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A little side to side play is normal on these. The tolerances were not as tight on these old ones. Remember the old pads had some cush built into them to compensate. Going with the soft feel pads and the adjustment you made (this location) is perfect.
As previously suggested going with the heavier oil may be all that’s needed on the tube fit. Your horn doesn’t appear to be a high mileage unit. Especially on a bell key. If this is true the hinge rod to tube fit tolerance should be about the same everywhere. I keep this in mind as a complete package on working the tolerances. Including seating pads with or without spring tension. A looser fit rod/tube will seat differently with oil or grease and spring loaded or not. It may be a minuscule amount but something to keep in the back of your mind. Work the tolerances out in your head all the way through.
I’m suspicious that a lot of these older ones were assembled from the factory with a lubricant resembling a thin grease. Oil technologies have advanced immensely over the years.

I would keep swedging as a option later on. Once it’s done it’s done. Also when doing this in a stack you may need to adjust the end play again. The tubes get longer from swaging. Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust the length by dressing the end of the tube. Something you don’t want to be doing at your level. ”Getting off into the weeds”.

Re; you sons horn. It’s not unusual when repairs are made for other issues to surface. There are other sub forms to read regarding squeak issues. This could be something as simple as a bad reed or increasing the reeds strength.

That denatured alcohol is about the same price as a cheap bottle of booze🤣. As a suggestion. When you’re done using the lamp put the fluid back in the can. It evaporates quite quickly from a lamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
Definitely makes sense, thanks! I won't sweat the bit of play on this C-Mel, but just use it as an opportunity to learn :)

My MM order is scheduled for delivery on Monday, so hopefully I get to try my hand at some pad seating sometime next week.

Seeing as this horn is nickel plated, without any lacquer (correct?), it should be a bit more forgiving on getting the heat just right I would think. I plan to use the oil lamp to do work on the key cups when they are not mounted, and then use my small butane soldering iron without a tip on it (ie: small butane torch basically) if I need to heat the cups up after they're mounted for final seating adjustment. Does this seem like a good plan? The soldering torch has an adjustable flame as well.

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For a pin vice, I'm planning to use this tool with a small sewing needle. The tool is a feeler gauge handle meant to be used with the an assortment of feeler foil strips which came with the leak light kit I bought, but seems it would work well as a pin vice for me unless you guys think it's a bad idea for some reason?

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A couple more things I'm unsure about ...

I'm missing both the neck screw as well as the lyre screw. Are these standard sizes and pitch, where any generic replacement will do ... or do I need to look for something specific for this '23 Conn?

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Lastly, I have this spring which is very easily pulled out of the post

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The spring doesn't look damaged, and the hole in the post looks fine as well. I think it was the PB Blaster which ended up causing it to loosen

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I was hoping to avoid replacing any springs and having to deal with bending them for setting tension, so was thinking about ways to make this a tighter fit if it's something I need to address.

When I pull the spring through, it seats well and isn't loose at all, but if I tap on the tip of it, it doesn't take much force to push it back out.

Should I try flattening the end a little more to see if it'll cause a tighter fit, or maybe tap the flat end to bulge it out and make it less flat? Not sure if I really need to do anything here though, so thought I'd ask about it.
 

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To answer your question about the loose hinge rod and spreading the head a few post back. Well yes and no. Is it loose when fully tightened? On final assembly you can spread the heads some at the risk of the head breaking. Post fitting pliers is the way to go. You can also flash the inside of the hole with some solder. However there is a risk of creating a mess. Overall I would leave it alone.
If the side to side play is still bothering you. Everyone’s going to shoot me for saying make a shim. I’m guessing the side of a plastic bottle? Use a hole punch to fabricate with.
The sewing needle clamped in the tool will work. It needs to be good and secure. What I’m using is a straight dissecting/teasing needle. .044 x 1-5/8, 4” wood handle. The first half inch is 0 to .033.

For your learning adventures catching pads on fire🤣. You bought two sticks of shellac. Plenty! Practice on the back of a few old pads😉 you will get a sense of feel on how much heat it takes. The material heat / flow and working time / characteristics without ruining a new pad. Pay attention to your torch setting, heat a cup without a pearl and practice putting a old pad in. maintaining a consistent technique count the amount of times you circle around the cup. 1,2,3,4,5 try. Build you judgment with a little finesse.

