Olds Military Model Pocket Cornet
This pocket "conversion" was done for Nick DeCarlis, the force behind VintageCornets.com and PocketCornets.com and one of only two that I did for him by request, the other being his Besson pocket cornet, which is the instrument that got this whole ball rolling. Of course, he eventually acquired the Conn Vocabell pocket trumpet and I've assisted him in some of his other projects.
When I took this one on, I told Nick that I couldn't guarantee how closely I could reproduce the hammered finish, knowing that the parts that I would bend would stretch out the original finish and have to be re-hammered. You can see this in the third photo. Also, we wanted the return crook from the bell branch to the first valve to be hammered as well. I assumed that this finish was originally achieved by hammering while filled with lead. Lead is the likely filling used in bending the original bells and they likely filled the bells all the way to the flare before bending and proceed with the hammering afterwards.
I experimented with a few junk bells, not wanting to ruin the original parts. I started with a hammer with a fairly shallow radius on the face and was surprised that it did not dent nearly enough and progressed to the peen side of ball peen hammers and found that these were still too shallow. Lastly, I tried the very small ball peen hammer seen in the forth photo and found it just right. For my last experiment, I filled a bell with Cerobend instead of lead, since I prefer to use that for bending. This metal is stiffer than lead at room temperature and I had to hit harder to achieve the dents, but the result was better and more even looking.
I don't remember whose idea it was to have the tight bend in the mouthpipe with the tuning slide under, but it mimics the original tuning crook quite well and I was able to use the original waterkey. The disadvantage of this design is that a player that likes to put his right thumb between the first and second valves under the mouthpipe, will not be able to. As always, in these projects, both Nick and I agree that it is important to retain as many design features as possible, like finger hooks, braces and waterkeys. As always, the result is a cornet that plays very much as it did originally and is visually striking.