Klarinet Archive - Posting 000187.txt from 1997/09
From: "Brian Ackerman" <ackerman@-----.uk>
Subj: Re: Springing the blues
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 00:14:44 -0400
Of course they are heat-treated to blue. If they weren't they would be too
brittle or too soft and would be useless. Yes, it also helps to prevent
rust, but this is an added benefit not the main reason. If you don't
believe me try tempering them to straw colour, and see if you can bend them
without them snapping!
I also have been using the things for the last umpteen years, but this is
really irrelevant. You could successfully fit 500 springs a week and still
not know why they are blue. Look up heat treatment of steel in any
The colour is even because it is done in a temperature controlled oven.
I think it is time to draw this subject to a close.
> Gary Hopkins wrote:-
> Brian, Jerry, Leo and anyone else. I made a comment about blue steel
> 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
> better than stainless steel, etc. These springs are heat treated. Heat
> treating does make steel various shades of blue. This is probably why
> were originally called blue steel springs. Whether this is correct or not
> 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
> 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
> if solvents are used, and these springs keep their color when they are
> down with alcohol or other solvents. Also, the color is very even over
> 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
> springs on upper line flutes and pics. I like the feel of piano wire
> 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
> >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
> >> 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
> >> hardening the surface, and
> >> leave the core tough. The reson is that the spring has the elasticity
> >> 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
> >> >>