Gold plating keys on a Pete Fountain model clarinet

Discussion in 'Clarinets' started by jbtsax, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    My friend and repair apprentice Jory Woodis wanted a Pete Fountain clarinet with gold plated keys. but could only find one with nickle plated keys. That started a journey to discover what it would take to plate the keys ourselves. After much research and gathering supplies the project is finally completed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Tags:
    pete, Steve, saxhound and 2 others like this.
  2. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,560
    Likes Received:
    89
    That looks great.
    About how much do you think it would cost a customer to have their keys plated.
    Also, would it be a different cost if the existing keys were originally nickel or silver plated, or even heavily worn.
     
  3. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    165
    That looks amazing jbt! Now will you gold plate my Buescher bass sax for me.... But I think you'll have to buy a bigger beaker. :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
     
    Steve likes this.
  4. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    Thanks. It was a fun project---especially keeping track of all the posts. ;) To plate the keys with "heavy gold plating" which is 2.5 microns or more, it took a quart of 24K gold solution containing 2 1/2 grams of gold which cost $325. We had to plate the bell ring which could not be removed with brush plating solution which cost an additional $100. The gold itself without the labor ran about $400, our cost. The lowest estimate we got from professional plating companies was around $800. However, the largest portion of the cost to a 3rd party would be for the labor to disassemble and reassemble the instrument with new pads, corks, etc.

    The keys must be nickle plated prior to gold plating (something I didn't know before hand). Gold will plate easily over silver, however the nature of the two metals is such that over time, the silver will "bleed through" the gold giving it a brown or green color. Nickle blocks this from happening. If the keys were heavily worn, they would first need to be buffed and degreased adding several hours to the labor costs.

    I could plate someone's keys and parts that are removed and ready to plate for about $750. To remove the keys and parts myself and do a reassembly and repad would run at least $1600. Note: I am not looking for this kind of work.

    To Helen: If you pay for a bathtub full of gold plating solution @$325.00 per quart I will gladly plate your bass sax free of charge.
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,560
    Likes Received:
    89
    how much retapping of screw flat spring threads and recutting of keys/posts etc did you have to do for key fitting?

    I've gotten quotes from Andersons in the past for gold / silver plating and they do a lot of prep work which pushes the price up as you mentioned.
     
  6. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    No retapping of screw holes was needed. There was a small amount of fitting hinge tubes both as to ID and length. The gold thickness of 2.5 microns is only about one ten thousandth of an inch. On the inside of a hinge tube the diameter is reduced by 2/10,000".
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,560
    Likes Received:
    89
    That's good to know. Last time I talked to Anderson's they made it sound like there was a lot of extra work to do because of the extra thickness of the plating. I was going to get a clarinet gold plated and a couple silver plated before their email ... they talked themselves out of work.
     
  8. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,405
    Likes Received:
    42
    I think it depends entirely on how tight the keys are before plating.
     
  9. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,520
    Likes Received:
    135
    I had an albert clarinet plated, but ended up selling it.

    DSCF2110.JPG DSCF2114.JPG DSCF2115.JPG DSCF2116.JPG
     
    Steve, jbtsax and TrueTone like this.

Share This Page

Our staff's websites:


Loading...