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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to know what some of the other techs recommend when a saxophone bell bow needs to be reattached. For example what are the pros and cons to soldering, using bees wax, using epoxy and so on. Thanks.

John
 

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IMO
1. Soldering is more permanent, can cause damage to the lacquer when soldering.


2. Epoxy, can become brittle after time and "crack" when there is any "trauma" to the bell.



3. Never heard of the bees wax option.

4. Iv'e seen silicone "mastic" type sealant used in this situation and it did remain flexible.


whichever method you use it is important to ensure that no leaks are left once the job is complete.

I tend to solder when it has been soldered and epoxy where that has been used. Unless of course the customer wants it differently.
 

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Griff, I've heard one repairer say that on some models, the ring and screws are enough to hold the bell in place so he doesn't solder or glue, and seals it with beeswax.
 

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I use beeswax on older Selmers to seal the body to bow joint (though paraffin wax will do the job just as well) - it's easy enough to apply with a gas torch to melt it into the join and to clean off if needed. As the joint is made the wrong way round in that the bow joint fits inside the body, water can get into the join easily if not sealed, get under the joint ring and rust the joint ring screws.

Jupiter have used silicone sealant for some time, and Yamaha have used epoxy.

Whatever sealant you use, make sure it's not water soluble (ie. don't use PVA glue).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think that for a better mechanical bond, either epoxy or soldering would work better than beeswax which seals but does not bond the material. Also beeswax would become runny if the instrument were left in a hot car for example. Also there are so many different epoxies on the market now, I think it would be hard to generalize and say that they all become brittle over time.

John
 

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The layer of epoxy is pretty thin. So, thinking of glass fibre, and how brittleness is hardly an issue when a brittle material is thin, I think that the problem is not so much brittleness, but rather it may be inadequate adhesion to the surfaces. That is because of poor preparation.

Also, slow-setting epoxy adheres better than fast-setting.
 

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jbtsax said:
I think that for a better mechanical bond, either epoxy or soldering would work better than beeswax which seals but does not bond the material. Also beeswax would become runny if the instrument were left in a hot car for example. Also there are so many different epoxies on the market now, I think it would be hard to generalize and say that they all become brittle over time.

John
If the sax is made well and all the parts that hold the bell on do their job well, there's no need for a permanent join between the body and bow, and a soft soldered joint will be a pain to undo if you need to get the bell off. The good thing with removeable bells is just that - they can be removed to do dent work and make repadding much easier. Having to unsolder and resolder a joint only increases the risk of burning the lacquer or unsoldering nearby pillars.

And how often do you leave your saxes in a hot car?
 

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I thought Selmers have a neoprene seal at the bow/body.
 

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Since the SA80II was introduced, Selmers have fitted an O-ring to seal this joint.

Prior to this (and on many other makes) it's a much simpler joint.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Chris Peryagh said:
If the sax is made well and all the parts that hold the bell on do their job well, there's no need for a permanent join between the body and bow, and a soft soldered joint will be a pain to undo if you need to get the bell off.
I agree, but not all saxes have the mechanical ring that holds the bow connection in place.
Chris Peryagh said:
The good thing with removeable bells is just that - they can be removed to do dent work and make repadding much easier. Having to unsolder and resolder a joint only increases the risk of burning the lacquer or unsoldering nearby pillars.
Agree as well, however a bell bow that has been epoxied in place can be easily detached using much less heat than it would take to unsolder a soldered joint.
Chris Peryagh said:
And how often do you leave your saxes in a hot car?
Never, if I can help it, but I have had several customers who do it on a regular basis.

John
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
The layer of epoxy is pretty thin. So, thinking of glass fibre, and how brittleness is hardly an issue when a brittle material is thin, I think that the problem is not so much brittleness, but rather it may be inadequate adhesion to the surfaces. That is because of poor preparation.

Also, slow-setting epoxy adheres better than fast-setting.
I wish Yamaha used a slow-set instead of the 5-minute type. Also on Yamaha's, have you noticed that there is limited epoxy between the tenons of the joints and there is a huge circular bead of it running circular around the bore at the seam? Most of teh time I find the epoxy has not adhered to the outer lacquered bow male tenon more often than the inner unlaquered body tube female tenon. I always rough-up those areas with some steelwool when I'm prepping for reassembly.
 

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Do the current Yamaha 23 and 275 saxes have the ring clamp at the join, or are they still a plain joint without one (but glued up with epoxy)?
 

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I solder if the joint was originally soldered, silicone-based sealant in other cases (where there is a ring clamp).
 

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Chris Peryagh said:
Do the current Yamaha 23 and 275 saxes have the ring clamp at the join, or are they still a plain joint without one (but glued up with epoxy)?
There is no body-bow band on the YAS23. (Never heard of a 275 here in the US) I believe the 475 series and all models there and up do have a band.
 

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I will solder, or use epoxy. I never use silicone sealant, since I find a much higher percentage of joint failures with silicone, compared to solder or epoxy. With epoxy I will use Armstrong Epoxy(sold from allied supply) it is the strongest I have found, but also the most difficult to remove. It cost more than most other epoxies on the market, but well worth the extra cost IMHO. I don't really find any kind of wax to be a good idea, just because of its susceptibility to heat. What if a key guard flange needs to be repaired close to the joint, paraffin wax is the most susceptible, melting at a very low temperature.
 

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Saxdaddy said:
I don't really find any kind of wax to be a good idea, just because of its susceptibility to heat. What if a key guard flange needs to be repaired close to the joint, paraffin wax is the most susceptible, melting at a very low temperature.
If a keyguard flange needs to be soldered back on in this area, chances are you'd take the bell off to do this work anyway (as it's likely some damage has been done to the body), as well as cleaning off all the wax used to seal the joint before doing any soldering work.

So, would you prefer to soft solder the body to bow joint on a Selmer SBA or MkVI rather than using a sealant which can be removed easily with no damage to the finish?
 

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I detest the presence of silicone if I want to solder or use any other adhesive. Therefore I don't use it.
 
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