I am not usually sure of what I should expect when I am given a closet horn with nearly ten years of storage on it, but when I opened the case I found that this Mark VII was in pristine condition.
The horn still has about 99.5% of its lacquer, the pads are in excellent condition with original plastic screw-in resonators. I was only forced to replace two palm key pads, which I used standard plastic resonators on (I tried reusing the originals, but they would not come apart).
There was a significant buildup of dirt on the tone holes; this could have been a buildup during it’s playing life when the owner swabbed the bore or used one of those fluffy padsaver things. It all came off easily with the use of some suede swatches and a dollar bill in some places. The low C# tone hole was resurfaced and the bell was straightened. There were multiple points of lost motion and I had to make some serious adjustments to the left hand pinky table, as the C# touch was sticking far ahead of everything else and the low B and Bb were not moving the G# key far enough. As usual I added teflon to the sleeve that slides between the C# and Bb and tightened the loose connection at the bow-body brace.
Ultimately the horn plays really well. I had to lighten the spring tension across the whole horn, it felt like playing a brick to begin with, but now it is light and quite comfortable. The owner likes the horn as a bright and loud contrast to her Super Balanced Action. In general I do hear the loudness she is talking about, but I was not able to directly compare her SBA performance to the Mark VII.
Todays lesson: Ask your friends and family to check their closets/under their beds for instruments.