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Discussion Starter · #141 · (Edited)
Great input again guys, thanks!

I've been taking some time and just studying the sax ... key cup positions, movements, interactions, and how the pads are meeting the tone holes being dry fit like this. making note of where cork and/or felt will go, etc ...

I dropped the leak light in just to check it out, and many of them are sealing great just being dry fit. I think on these, I probably want minimal shellac, correct?

Here are a couple of examples where it seals great with the pad seated fully all the way in the key cup:
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No light is escaping anywhere on those. Not in the front nor in the back by the hinge.

Then I started playing with the pin vice, to see what it would be like to adjust some of the other pads where there is light escaping.

This bell key cup for example, required me to pull the pad out just a very small amount to get it to seal

Here it is fully seated in the cup, but open just a bit by the touch point:

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So I used the pin vice to pull just a bit out on the front, and it then sealed all the way around, making contact uniformly as it closes.

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Then there's this other one on the bell ... this is the same one which has the slight side to side play in it.

Here it is fully open and the pad seated all the way in

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Here's what it looks like when the key cup is actuated enough to be level with the tone hole. This seems like an awful lot of distance to try and cover with shellac behind the pad ... but again, I'm not really sure if that's true or not

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And finally, here it is when it's fully closed. This is another case where it looks like a thick pad would be better, IMO.

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The pad is installed in that cup in all 3 pictures above, and the cup has an equal gap on both sides when closed. Other than doing a compound bend on the really short key arm, or putting a really thick bed of shellac in it ... I don't see how I can get this to make up the gap other than going with a thicker pad.

Another thing I found is this tone hole on the bell appears to be warped. When I lay the pad on the tone hole, it seals all around except this one place.

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To be continued ....
 

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Discussion Starter · #142 · (Edited)
... When I close the cup down, the gap actually gets worse

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I tried rotating the pad, thinking maybe the pad itself wasn't flat .. but the gap remains in the same place no matter the clocking orientation of the pad.

For this one, I'm thinking I'll need to somehow get the pad to pull down on this one side only, and hold it there while the shellac sets up. Like shellac the pad in, install the key cup, activate the touch point to close the cup, then heat up the back of the key cup while holding the touch point, and use the pin vice to pull this one side down ... and hold it there until the shellac cools enough so the pad can maintain the non-uniform shape.

Does this seem like the right approach?
 

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For that bell key one pad, I'd cut and dry fit a cardboard shim so that it's level to the tone hole when closed rather than when open 1/16".

For the low C pad, I wouldn't mess around with trying to level the tone hole unless there's clear evidence of a nearby dent. You COULD mess around with partial shims behind the pad like flute techs do; I probably wouldn't; I'd probably use an extra thick bed of shellac, and seat that puppy down. I don't like to go bending stuff until I'm really convinced it HAS to be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
Thanks @turf3, the shim idea makes sense (y) I'll experiment with it while I'm in the dry-fit phase.

The only bending I've done thus far has been very slight adjustments needed to center a key cup over a tone hole, but that's it for now. Everyone is pretty much telling me the same thing ... meaning, any bending should be a "last resort" for pad seating work. Use pad manipulation as much as possible 1st, to get them to seal. Sounds logical to me :)
 

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... When I close the cup down, the gap actually gets worse

View attachment 144943

I tried rotating the pad, thinking maybe the pad itself wasn't flat .. but the gap remains in the same place no matter the clocking orientation of the pad.

For this one, I'm thinking I'll need to somehow get the pad to pull down on this one side only, and hold it there while the shellac sets up. Like shellac the pad in, install the key cup, activate the touch point to close the cup, then heat up the back of the key cup while holding the touch point, and use the pin vice to pull this one side down ... and hold it there until the shellac cools enough so the pad can maintain the non-uniform shape.

Does this seem like the right approach?
What I said above. Use an extra little bit of shellac and let it float into level with the chimney. And as @saxoclese said, tapping may be a better way of "massaging" the pad into place than just pressure but it is a case by case decision of what works best.

