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"What is aircraft remover, and can you recommend a good rubbing compound to use on a brass?"


I have a brass sax that I want to strip of lacquer and polish with some sort of rubbing compound. I then would like to know what type of lacquer to refinish it with, and how to go about it. The shop wanted $1000 to do it but it's not worth that much. I would however like to make it look better since I like this sax.

Please tell me the right kind of wax to put on my tenor sax after removing the lacquer.

Monet Barton
teacher - Littleton, Colorado, USA


Duraglit and Quator(french product) are very good brands.
You can use Paraloid B 44 lacquer (acryl resin dissolved in toluene) or traditional gold lacquer for brass (shellac dissolved in alcohol+ natural yellow dyes/dragons blood, turmeric, saffron/).

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


Hello Monet,

Aircraft Strippercan usually be found in a hardware store, its real name is methylene chloride. This is a caustic and very nasty material so be sure to follow all of the safety instructions when handling this.

Most brass instrument manufacturers apply an epoxy bake coating to their product, although if the sax has been refurbished before, you might not have as tough of a finish on there and you wouldn't need methelyne chloride to get it off. You can check this by rubbing some nail polish remover or Acetone [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] on the brass. If the coating is unaffected, you'll have to move on to the strong stuff. Don't leave the parts in the methylene chloride too long or it will burn the brass.

Once the lacquer is removed, get some Nevr-Dull [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] or Brasso [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and polish the brass. This can be tedious, a buffing wheel would really be the fastest way to accomplish this step.

Search around on the internet for a suitable wax, but if you are using the sax somewhat frequently, a lacquer would last longer and wouldn't be as much of a hassle. Get a can of high quality aerosolized lacquer. You want to spray the clear coating on your sax parts because it won't look very good dipped or brushed on. Clean parts with acetone to get rid of any left over polishing compound prior to lacquer spraying. Do not use an acrylic lacquer as they are too soft and will wear too quickly. Go for nitrocellulose.

Have fun.

Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas &Co.,Inc.
supporting advertiser
Bellwood, Illinois
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