Re: Silver Plating - Is it OK?

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Posted by Chuck on December 30, 1998 at 12:40:21:

In Reply to: Silver Plating - Is it OK? posted by Rookie on December 30, 1998 at 10:48:19:

Any "silver" tuba is, in fact, silver-plated brass (or nickel silver the case of some slides and leadpipes). What your dealer is probably referring to is that the process of doing a repair some areas of raw brass will be exposed. These can be touched up by a simple procedure called "brush plating", which uses a gauze-bandaged anode to deposit a layer of silver on the desired area, much like painting it on. Because of the limitations of the process, the plating isn't as thick nor as durable as a standard "tank" plating job. Some manufacturers plate on a layer of copper under the silver, which can peel after repair and complicate the silver "patching" process. Areas with a matte finish are much harder to get right, since they can't simply be buffed bright before plating.

As to how durable the result is, it all depends on how much contact wear the patched area receives. An out-of-the-way patch can probably last decades, if you're not too aggressive with abrasive silver polish.

But if the damage to the horn is the result of a manufacturer's goof (e.g. acid bleed), you might want to get tough and insist on a replacement horn rather than a repair job.

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