The neck screw should be something like 10-32. Have a spare hardware pile ? Find a screw that fits. It’s going to be an American thread. Test the screw in one of these cheesy pairs of wire strippers for size. Ferrees item.
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Spring issue. Mount the part above the spring. The spring should index away from the hook in the cradle. With the spring flat area on your anvil, bend facing up. Give it a hit with a ball peen hammer flat side. Wear goggles! There is a risk that the spring may shatter. With the spring facing down or hanging over the edge the risk is greater breaking /shearing the spring. You just need to add a fuzz more dovetail to the end. Press into place. Knocking it in with a punch will knock the post over. Tool🤔 Have a Dremel tool ? Junk pair of needle nose pliers? I hacked this out before I bought a real pair. Just make sure you polish everything smooth or you will end up with tool marks on the post. Gap is .065
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The problem with neck tenon screws is that they require a shoulder on the screw. The vast majority of hardware store thumbscrews do NOT have a shoulder and won't work. If you buy something called "flanged spade-head thumbscrew" it'll be shaped roughly correctly but the space head (the part you grasp to tighten) is quite small whereas the screws used on saxophones have a much larger grasping area.

For my el-cheapo I soldered a penny into the slot of a machine screw, but your best bet is to either order from Ferree's (if they have what you need) or get a repair tech to order for you. For your Ni plate horn an ordinary zinc plate steel screw, or a stainless steel screw, would be a close enough appearance match. The thread size is anyone's guess. Simplest is to go to the hardware store and try a bunch of screws. It'll be US, not metric.
 

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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
Thanks guys. I think PigSquealer was meaning for me to use a standard hardware screw just to find out the thread type, so I could order the appropriate tenon/lyre screws from Ferrees. I'll grab the ones off of my son's Tenor and Alto to see if either may be the same pitch. If not, I do have quite a large bucket of bolts in the garage, so can dig through to see if I find one with the same pitch.

For the spring, I gave it a tap on the bench anvil as suggested, and it did widen, but it also split the end a bit... you can see it in the pic below. Sliding it back into the post, it now makes contact before fully seating; so I'm hopeful it'll tighten up when fully seated. Should I maybe put a drop of blue locktite, or something else, on the end of the spring before seating it?

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Now I just need to figure out a way to seat it in given the tools I have. I do have a set of smooth jaw'ed needle nose pliers as well as a dremmel ... but for just one spring, I'm going to try and come up with something which can do the job before cutting up the pliers. If I were replacing multiple (or all) springs, I wouldn't hesitate; but this is the only one which needs to be reseated.
 

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If you've got a pair of true needlenose pliers, you can probably get enough purchase on the post next to where the spring comes out, to push on the other end of it and fully seat it.

Some of the weakest grade Loctite is a good idea, but make sure everything (including inside the hole) is oil free. (Not so easy to do.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 · (Edited)
I used some Zippo fluid on a pipe cleaner to clean the spring slot in the post from both sides, then also used a toothpick with Zippo fluid on it, and finally put some Zippo fluid on the spring itself and ran it back and forth in the slot to try and get it cleaned as much as possible.

I have some blue loctite on hand, so used a toothpick to put some on the spring where it'll sit inside the post

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Then tried my smooth jaw needle nose pliers to seat it in

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I believe it did go in further, and is not pushing out when I tap on the tip anymore; although it didn't go in far enough to be flush with the back of the post.

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I checked other springs on the sax, and notice how flush the back of the springs are is inconsistent across them. Some are very flush, and some look like this one does.

I think I'm going to leave it as is for now, and let the loctite setup. If the spring falls out again during the rest of the work I'm doing, then I'll readdress this ... but hopefully what I've done here will be good enough to last?
 

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I used some Zippo fluid on a pipe cleaner to clean the spring slot in the post from both sides, then also used a toothpick with Zippo fluid on it, and finally put some Zippo fluid on the spring itself and ran it back and forth in the slot to try and get it cleaned as much as possible.

I have some blue loctite on hand, so used a toothpick to put some on the spring where it'll sit inside the post

I checked other springs on the sax, and notice how flush the back of the springs are is inconsistent across them. Some are very flush, and some look like this one does.

I think I'm going to leave it as is for now, and let the loctite setup. If the spring falls out again during the rest of the work I'm doing, then I'll readdress this ... but hopefully what I've done here will be good enough to last?
Once the horn is assembled and there is tension on the springs, it'll aid in keeping them secure in place. Unless they wiggle around in the post, you will be just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
Thanks guys, that makes me feel better about it. The spring was not loose in the post before, at least not in terms of wiggling around once seated; it was just very easily pushed out by tapping on the tip of the spring. So I think the extra flattening of the end, along with the loctite and use of the needle nose pliers, will probably hold it.

As always, I really appreciate the input all of you have given me! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #131 ·
My MM order arrived today, and I started dry fitting pads into the cups. So far, so good!

question on dry fitting though … should I reassemble the entire thing before shellacking any pads in? Or is it better to just do one at a time .. dry fitting, making any adjustments, shellac it in, oil and assemble those pieces, then move to the next cup (or cups)?

