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Best Way To Plug Reciever Crack?

2090 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Henry D
I have a King Zephyr Baritone that has just been repadded. It was playing terribly, and I had a leak light in it etc. and it is sealing perfectly. I finally figured out that the sliver in the receiver (that allows it to be tightened around the neck) has been extended so that it goes below the neck and air leaks in. When I plugged it up with cork grease the horn started playing great.

Does anyone have any advice on how to best plug the crack in the neck receiver? I don't know the correct term for it, but there is a slot in the receiver that allows it to be tightened around the neck. Cork grease is a short term fix, but I was also thinking of chewing gum and teflon tape as another method. There is no repairman in this country, and this is a school horn, so I am hoping for a more permanent solution. Any advice is much appreciated!
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The following is a really home grown fix which is only good as a stop gap substitute when you want the horn to play and really can't get the fix done right.

That said;
-Clean the area around and inside of the crack with a good solvent.
-Insert the neck and tighten it to the point where the neck is just held from rotating.
-Back off the clamp screw by a half turn.
-Remove the neck.
-Use a good silicone sealant (clear is probably the best choice for cosmetics) and with a blob on your finger force it into the crack from the inside all the way up to the area of the normal (non extgended) slit where the "dog ears" for the screw are.
-Carefully dab and the sealant from the outside so that it has a good seat perhaps 1/16" on either side of the crack/slit and isn't sticking way out.
-Carefully wipe the sealant from around the crack/slit on the inside of the receiver so that there is nothing except in the slit- and so that that surface of sealant is flush with (or VERY slightly protruding).
-Let it sit for a half hour.
-Very lightly smear the end of the neck tenon with lubricant (grease, whatever) and gently insert it into the neck. The grease will keep the partially cured sealant from adhering to the neck.
-Don't go twisting it or wiggling it; just let the whole thing sit overnight.

The next day the neck should go in and out without leaking and should be able to be tightened with a half turn of the screw. The silicone ought to last for at least six months or so- almost indefinitely if the opening and closing flexion in the neck is confined to a three quarters turn of the screw or less.

I did this on an old Buescher bari when I was stationed in Korea for a year and couldn't find a local tech- worked fine for the duration. Had it fixed properly (replaced the receiver) as soon as I moved to an area with a shop. Aesthetics aside, it probably would have worked forever.

The next step up- still less than ideal- in doing this right involves solder in the crack (soft solder would probably do). Epoxy will lose adhesion and fall out in a couple of weeks in my experience for this application.

Of course, there's probably an underlying issue with the neck tenon fit which caused someone to slit it in the first place. Unless that is fixed you'll still have issues. Good luck.
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It's unclear as to whether the extension of the slit is deliberate (on some unknown person's part) or stress induced.

Since there's just not that much going on there that would cause a crack to develop in that way the most likely scenario is the undersized neck tenon that won't tighten and some hack attempting to fix it by widening the slot at the top and extending it downward so it pinches more. If you think about it for even a second I'm sure that no tech anywhere hasn't seen that done more than once.

Fix it right? Sure- drill and fill as Dr. G suggests. Or replace the whole socket. Or silver solder it in case there's some force trying to expand the socket at the base that normal solder wouldn't hold.

And make sure the tenon matches the socket in any case.

But the guy has a school horn in scenic Madagascar and no access to a tech (at least to a tech he's willing to pay) and wants to "make it play".

Chewing gum and teflon tape are really unlikely to work here (the gum might, actually, though even I wouldn't endorse it). Slathering it with grease and stopping up the crack will probably allow it to play.

Suggesting that the guy- probably a high school student- take a torch and a drill to a school horn -and using high temp solder at that- is verging on irresponsible as a recommendation to most high school kids without a background in shop work of some sort.

The easily reversible when it finally gets drug to the shop sealant- or chewing gum- may be ugly as sin and require constant attention to work OK but turning him loose with the torch and machine tools without some confirmation of skills on someone elses horn is like offering Nero the use of your spare gas can.
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So noted!

I was taken by the seeming discrepancy between not just your response, but also the likely responses to follow- such as Chris P's detailed and informative post on likely causes and remedies for sort of a different problem than exists here. It is clearly something that repairmen in the trade, and experienced hobbyists, might well find useful or at least thought provoking.

Of no help to the kid though. If the take is; take it to a tech because it can't possibly limp along with jury-rigged fixes and this is the kind of thing that needs to be done that is what probably ought to be said.

Ahhh- that I was paid on a plumber's scale for instrument work! Of course those guys know something.
Btw... I am the band director, not a student. I dabble a lot in repair (necessary as a band director in places like Madagascar), and I appreciate all the responses. Hopefully myself and others on this forum know their limitations when they read repair recommendations from experienced technicians.

I won't be breaking out the metal lathe or a blowtorch on this one, but I just applied some silicone, and will let y'all know how it pans out. Sadly I've been told I am the best person in the country for sax repair (mostly because I am the only one who can get parts and pads reliably), and I have found that jimmy-rigging can be made into a long term solution when there is no alternative. I've seen some pretty crazily fixed horns here.
-My apologies for my erroneous assumptions concerning your age/ experience.

-"Neccessity is <indeed> the mother of invention."

-I once made and used LH palm key pads made of RTV automotive form-a-gasket sealant when I (pre internet) couldn't access a source for replacement pads.

Sealed great, weren't sticky, being palm keys they had very little effect on the overall feel of the horn other than increased travel for the palm keys since they sat pretty deep, and lasted for the six weeks until I finally latched on to pads. They were still working fine when I scraped them out but clearly were starting to cut and would have gone ragged and stopped sealing well in another couple of weeks.

-Sometimes you just do what you have to- best wishes and good luck.
Wonderful! I'm glad it worked for you. It's very frequently true; "The best is the enemy of the good." (Voltaire)

It is, admittedly, debatable whether this was "the good" or merely "the serviceable"...
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