One thing that you probably noticed by now is that prep work is the mother of all fitting and you appear to have done a good job overall. But also keep in mind that a pad doesn't need to be parallel to the cup, but it is important for it to be parallel to the chimney. Finally, many of the antique/vintage horns did use different thickness pads for the upper vs. lower stack, that is, 4 mm for the upper and 5 mm for the lower stack. You can get away with uniform 4 mm thickness but not the other way around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
So my plan right now is to start disassembling the sax again, and as I take each piece off, I'll seat the pad into the cup. Then put it right back on and float it to get it to seal. Then take it back off and put it in the ziploc bag according to the numbers I organized by.

I'll do this all the way down until all the new pads have been installed. Then I'll reassemble it in reverse order, adding cork and felt where needed, and oiling each component as I go.

When that's done, I should have properly seated/sealed pads, fresh oil in all the right places, and cork/felt as a starting point for the adjustment and regulation work.

Does this sound like a reasonable approach?

I took a stab at my 1st pad seating today ... I think it went well? Things I learned are ... I used too much shellac for this pad, and I also think I pressed too hard when I flipped it over on the bench anvil to press it in. This one was seating perfectly just dry fit though, where many of the others are not. This is one reason I'm planning to tackle it in the order I explained above, as it'll allow me to observe the dry fit state immediately before shellacing the pad in.


Feedback definitely welcome on how I can improve the process I used here:

 

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Assuming a pad is perfectly flat is dangerous. Don’t check tone holes for level with a pad. Find something round and flat to check your tone holes. Use the surface of your anvil to check tool for flatness. A 2” round glass inspection mirror from your toolbox may work/fit.
During the dry fitting if a pad is too thick iron down the back some. If it’s too thin think about how much shellac you need to add or shim. This is the reason to do the dry fit. You’re checking the working tolerances. I don’t see anything in your pictures requiring the need to key bend for fit.
Tapping a pad to fit is a better choice than a dead squeeze.
You would do yourself a world of good practicing shellac work on a few old pads first.
FWIW you’re scaring me working with an alcohol lamp over a paper towel. Find something to cover your table that’s non-flammable.
I like to work with the heat in front of me. Holding the pad over the anvil. Heat the shellac and bring it to the pad. Any drips that hit the table or anvil I can pick up with the molten tip of the stick. My Hands / arms do not reach across the flame. Reaching across the flame may burn you or catch your shirt on fire. A natural reaction flinch could knock the lamp/torch over.
Hold the stick a little higher. It doesn’t need to be directly in the flame you don’t want to smoke(contaminate) the shellac.
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you’re making good progress and asking all the right questions! Keep up the good work(y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #149 ·
Thanks for the input @PigSquealer ... fair enough on the paper towel. I just wanted something to catch any drips if they happened; but you're right, I should use something nonflammable instead.

As for the tone hole which seems uneven ... I tried rotating the pad and the gap still showed up in the same place. I cut a cardboard circle out of some packaging material I had laying around and stuck it between the cup and the pad, and this actually helped a lot to reduce the leak. Which brings me to another question ... If I'm going to use cardboard spacers on some of the pads, do I use contact cement to affix the spacer to the inside of the cup, and then shellac the pad in as normal? Or is there some other method to securing a spacer in the cup?

I did practice shellacing a few of the old pads prior to making that video, just to get a feel for how the shellac stick would behave. I need to get a better understanding on how much shellac to use given what the dry fit is telling me. Seems like experience will be the best teacher here.

When you say "tapping the pad" ... I know a couple of you guys explained it ealier, but I'm not sure I'm fully understanding. Does this mean I should apply shellac to the back of the pad, flatten it on the anvil, then heat the cup and just set the pad in it without any real pressure? Just so it adheres to the cup, but don't press it in? Then when I installed the key cup on the body, close the key and heat the back of the cup to melt the shellac inside and tap on the backside to seat the pad fully into the cup? Not sure if I'm getting that right ....

I had band rehearsal tonight so I didn't have time to try any more shellacing, but I did re-affix an original cork piece to a key.

Here's what 100 year old cork looks like ... and it still has plenty of springyness to it too!