I started along the path of dry fitting everything, but then wondered if it would be a waste of time.

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I think if you've removed all the linkage corks, you can just assemble the two stacks and make sure of all those pads at once, then proceed to floating them. Bell keys, side and palm keys are pretty much all on-offs and generally you've got to finish up with the stacks before you can move to those anyway.
 

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Shellac the pads in on the disassembled parts / stacks. Use a little more shellac than what you think you need so that there is a bit of a cushion between the pads and the cups but try to have them somewhat parallel to the cups. After you re-assemble everything, you'll have leaks everywhere, don't worry, that's normal.
In the assembled stack, heat up the cups to the point where you feel the pads move or actually rise in the cups (the shellac will start to bubble) and then gently press the cup close - I often use the handle of a wooden ladle. That way you get a very good alignment of the pads with the tone holes and you don't have to press hard to "make a seat". If done correctly, you get a very shallow, full circle at even depth all around impression and that's the goal. If there is a little too much shellac, it will escape around the edge of the pad and don't worry, it won't stick to the pads but once it is cooled off, you can gently remove it with a tooth pick or even an eraser.

Once all pads are "leveled" the hard part starts, that is, the regulation for equal key height and synchronized closing of the pads. Never try to bend anything unless it is absolutely unavoidable. All of this can be done with little cork shims at the actuator bars. If you don't have it, get a set of assorted thickness cork sheets (Music Medic) from 1/64 to 1/8" thickness, most of what you need will be around 1/16 to 1/32 thickness.

Cut the little shims, try to dry-fit them (many will need to be tapered/wedges) and sand them into shape before gluing them in using contact cement (Weldwood etc). For the final adjustments, use 320 - 400 grit sand paper strips and a piece of paper underneath to protect the horn. It's a tedious process if you have never done it before. But that's really all I can tell you

Start with the upper stack before you have the palm keys or anything else that can get in the way and work yourself down.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #134 ·
Thanks guys, I appreciate the great advice!

I actually reassembled it earlier today with the pads dry fitted. Two of the pads are falling out though, so I'll get 0.5mm larger for these two.

Everything seems to have gone back together well. A couple of cups were not centered so I tweaked their key arms a bit and they centered up.

Looking at how the pads meet the tone holes, everything looks pretty good to my untrained eye. The pads are making 1st contact on the front edge, and most have a slight gap on the hinge side when closed. I'm thinking this is perfect as the shellac will add height.That said, some seem to touch evenly just dry fitted. I haven't dropped the leak light in or anything, but I thought I may do so just to get a look, thinking it may help inform me how much shellac I should use for each cup. Is it accurate to assume if there's a gap at the hinge side it means I should use more shellac than if there is no gap? And the larger the gap at the hinge side would mean more shellac to add height?

In terms of bedding the pads in, and then floating them after mounting the cups ... Should I do the floating with the springs disconnected and using just gravity to pull the cup down, or should I connect the springs and actuate the touch piece with light pressure?

I imagine both methods probably have their benefits and drawbacks. My initial thought was to disconnect the springs and let gravity pull the cup down, then heat it up and let the pad settle ... providing some help with the pin vice as needed. Should I have the leak light in the body when doing this, so I can tell when the pad is fully contacting the tone hole?

When I was reassembling everything, I was paying particular attention to any side to side play in the remaining key work, and I didn't find any. Only that one on the bell has a slight bit of movement, but all the others are tight between the posts.

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I also noticed these touch pieces (palm keys maybe?) seemed like they should be in a straight line, but I'm not sure ... do they seem right to you guys? I don't want to go adjusting anything at this stage, but this just caught my eye and I thought I'd ask while I'm thinking about it.

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By all means use a leak light when seating pads. I strongly urge you to do so with the springs engaged. It does change how the key closes in some cases. I have become fond of what I call the "tap tap" method of seating pads. I heat the keycup till the shellac is softened and then tap the key closed repeatedly with a moderate touch. In my experience this allows the pad to orient itself to the tonehole and does up to 80% of the work to get a perfect closure. The side keys do need to be in a straight line and on the same plane. It looks like you are doing well. Keep up the good work.
 

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the great advice!

I actually reassembled it earlier today with the pads dry fitted. Two of the pads are falling out though, so I'll get 0.5mm larger for these two.

Everything seems to have gone back together well. A couple of cups were not centered so I tweaked their key arms a bit and they centered up.

