Project Update #1
We weren’t quite sure what to expect underneath the bow guard at first look. As you can see, it turned out that someone poured a lot of solder on the horn to “fix” the cracks that were underneath the bow guard. We carefully removed the solder and cleaned up the bow. We are ultimately going to fix the cracks, but want to research which method would be best first. We may use a brass welder or more traditional silver soldering. Once we removed the guard, we found that the bow was too thin to keep it the way it was. Instead, we decided to replace the original guard with a larger one that will greatly reinforce the bow.
One of the issues with #36 was that the tenon and the receiver didn’t match and therefore didn’t seal. Since it is our goal to make the instrument playable again, we set out to fix this. Unfortunately, both the tenon and the receiver had been buffed and repaired so many times that there was hardly any metal left to work with. The slot on the receiver also turned out to be too large and was splitting further. The tenon was actually so thin that someone had previously reinforced it with shim stock and lots of soft solder; probably also in an attempt to make it round again. You can clearly see the seam and the grey soldered areas in the picture above. Since both the tenon and the receiver were badly out of round, damaged, and almost paper-thin, we decided to fabricate new cylinders. The screws and the lyre holder are all original and soldered onto the new receiver. The tenon now matches the receiver perfectly and will seal nicely.
As you can see in the “before” picture, there are several ribs on the body that hold 2-3 posts each while other posts are attached to the body directly. Removing the ribs revealed holes in the body tube, where the posts must have been attached originally. The original posts were soft soldered on the ribs, but we decided to hard solder them for added strength. We are not sure if Buescher installed the ribs or if he received the horn like this, but we know that they were added at some point. Either way, he must have liked the ribs and we decided to restore #36 to the state it was in when he owned it, so we will fix the ribs and the posts and keep both. The holes in the body will again be hidden under the ribs after the ribs are soldered back on.
Of course, this old instrument had tons of stuck screws and broken springs, so we used alum to remove them. While in the process of removing and cleaning up all the posts, Josh was able to fix most of them, but one was beyond saving. Not only was it half the size it was supposed to be, but it was also terribly mangled. We decided to fabricate a new post head for this post using a mini lathe and some round stock. Can you tell which post head was replaced? (It was the one on the left!) Good job Josh!
We started working on the tone holes and they are truly in terrible shape. The way they are right now they are not level, will never be level, and will never have a pad seal. We had a lot of work to do! The tone holes have liners installed in them, which reduce their diameter. In the pictures they look like thick tone holes, but they are actually tone holes with brass rings soldered in. As we discussed in our planning stage, we are going to restore this instrument back to the time that Buescher liked it and gave it to Mr. Rascher, only playing a lot better. This will be quite a job: Remove the tone holes, repair each one separately, then replace the tone hole liners.
We had to make a decision: Should we replace the tone holes and the liners? Should we work with what is there? Or should we repair the tone holes and replace the liners? We chose to go with the latter, because this way we can keep the original parts while still restoring the horn to a functional state.