I used a toothpick to put some contact cement on the back of the cork, and also on the key. Then I let it sit for about 5 mins ...

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Then stuck it back on ...

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I thought about making a new piece for it with the cork assortment I bought from MM, but the original was still in good shape. The glue just failed on it so I figured I'd just reattach it.

I'm hoping to get some more pad work done tomorrow, but we'll see what the day brings :)
 

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When a pad is in and reasonably level. Heat the back of the cup to soften the shellac. Rapidly open and close the key tapping it against the tone hole. “ Tapping into place“. light as played pressure.

post #142 picture & pad fit.
The pad does not look excessively thin. With a bed of shellac on the back it will most likely be the correct thickness. refer to your original pictures as a gauge of the pad protrusion.
The key has a compound S bend. It could possibly need just a fuzz of a bend to make things drop into place.
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this is a difficult bend for someone with no experience. There is a chance you could break the part. The bend/ twist is done in this area. Heel to toe adjusting. Then from the right line to the cup corrects right to left level. sometimes this can also be done with a overall move, cup to where the key arm meets the tube. I advise extreme caution on this. It’s difficult to tell you how to do this not being there in person.
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How thick was the shim you needed ? If the pad is .160/4mm and you add a .020 shim it may be a better idea to get a thicker pad replacement. MM will replace 4 or 5 at no charge. All at one time. So check everything and order alternates if needed.
Honestly I’ve never had to use a shim. I’ve been able to fit around the issue with correct size pads or mechanical readjustment.
nonetheless it’s still a valid option. If I was in your position I would shellac back of pad as you normally would. Install the key on the sax and check it again as a dry fit but with shellac on the back. From there it’s a judgment call. Add a little more shellac or go for a shim ? At that point you would be shellacking the shim into the cup, The pad with shellac on it next.

Measure the cork thickness and replace it. Go a little thicker. It’s old and likely hard. The little bit of difference in hardness will make the key clunk when it’s played. It may also be necessary to alter the thickness depending on the key height opening. All depends on how the side keys lineup.
 

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If you do decide to use a shim behind the pad, I'd use shellac on both sides of the shim. Your choice whether to shellack the shim into the cup first and then float the pad, or attach it to the pad first; I've not done this before and have no opinion, but I'd use shellac for all of it, then it will all come apart neatly with heat the next time it has to come apart.
 

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If you do decide to use a shim behind the pad, I'd use shellac on both sides of the shim. Your choice whether to shellack the shim into the cup first and then float the pad, or attach it to the pad first; I've not done this before and have no opinion, but I'd use shellac for all of it, then it will all come apart neatly with heat the next time it has to come apart.
It's his first repad job and I strongly advise against shims, just because it'll add an unnecessary level of complexity. Otherwise, that's how I would do it, too.
 

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Let's all keep in mind, OP and the rest of us, that pretty much any mistake in padding is easily reversible, worst case you lose a pad. So if you end up trying something two or three different ways before you get a successful result, that's just learning. Unlike if you were getting paid for this in which case not getting it right the first time eats up your profit margin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
So the pad I was concerned about needing a thick pad for is this one on the bell:

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Here is what the dry fit looked like with the pad inserted into the cup:

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The size of the gap created when the cup is parallel with the chimney is almost as thick as the new pad itself ...

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So I was hesitant to do a really thick bed of shellac to try and get the pad be level with both the chimney and the cup. Based on what folks said about not worrying about the pad being level with the cup, I decided to try my hand at a 1/2 circle shim.

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I 1st applied shellac to the back of the pad as usual, and flattened it out on the anvil. Then I formed the 1/2 circle shim to the shape of the curvature inside the cup and shellaced it in on the hinge side. Next I added a good amount of shellac to the center of the cup and then hit the shellac on the inside of the cup with my butane torch, to turn it to liquid so it would level out. Finally I placed the pad into the cup before the shellac was cool.

After the cup cooled down, I then mounted it on the horn and heated it again with my butane torch, implementing the tap method. This worked well, although I still had a small leak in one spot. So I heated the quadrant of the cup where the leak was, and used my pin vice to pull down in the spot, and held it until the shellac set up again.

