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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000145.txt from 1997/09

From: Gary Hopkins <>
Subj: Re: Springing the blues
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 19:48:15 -0400

Brian, Jerry, Leo and anyone else. I made a comment about blue steel springs
a week or so ago. There has been much quibbling back and forth between
various people as to what they are....why they are blue....and if they are
better than stainless steel, etc. These springs are heat treated. Heat
treating does make steel various shades of blue. This is probably why they
were originally called blue steel springs. Whether this is correct or not I
don't know for sure, and I really don't care. However, I work with these
things every day, and have for the last umpteen years. The ones bought from
musical instrument repair suppliers are heat treated and are definitely
treated to a bluing process. This is to help keep them from rusting. I
believe they are treated via a hot bluing process. Cold bluing will come off
if solvents are used, and these springs keep their color when they are wiped
down with alcohol or other solvents. Also, the color is very even over the
entire length of the spring. In our shop we use various types of spring
stock. I use blue steel needle and flat springs, piano wire springs and
bronze springs mostly. Occasionally I will use either white or yellow gold
springs on upper line flutes and pics. I like the feel of piano wire springs
on clarinet and sax much better than blue needle springs. It is easier to
get a balanced feel to the keys up and down the instrument.


At 01:55 AM 9/3/97 +0100, you wrote:
>Sorry Jerry, but you are wrong and Leo is right. It has everything to do
>with spring hardness. I answered this in a posting a few days ago.
>The spring needs to be first hardened and then tempered. The tempering at
>about 320deg C. produces a blue oxide film.
>Incidentally, I think Boehm was the first to use needle-springs on his
>flutes. He recommended "best quality English sewing needles".
>Brian Ackerman.
>Jerry Korten wrote:-
>> Actually, from what I understand, the blueing process protects the metal
>> rusting due to atmospheric moisture. It has nothing to do with spring
>> or hardness.
>> The hardness is achieved by tempering the steel (a heating and cooling
>> process that affects the crystalline structure of the metal).
>> The blueing process is a surface oxidation that prevents regular rust.
>> are other methods that work as well, such as gold plating as Leblanc
>> Jerry Korten
>> NYC
>> In a message dated 97-08-31 06:03:47 EDT, Leo writes:
>> <<
>> >Blue steel, as in blue steel springs, is steel that has been treated
>> >either hot or cold bluing. The same stuff they use on guns to help
>> >rusting. It is only a finish.
>> It is not only a finish. The methode of hardening the spring be the cause
>> hardening the surface, and
>> leave the core tough. The reson is that the spring has the elasticity of
>> full hardend spring, but the
>> toughness of a unhardend spring. In other words, it wil not break as
>fast. as
>> a hardend spring, and it wil
>> not bend as easy as a unhardend spring.
>> Leo (the spelling crack) van Zantvoort
>> >>

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