Full Restoration

During Full Restoration, an instrument is brought back to like-new condition or better, with careful attention to the appearance of the instrument while not compromising on playability, either. When an instrument comes to me for a complete restoration, I discuss it in detail with the owner, then oversee the project and do all of the work myself, except for silver-plating, lacquering, engraving and valve rebuilds.  Anderson Silver Plating of Elkhart, Indiana does silver plating correctly with no shortcuts, so I rely on them to help me finish the job correctly.  For baked-on epoxy lacquer finishes I use Badger State Repair in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  When an engraver’s services are needed, I trust this work to Artistic Engraving of Elkhart, Indiana.  Sherry Huntley is a quite talented veteran engraver, who can enhance worn antique engraving, add new engraving, or both.  Valve rebuilds are expertly done by a couple of trusted colleagues. These people are masters at what they do, and I consider it a priviledge to work with them.

I strive to make your instrument the best that it can possibly be, both in appearance and in playability. Why play a so-so instrument when you can play an extraordinary instrument? In the restoration of historical instruments, special attention is given to each detail, to make sure the instrument is as true to original as possible. If necessary, I can fabricate replica braces or other parts that may be missing from a historical instrument. These services are necessarily somewhat costly, as they are extremely time- and labor-intensive, but there are some instruments out there that are worth this sort of investment.

Please feel free to e-mail or call to discuss restoration projects.  The rest of 2022 is pretty-well booked with restoration projects, but we can discuss your project and figure out a timeline for it.  The cost of a full restoration depends upon many factors, as type of instrument, make, model, present condition and whether parts are available, will all directly affect the cost.

The cost for refinishing an instrument might seem rather expensive, but please consider that, “The shinier it is, the more imperfections stand out.”  So many times I will start working on an instrument with spotty lacquer, or no lacquer at all, thinking that dent-wise, “It doesn’t look bad at all.”  But, as I start removing the old finish, or cleaning, brighening and buffing raw brass, suddenly more imperfections start becoming visible.  The only way that I know of to do a really good-looking job is to cut no corners, but do the full job.  Yes, lacquering an instrument only takes a few minutes, as does painting a car, but if the body work has not been done and done well, the result is not going to be good.  I would venture to say that 99% of refinishing is in the preparation of the surface.  When I make an appointment to have one of my new Stofer CC tubas silver plated, I drop it off at about 5:30AM and get it back the same day.  The actual silver plating process does not take that long.  But, I have been working over several weeks’ time to have it completely, correctly prepared for electroplating, and since a tuba in particular does not plate evenly, there are areas that are hazy, occasionally even rough in texture, so I have another two days of finish work to do after I get back home from the platers’.

Yes, quality refinishing is no easy task, and involves a lot of work and expense, but  the reward is to have one of the finest instruments of it’s type in the world, restored, preserved, a joy to see and use for years to come.