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Reed Triller
Jun 22, 2009 5:08 AM GMT

I am going to be replacing the nails/screws in the Special 20s I acquired used as they are rusty.

But, until then what can I do get rid of the rush on the heads of the nails/screws and around the edges of them on the top cover?

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Comments (12)

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Jun 22, 2009 6:05 AM GMT
Randy S Replied:

Naval Jelly and a toothbrush, RINSE WELL.

Jun 22, 2009 7:17 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

rid of the rust,not the rush :)

Jun 22, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

I would use my Dremel tool with a wire brush, and some super fine steel wool... a little coating of mineral oil on any area where the rust was, and is now bare metal, might help to keep the rust away. Mineral oil should be safe and non-toxic.

The cover plate top edge is where most rust forms from what I remember.

I use to play Special 20's years ago, and sure hated the rust and nails... I must've been a wetter player back then, and switching over to Lee Oskars was such a joy, especially for maintaining as well as playing.

Special 20's are way better now.

Jun 23, 2009 3:47 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

I also have 2 Oskars that came with the 20s.I have really only been playing a week and because of research and asking questions here I have had the opposite of the wet player issue- I was a tense dry player until a couple days ago when I posted about my issue.

Now, it seems to be just right.

As for removing the rust, I assume I should take the nails out first?Or, is it ok to do it without removing them?

I like the idea of replacing them with screws.

Jun 24, 2009 7:11 PM GMT
AirMojo (Ken H) Replied:

If you can get the "nails" (I think they are actually called "brads") out to cleanly, then go for it. They can be real stubborn, and you might crack the plastic comb.

If you wreck a harp, save it for parts !!

Jul 12, 2009 12:55 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Thanks to Barbeque Bob I learned the Special 20 Marine Bands I have use actual bolt and nut sets to fasten the cover plates.

The reason I was thinking about replacing them was I had thought they were nails/brads that were made to look like they had screw heads and I knew if that were they case they would probably bend while being extracted.

I attempted to remove the bolt and nut sets but rust prevented that from happening.

Randy`s idea of using Naval Jelly is something I would have never thought of but no one locally has it or had it when I called.

While Iwas looking for some things around the house and found a container of CLR and boy did a touch of that with a toothbrush really make them look good as new! No need to replace them really.

My main issue now is, there is still just enough rust inside the nuts that they spin with the bolt when I try to remove them.

Outside of ordering a special wrench for the nuts and waiting for it to arrive, what suggestion might some of you have to hold that nut steady while I unscrew the bolt?

I tried needle nose pliers but they wouldn`t keep a grip on it well enough.

Jul 12, 2009 4:52 PM GMT
Sioux S.Seydal Replied:

Probably one could wedge some small enough toolbetween the nut and the lid to stop the nut from turning along with the screw?

But (otherwise)how about using a 'tiny' bit of something like can clean itafter you got things apart!

Good luck!

Jul 12, 2009 6:43 PM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Good thinking.I1ll try it.

Jul 12, 2009 10:51 PM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Ok,got it and a couple others apart.Looks like i`ll need to CLR and Brasso the reed plates,too.

Jul 13, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
FatJim Replied:


Sorry for shouting! Brasso is high in ammonia which accelerates stress corrosion cracking in the brass.

Jul 14, 2009 4:58 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Even if just used once?There is a restoration shown in one of the forums here and he used Brasso to restore the reed plates/reeds to what looked like new condition.

I could understand you freaking out if I did it each time I cleaned them,lol.But once?

Jul 14, 2009 10:10 AM GMT
FatJim Replied:

The tarnish on brass protects it. The thin patina on brass is a layer of zinc and copper oxides. These are non soluble. Add atmospheric ammonia in even minute concentrations(say from living around animals, from using ammonia cleaning products in the home or in this case from residual brasso) and a reaction occurs which replaces the non soluble oxides with tetraamine ions which are soluble. This allows further oxidation of the brass (by the action of the CO2 and water in your breath), but this time it is unimpeded as an oxide layer cannot build up because the soluble tetraamines subsequently form instead). Add to this the internal stresses in the alloy introduced when the brass was rolled and cut and you have a combination which will cause reed fractures.

If you want your reeds to last and be playable then leave them tarnished. It doesn't make any noticeable difference to the sound. Clean grime off them with alcohol or just rinse them with water. If you really have to clean the oxide layer off - then a non ammonia based cleaner is far more preferable, but the oxide layer will slowly return (honestly it's a good thing)

If you want a nice shiny harp for show; more of a display piece than a playing instrument, then go ahead, but play it gently!

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