Looking at how the pads meet the tone holes, everything looks pretty good to my untrained eye. The pads are making 1st contact on the front edge, and most have a slight gap on the hinge side when closed. I'm thinking this is perfect as the shellac will add height.That said, some seem to touch evenly just dry fitted. I haven't dropped the leak light in or anything, but I thought I may do so just to get a look, thinking it may help inform me how much shellac I should use for each cup. Is it accurate to assume if there's a gap at the hinge side it means I should use more shellac than if there is no gap? And the larger the gap at the hinge side would mean more shellac to add height?

In terms of bedding the pads in, and then floating them after mounting the cups ... Should I do the floating with the springs disconnected and using just gravity to pull the cup down, or should I connect the springs and actuate the touch piece with light pressure?

I imagine both methods probably have their benefits and drawbacks. My initial thought was to disconnect the springs and let gravity pull the cup down, then heat it up and let the pad settle ... providing some help with the pin vice as needed. Should I have the leak light in the body when doing this, so I can tell when the pad is fully contacting the tone hole?

When I was reassembling everything, I was paying particular attention to any side to side play in the remaining key work, and I didn't find any. Only that one on the bell has a slight bit of movement, but all the others are tight between the posts.

I also noticed these touch pieces (palm keys maybe?) seemed like they should be in a straight line, but I'm not sure ... do they seem right to you guys? I don't want to go adjusting anything at this stage, but this just caught my eye and I thought I'd ask while I'm thinking about it.

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In my experience, gravity alone will not do the trick, you can try but my feeling is that by the time you have the pads perfectly floated using gravity only, you have done too much heat damage (for lack of a better term). When you have the choice between being cute and getting the job done, which one do you think is better? :) :)

Be aware that rolled tone holes will add a bit of challenge when it comes down to getting a perfect seal, I love them but they just require a bit extra care.

Overall, it looks like you are doing a terrific job, congratulations. But one thing you will notice is that it is not possible to add equal amounts of shellac to every pad. Well, it is possible but beyond impractical, hence my earlier advice to be a bit over-generous and squeeze out the surplus (gravity won't do that) to get the best possible fit. It's all a matter of getting used to the job, you ask 20 techs, and you'll get 20 different answers and what I am telling you is just my own personal preference as a non-tech with a few decades of microsurgery experience if that counts for anything.

The centering you mentioned, absolutely yes but be very careful to not bend the tubes, you'll end up with uneven friction for the different keys, which is acceptable if you play very slow ballads but not for anything else.

The right hand palm keys you show, yes, align them, otherwise you'll end up with all kinds of mayhem.

Again, it looks you are on the right path to a great horn (I love c-mels), don't hesitate to ask if there are any more roadblocks (which there will be)
 

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@Stoopalini good job on the spring ! Move on. On the dry fit having a gap on the hinge side with the pad closed is a good thing👍 How much shellac is a craftsman judgment. One of the benefits of the MM shellac is easy cleanup if any ozzes out the edges. You can always try applying shellac and measuring it. You know at .200 it’s a tad thick.
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Seating the pads is another craftsman skill. Tapping, squeezing, ironing with padslick / rings all work. As @abadcliche once said. “ I have seen people do pad work that I cannot duplicate“. Figure out what works for you. Observe as many techniques as possible and apply them to your use. Knowledge is power ! Bending eveything to fit ? Ouch in my book. Although it is sometimes necessary to make a light adjustment.
 

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Going back to the swedging issue and how to deal with not having all the technician tools, I had a couple of instances where I could take up tiny amounts of movement on the pivot screws using Teflon tape. There are several types of Teflon tape, white, pink, and yellow. White is too soft. Pink works okay. Cut a little strip and roll it into a tiny booger the size of a mustard seed. Using a pin, put that into the end of the rod. The pivot screw is then driven through the post and into the tape, deforming it and taking up the little bit of wiggle without friction. Might need adjusting once a year.
 

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Going back to the swedging issue and how to deal with not having all the technician tools, I had a couple of instances where I could take up tiny amounts of movement on the pivot screws using Teflon tape. There are several types of Teflon tape, white, pink, and yellow. White is too soft. Pink works okay. Cut a little strip and roll it into a tiny booger the size of a mustard seed. Using a pin, put that into the end of the rod. The pivot screw is then driven through the post and into the tape, deforming it and taking up the little bit of wiggle without friction. Might need adjusting once a year.
Yes there are many Band-Aids. Including using waxed dental floss for loose threads. Sometimes it’s best to leave things alone. Putting too much Teflon tape in the end of a rod can spread the posts. But then again it depends on the shape of the pivot 😉
 

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@Stoopalini those side keys touches should be inline and the level. Leave them alone for the time being. Make the final adjustments on the tail end of the assembly.
Palm keys, side keys, LH pinky table, RH pinky table are all adjustable for the players anatomy and desires for feel. Still the key opening heighs need to be adjusted/tuned correctly.
 
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