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 some of the work myself, but I rely on my friends at Badger State Repair in Elkhorn, Wisconsin for the valve re-plating, silver-plating and most of the lacquer work. They also have an engraver in their employ, so that worn antique engraving can be enhanced, or new engraving can be added. These folks are masters at what they do, and I consider it a priviledge to work with them. When they have done their work, I receive the instrument back and go over every square inch of the instrument, being as picky as possible, until I am satisfied that it is the best that it can possibly be, both in appearance and in playability. Sometimes I will stand there for two hours with a restored instrument, just trying different thicknesses of valve alignment until I find the best in-tune and most resonant setting. 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 correct as possible. If necessary, I can fabricate replica braces or other parts that may be missing from a historical instrument. For instance, I have a 1935 York original CC tuba I am restoring, and two of the three original bell screws and flanges were missing. I made two replicas, and they are close-enough that I’m now not sure which are which. These services are necessarily somewhat costly, as they are extremely time- and labor-intensive, but there are instruments out there that are worth this sort of investment.