Sax on the web
Sheet Music Sheet Music:
.. ....
.. column ..

Paul Coats

Neck Cork Replacement

by Paul R. Coats

[ Continued from Paul's: Pad Replacement article ]



Click on the image for a larger picture

Sources of Saxophone repair supplies

To replace the neck cork, you need some 1/16" sheet cork, contact cement, black electrical tape, single edge razor blade or Xacto hobby knife, and some lacquer thinner. Also some mesh type sandpaper such as that used on drywall.

bevel edge ..
Clean off the old cork by scraping, clean the old glue off with the lacquer thinner. Be careful not to get it on the rest of the finish of the neck. Most modern saxes are finished with an epoxy type lacquer, which should not be damaged by the lacquer thinner. Be careful anyway.
Glue ..
Cut a strip of cork the width of the old cork, and long enough to wrap around the end of the neck, plus 1/4" (12 mm) extra length. Sand one end of the cork to a sharp edge, that is, bevel it. This is so that when you wrap the cork around the neck, you will have a smooth overlap.


start wrapping ..
Contact cement may be ordered from Ferree's, or may be purchased at hardware and lumber stores. This type of glue looks and smells like rubber cement, but is applied differently. Contact cement is applied it to both surfaces to be attached. Then it is allowed to dry for 15 or 20 minutes. As soon as the two pieces are touched together, they stick immediately.


Spread the contact cement on the neck, on the back of the cork, and also on the beveled edge. After about 15 minutes of drying time, starting on the bottom side of the neck, stick on the beveled end of the cork. Wrap the cork smoothly around the neck, pressing it firmly on as you go, smoothing it down. Keep wrapping the cork around the neck until you come back to the beveled area on the bottom. Then overlap the cork on top of the beveled area.





Cut off the excess cork with the hobby knife or razor blade. Place a strip of electrical tape, or some other heavy tape, around the neck between the cork and octave key to prevent scratching the lacquer when sanding the cork. Now sand the cork to shape with the sandpaper. The drywall sanding mesh lets the crumbs of cork fall through and not clog, but ordinary sandpaper, 100 grit, will do. Keep sanding and testing the mouthpiece until you get a good fit. Use cork grease while test fitting the mouthpiece. Clean off the cork grease with lacquer thinner on a rag before continuing sanding, so as not to clog up the sandpaper. Try to get an even shape all they way around. Finally remove the tape and you are finished.

While key corks may also be glued with contact cement, this is too slow. I use "CA", or alpha cyano-acrylate glue. This is commonly called "Super" glue. This is the type of glue that one tiny drop is used and it dries FAST (and sticks your fingers together)!!! I prefer the thick, gel type, or the thick medium drying speed type. These glues may be bought in hardware stores with brand names such as Crazy Glue, Bondini, or Loctite. At hobby and craft shops, Zap, Hot Stuff, and Carl Goldberg brands are excellent. Avoid the thin, watery type. This type fumes badly, and is too easily spilled. Apply CA glues to the new cork well away from the instrument.

Needle springs, either the old blue steel type, or the newer stainless steel type may be purchased. I suggest purchasing an assortment to begin with, rather than buying the individual sizes. Ferree's also has replacements for the Norton Screw In Springs used on the old Bueschers.

From all of the above you can see that for about $50-$70 U.S., you will be able to buy pads and other supplies needed to maintain your saxophone, and keep it playing well, for many years.



Participate in

Sax Forum

Paul is there, too.

Sax on the Web Store
Shop here!

Created: June 16, 2000.
Updated: January 8, 2005.

Paul R. Coats
Harri Rautiainen
(web design)

Legal notice

Privacy Statement

Information: Harri Rautiainen

Additional notes:

Richard Booth advises that a small crochet hook makes an excellent spring hook. Further, by filing or grinding a notch on the opposite end, that end may be used for pushing springs from the opposite direction.

Gary Hodo cautions about the use of CA glues with black lacquer saxes. The vapors may cause a frosting near the freshly glued cork. This is not usually a problem with the gel type CA glue when used sparingly. A spill of CA glue can seriously damage the lacquer.

George Thomas contributed information on making an excellent leak light. In lumber and home improvement stores (such as Lowe's) you may find an assortment of items for the "Cable Light" or "Rope Light" brands of decorative lighting. This consists of a power cord and a clear flexible plastic "cable" with tiny light bulbs spaced every inch. You will need:

#1308 "18" Repair Section", $7.96 US

#1301 "Power Pack" 6' cord, $5.97 US

Total cost was $14 and tax. All of the plugs and parts I needed were in there. It can be assembled in just a few minutes. I did not even use the included switch, as I will plug and unplug as needed.

Woodwind players that travel a lot can carry this leak light easily. Every saxophonist needs one of these. No soldering, no tools to assemble it. It easily fit down the bore of all my saxes, and easily snaked around the bell bow, even on my little curved soprano. I knew I could get into the straight soprano from the bottom, but the light went right down the neck socket, too.

Steve Goodson contributed tips on use of the carpenter's hot melt glue sticks for shellac, and how to correctly check the pads for leaks.

Related Articles: Sax on the Web feature


SOTW Front Page | Saxophone Links | SML | Guest Book | SOTW Discussion Forum | Books, CD, Videos & Sheet Music |