Proper Repair of a Banged Bell

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Posted by dp on May 29, 2003 at 11:45:03:

Just a brief report of some cleanup work I had done on a horn by Dan Oberloh.
Thanks to those delightful fellows at UPS, my excitement over receipt of a very nice Alexander f from Germany was tempered by a severely damaged bell. This on a horn shipped in a hardwood, East German Military flight trunk! The UPS driver had hoisted the 70 pound trunk over my side yard gate and dropped it on end (thinking it would be safer there than left unattended on my doorstop!) I talked to Dan about what the tuba would need, and sent it up to Seattle.
Well, I got the horn back last week, and all I can say is WOW! Not only did Dan remove, then roll out and hammer the bell straight, but after removing, fixing, and then properly replacing the tone ring (continuous even solder through the whole joint and proper edge roll) he r&r'ed the rose brass leadpipe, after filling it with pitch he re-shaped it, then cleaned it and properly re-attached it to the 5th valve ferrule (continuous even solder through the WHOLE joint.) After buffing the bell out and re-attaching it to the horn, and then cleanly, almost delicately soldering the leadpipe to the bell, he re-sprayed it with nitrocellulose laquer and returned it to me in a HUGE safe big box. Oh, a nifty extra was the hand-formed-and-rolled-from-sheetmetal man-sized thumbring.

How's it play? With the previous damage, the bell sounded "bound up" and the horn was honestly nothing special. After repair, the bell sounds freely, a couple of funny intonation quirks are resolved (leadpipe work?), and it looks and plays GREAT!

Many thanks to Dan and his boys at Oberloh in Seattle, I strongly recommend them for any future work you may need for your "especially-valued" horn, and I look forward to Dan working his magic on other instruments of mine in the future!


Dale Phelps, Tubist
Saratoga Symphony,
Palo Alto Philharmonic
California USA

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