Here is the result ... notice how far out of the cup the back of the pad is compared to the front.

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And here's a quick video showing how it seals. I know the general advice is to stay away from shims, but this seems to have turned out ok. I still need to clean the cup up a bit from some shellac strings which dried on it, but that is very easy with this stuff :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #156 ·
Here it is removed, ready to go into it's ziploc until final reassembly. I think I did a better job of evaluating the amount of shellac I needed here, as well as using the tap method ... since it didn't ooze out of the edges like the 1st one I did.

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So the pad I was concerned about needing a thick pad for is this one on the bell:

View attachment 145078


Here is what the dry fit looked like with the pad inserted into the cup:

View attachment 145077


The size of the gap created when the cup is parallel with the chimney is almost as thick as the new pad itself ...

View attachment 145079

So I was hesitant to do a really thick bed of shellac to try and get the pad be level with both the chimney and the cup. Based on what folks said about not worrying about the pad being level with the cup, I decided to try my hand at a 1/2 circle shim.

View attachment 145076

I 1st applied shellac to the back of the pad as usual, and flattened it out on the anvil. Then I formed the 1/2 circle shim to the shape of the curvature inside the cup and shellaced it in on the hinge side. Next I added a good amount of shellac to the center of the cup and then hit the shellac on the inside of the cup with my butane torch, to turn it to liquid so it would level out. Finally I placed the pad into the cup before the shellac was cool.

After the cup cooled down, I then mounted it on the horn and heated it again with my butane torch, implementing the tap method. This worked well, although I still had a small leak in one spot. So I heated the quadrant of the cup where the leak was, and used my pin vice to pull down in the spot, and held it until the shellac set up again.

Here is the result ... notice how far out of the cup the back of the pad is compared to the front.

View attachment 145075


View attachment 145074


And here's a quick video showing how it seals. I know the general advice is to stay away from shims, but this seems to have turned out ok. I still need to clean the cup up a bit from some shellac strings which dried on it, but that is very easy with this stuff :)

Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #158 ·
Thanks! Now I’m wondering if I should have used a thicker spacer which was a complete circle though, or a thicker pad.

I was thinking through the adjustment and regulation impacts. It appears the cup is setup for a thicker pad, and by using something thinner, it means the key needs to pivot a little further for the pad to seal.

So will this cause an issue when I go to adjust and regulate? I can definitely see now, how every piece you work on has an impact to other areas. In this case, I may need to use a thicker or thinner cork somewhere to allow this key cup to travel further, but then that would impact the alignment of the touch piece … so then you have to bend it to realign??

Definitely a lot to think through and learn, but one step at a time 😊
 

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@Stoopalini
Nice work! You’re grasping the cause and effect of adjustments.

Now I’m wondering if I should have used a thicker spacer which was a complete circle.
I would try a full circle shim half of the thickness. that should balance the pad out with the crooked looking level in the cup.

I was thinking through the adjustment and regulation impacts. It appears the cup is setup for a thicker pad, and by using something thinner, it means the key needs to pivot a little further for the pad to seal.
Once you get the pads settled plan on making adjustments in the mechanism /cork. Post some pictures of what it looks like when you’re at that point. Everyone will jump in to help.
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So will this cause an issue when I go to adjust and regulate? I can definitely see now, how every piece you work on has an impact to other areas. In this case, I may need to use a thicker or thinner cork somewhere to allow this key cup to travel further, but then that would impact the alignment of the touch piece … so then you have to bend it to realign??

Definitely a lot to think through and learn, but one step at a time 😊

For now don’t bend anything. If the bell key pad is installed more level in the cup it’s most likely close to what was there (regulation)before. It will also work as is, but do plan on making some adjustments. Cork and/or bending.
 

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Tip on shellac strings on pad. If you dismantle that bell key pad. You may end up with some strings of shellac. On your pin prick hold the pad shellac facing down about 4 inches over your alcohol lamp. A little bit of heat they will shrink back up to the bottom of the pad. It only takes a second. Be careful you don’t burn the pad !
 
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