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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am a hobbyist trying to repair/restore an old NWII Alto I bought off of Craigslist. I ran into a few issues that I have hoping to gain some advice on:

1) Where can I find replacement pivot screws? From searching other threads, I know Ferree's has the tiny locking screws (C47). I am looking for the pivot screws themselves, or something else that would work. If you have the part number for this for Ferree's that would be great!

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2) The octave mechanism on the neck has been snapped in half, and the bottom portion with the ring is missing. What remains is the portion just after the posts on the neck. Any ideas on a suitable replacement or how to fabricate something that would work?

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3) I've been able to remove most of the keys, but a few still remain stuck (side Bb, side C, octave key, and all are hinge rods). I've been using WD-40 on it over a course of days, as well as some home made penetrating oil (mix of automatic transmission fluid and acetone). No luck so far. Any tips or other products I can try.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
 

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The pivot screw threads are usually 4-40 on Conn horns. They can be fabricated from 4-40 machine screws and a lathe. They are actually pretty easy to make. I had to make a few for my bass. Screws can be slotted with a jeweler's saw.
 

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Heat is good too!
Irony: I am restoring a NWII at this very moment. Stuck pivot screws, frozen roller rods, janky springs, etc. just those durn rollers and one spring left until all that’s left is normal installation. It has been LENGTHY.
So hang in there!
 

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The only source of the Conn pivot screws I am aware of is from Kraus. The problem is that he only sells to professional techs and he has a $100 minimum order restriction. You may be able to find a local tech who is willing to sell you a few if the shop has them in stock.

The bottom portion of the neck octave key may have to be fabricated and silver soldered to the existing piece. There are lots of techs who can do a job like that, but it won't be inexpensive.

For "frozen" or rusted rods I have good success with PB Blaster. It comes in a spray can, but I spray some in a small glass container (outdoors) and apply it in drops using a needle. Penetrating oil, heat from a Blazer Torch, tapping with a plastic hammer (or end of a screwdriver), and lots of patience usually does the trick. It is critical to have a good fitting screwdriver as well. Sometimes the only thing that works is to unsolder the post.

That is a big undertaking for a "hobbyist" to start out on. I have overhauled many old vintage saxes and some of them are like opening a "Pandora's Box" of issues and problems that can "stretch" even an experienced tech. My stock advice to amateurs is to find a tech who is willing to "back you up" when you get in "over your head". Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
 

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It depends on your personal skill level.

In my case, I'd just cut the lower piece of the octave key arm from sheet brass (probably 1/8"), make a ring out of brass rod, and silver solder the whole schmeer together. For the pivot screws I'd buy all-thread or long screws from McMaster-Carr and turn them down (although I don't have a lathe, for work like this you can get surprising results by chucking the workpiece in an electric drill and using files and a Dremel to remove material).

But I've also been working on all sorts of mechanical devices since I was about 6 years old and my parents were raised during the Depression, so the idea of "don't try this at home, call a professional" was completely alien to our household. If something broke, the first thing you did was to get out the tools and try to fix it. That was also the second thing, third thing, fourth thing... you did - and you didn't "call in the pros" till you were positive you weren't able to do it on your own.
 

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I overhauled a Conn New Wonder 2 C soprano with many frozen rods and screws. Use the methods as above. Blaster, heating and cooling (i even used some ice at one stage), blaster cycles. Also use good quality screwdrivers with which you can achieve a reasonable level of purchase. When attempting to loosen the screws or rods only try for a little movement at a time. Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your helpful suggestions! In terms of my level of experience in saxophone repair, I've tinkered around a bit. I've been able to do teardowns, COAs, and repads myself with some degree of success. I have a set of Wiha precision screwdrivers I work with that seems to do the job most of the time, a hot air soldering station I use as my heat source, and some instrument repair specific tools I've picked up off of musicmedic along the way. Even though I picked up this horn cheap, I could already see the cost of labor and parts to restore vs buying a functioning NWII would probably not balance out economically. This is more of an educational project, with no timeline. But also, I think its fun to bring a horn back from the dead. That said, I am completely open to taking it to a tech to help me with work that is beyond my skills and equipment for "back up".

- I watched a helpful video from Matt Stohrer on Conn pivot screws:
It looks like newer Conns (6M and beyond), use tapered pivot screws. Perhaps they may be interchangeable? If so, perhaps I can expand my search for replacement parts. That said, thanks for the suggestion about fabricating them or talking to my local tech about ordering replacements. A friend of mine has been encouraging me to get my own lathe...If I can't find suitable replacements, I will investigate what the best option is for me.

- For the neck octave mechanism, I'm guessing the easiest solution is to find a replacement part. I'll keep a look out on ebay, as well as any local ads for "donor" horns. If that doesn't work out, I guess talking to my tech about fabricating a replacement part and silver soldering it on to the existing piece might be the way to go? I also found this on Ebay: 3set Alto sax neck repair parts Octave key screw Key mount key spring | eBay
It wouldn't look original, but I guess another option might be to remove the old posts on the neck and solder on a completely new mechanism? However, that does sound more complex than just fabricating a replacement piece...

- Thanks for the suggestions on PB Blaster and Kroil. PB Blaster is available locally, so I will give that a shot. If not, Kroil seems to be highly recommended from what I've read about it. I'll also try heating and cooling. I think I have an old soldering iron lying around i can use to heat with (I like that I can apply heat more precisely with it than my hot air setup). Also, a little at a time with well fitting screw drivers seems good. The slots on some of these are close to stripping. From some other threads, maybe the best approach is a few minutes a day, don't force anything, and put it down for another day if it's not working...

- Yeah, the microtuner is in a bad way! The part with the neck cork is stuck on. I've dropped the whole thing in a vinegar-water bath and will come back to it in a few days. Hopefully by then, the vinegar will have taken care of some of the gunk, rust, and tarnish.

Thanks all for your suggestions! I will keep you posted on the progress!
 

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Oh, yes, I think the pivot screws are 4-48, not 4-40. Make sure to check with a thread gauge or against a screw of known thread.
The pivot screws on my 1926 bass are certainly 4-40. But, I am sure 4-48 may have been used as well. Threaded rod or machine screws at 4-48 might be harder to find. Yes, check the thread pitch first before committing.
 

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The Conn straight and pointed pivot screws are not interchangeable. The straight for older models had a 4-40 thread while the pointed screws for later models (10M, 6M) had a 4-48 thread.
 
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