You may need to do this multiple times to get all the surfaces, because I've never done it with something shaped as oddly as a saxophone.

    Line a container big enough to put the saxophone in with aluminum foil. Put the saxophone in, making sure that it is in contact with the aluminum. Fill the container with a mixture of hot water and baking soda. About a quarter cup of baking soda for each quart of water should do it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then take the saxophone out. Depending on how bad the tarnish is, some or all of it will have gone from the silver to the aluminum.

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    sax bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ictoagn View Post
    I would recommend asking a chemistry nerd about this one. Lucky I'm here.
    You may need to do this multiple times to get all the surfaces, because I've never done it with something shaped as oddly as a saxophone.

    Line a container big enough to put the saxophone in with aluminum foil. Put the saxophone in, making sure that it is in contact with the aluminum. Fill the container with a mixture of hot water and baking soda. About a quarter cup of baking soda for each quart of water should do it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then take the saxophone out. Depending on how bad the tarnish is, some or all of it will have gone from the silver to the aluminum.
    Yea I've done that before to remove tarnish on some old trumpet mouthpieces. But this isn't brown tarnish, it's green corrosion looking stuff.

    I'll see if I can find the mentioned book. I'm fascinated by repairs.

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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    "Quick question. Silver plating that is wearing, and there is green corrosion."

    "wearing" could mean many things.
    Is it true "wear" from abrasion, leaving a patch of base metal surrounded by intact plating?
    Is it blistering - small patches lifting like the blister after a burn to the skin.
    Is it peeling?
    Is it "pitting'? Tiny volcano-like eruptions say 0.3 mm across and 0.1 mm high? Gradually the base metal gets eaten away under and around these eruptions. Google Galvanic Corrosion.

    The green could be waxy verdigris - Google it - or other type or oxidation (used in general sense, not just action of oxygen) of the copper in the silver, or the copper &/or nickel in the base metal....

    So is the green associated with the base metal or the plating itself?
    Has the sax been exposed to any particular corrosive material, such as beer, products of smoking or vehicle engine combustion, unflued fire indoors, salt spray?
    Has any possibly corrosive material material been applied to the surface, such as grease that was not intended for these metals?

    Anything recommended to put on it to get rid of the green? I've got standard silver polishing cloths and what not, but haven't tried any chemical stuff. "

    Quote Originally Posted by Ictoagn View Post
    ...I would recommend asking a chemistry nerd about this one. Lucky I'm here...
    I am not a chemistry nerd, and have very limited knowledge, but this issue likely needs a lot more expertise than Ictoagn's nerd offering! And with respect to that offering, perhaps the following, from an expert, should be considered:
    http://www.silversmithing.com/care.htm#Electrochemical

    See the rest of that site for good info.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011 rogerb40uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Yes, green almost certainly says "copper" ....silver doesn't go green, it goes brown and/or black.
    Roger
    BW Copper Prototype 'Pro' alto
    Hiscox PRO-II case
    Alto Mouthpiece Cafe NY 6

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    sax bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Yes, it's worn down through the silver plating to the metal under it (copper or brass). This is around where it's green. I think in one area it's pitted and it's green, in another silver is worn away and green around the area here it goes from silver to the metal underneath.

    No idea about exposure to other chemicals or compounds.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011 rogerb40uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    But I'll bet the unlacquered and unplated bit makes the horn sound really great, eh?
    Roger
    BW Copper Prototype 'Pro' alto
    Hiscox PRO-II case
    Alto Mouthpiece Cafe NY 6

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    sax bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Is there really that big of a difference in sound? I've read this, and heard the preference of unlaquered brass and other things. The instruments are silver plated and mostly have good plating other than where hands have been, but in the past I've had stuff such as a vintage c melody and it made my hands smell bad after handling it, which wasn't fun!

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    Distinguished SOTW Member DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Very fine (000 or 0000) steel wool worked well for me to remove the green corrosion.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Mal 2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    After you clean it up, get a Caswell brush plating kit and touch up the missing silver. The horn should stop turning green.

    Silver and gold are the only ones I would recommend -- and if you get gold, you need silver underneath first (for most purposes). Nickel works but it takes FOREVER.

