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Richard Hukins

cleaning brass reeds.

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Hello, i am just restoring a Wallis 20 button anglo, some of the reeds are almost black with damp & filth, what is the best way to clean? ultrasonic? some of the little screws are a bit rusty, it is 34241, should make a nice instrument for very little money.

Edited by Richard Hukins
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I slide a piece of paper under the tongue, then brush the top surface with a fibreglass pencil. You need to do it pretty gently with brass reeds because they are so soft. You don't want to remove any metal, just clean off the dirt. After I slide the paper back out, I use compressed air to blow the dust out. Sometimes an old toothbrush comes in handy to brush loose dirt off the frame. Don't worry about rusty screws unless there's loose flaky stuff that might fall off and get stuck in the reed. There's a good chance you'll need to check and adjust the tuning after cleaning the reeds.

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If the blackness is just a heavy tarnish, is smooth and not flaking then I would leave it.  Almost any abrasive that will remove the tarnish will also alter the tuning. Of course if the reeds need tuning anyway then go ahead.  The fibreglass pen that Alex suggests is my preferred tool for tuning brass reeds.  It’s gentler and more controllable than a file, and leaves a nice smooth surface.

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As I showed  David Leese  a Scratch Pen I think that I can take the credit for this. You can get one from Proops Bros

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