    I just gold-plated a brand new Bach 11 horn mouthpiece. If I look down the bore I can see where the wand couldn't reach, but otherwise it looks like it was made this way -- I didn't need to lay down silver first in this case because it is brand new. I've also re-plated two Otto Link STMs after doing facing work on them... and my Meyer 5M, and some ligatures (I deliberately plated silver at too high a voltage to make them look "vintified"), my Winslow lig is now gold, three of my horns have silver or gold plated necks...

    Silver in particular is REALLY easy. Gold is not quite as easy and the solution has a three month shelf life (and is expensive).
    SAX QUARTET (trio, sextet, etc.): Bandcamp (streaming), or Downloadable (MP3 and PDF).

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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal 2 View Post
    After you clean it up, get a Caswell brush plating kit and touch up the missing silver....
    Very interesting! My old Martin Silverplate Bari that I'm working on has some keys with the plating worn off in spots. Now I'm wondering how well it would work on those. Same with the gold wash on the inside of the bell. Hmmm...

    I just spent my Christmas money on a Wii and Wii Fit Plus though, lol.
    --Chris
    Instrument Repair Apprentice
    1930 Martin "Typewriter" Bari Sax Low B

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Mal 2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hewhois View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal 2 View Post
    After you clean it up, get a Caswell brush plating kit and touch up the missing silver....
    Very interesting! My old Martin Silverplate Bari that I'm working on has some keys with the plating worn off in spots. Now I'm wondering how well it would work on those. Same with the gold wash on the inside of the bell. Hmmm...

    I just spent my Christmas money on a Wii and Wii Fit Plus though, lol.
    The underlying metal has to be very clean, and the new silver will not hide unevenness in the base metal. Long-standing bare brass will usually be worn to a lower level than the part that still has silver, and this is not going to disappear. Putting new silver on it will keep it from getting worse, though.

    If the silver under your gold wash is still intact, but the gold is getting thin in spots, the gold kit will work quite well. You will have to plate the entire bell area though, not just the bare spots, because it is difficult to impossible to get the color exactly the same otherwise. It does not take that much of the solution though. A single 4 oz. bottle is enough solution to fix the bell wash on probably 20 horns.

    Both of these are pretty hard to do wrong. If you do not adequately clean the base metal, the silver may peel off, particularly on something that gets a lot of contact (like a mouthpiece table). That's about the worst result you can get, and that only puts you back where you started.
    SAX QUARTET (trio, sextet, etc.): Bandcamp (streaming), or Downloadable (MP3 and PDF).

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    Distinguished SOTW Technician Stephen Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by sax bear View Post
    Quick question. Silver plating that is wearing, and there is green corrosion.

    Anything recommended to put on it to get rid of the green? I've got standard silver polishing cloths and what not, but haven't tried any chemical stuff.
    Cigarette lighter fluid will often do a good job of cleaning that verdigris off - but if it doesn't you can try applying a small ball of cotton wool soaked in ordinary vinegar. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Wash the treated area afterwards with warm, soapy water and wipe over with cigarette lighter fluid to finish.

    Other than that, quadruple 0 gauge wire wool will do the job, but it doesn't do the surrounding finish any favours.

    Regards,
    Stephen Howard
    www.shwoodwind.co.uk
    - Woodwind instrument repairs & period restorations
    Author, Haynes Saxophone Manual, Haynes Clarinet Manual

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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Once the green i s there, the plating is gone. I use "Rub 'n Buff" (in a tube) on it and it covers the green and make it look better but there is no cure for the green.

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Technician Stephen Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce bailey View Post
    Once the green i s there, the plating is gone. I use "Rub 'n Buff" (in a tube) on it and it covers the green and make it look better but there is no cure for the green.
    Yeah there is - see above.

    Regards,
    Stephen Howard
    www.shwoodwind.co.uk
    - Woodwind instrument repairs & period restorations
    Author, Haynes Saxophone Manual, Haynes Clarinet Manual

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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Any suitable form of abrasion will get the green off the surface of the base metal.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by sax bear View Post
    Is there really that big of a difference in sound?
    No they're being sarcastic.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Silver plating, green corrosion?

    If the green has caused pitting, cleaning will still leave specks.

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