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Discussion Starter #1
As I´m trying to get better in sax maintenance there´s one dark chapter where I seem to not get any wiser:
Finding the right height for connection corks.
Particularily connections between: 1) left hand stack: C#-B, C#-C or vice versa 2) right hand: F#-F, F#-E, F#-D

Obviously there always has to be a slight "prepressure" left in sanding down the corks, so that there is enough pressure on the first key (C#, F#). But is there a general rule ? If there is too much prepressure left then, of course, all the other keys will have problems getting closed.

To me the main problem seems to be that the corks will need some time to get "flattened", then they get harder and adjust themselves.

To get harder and more persistent corks I had the idea of coutiously lackering the corks. Hardens the corks makes them easier to adjust and more persistent.
Some years ago I saw a horn Emilio Lyons worked on. He used an "inverted" technique: He slung tiny leather parts around the connection bar and lacquered them. No cork at all !
Sorry for my english, if I did´nt use the right terms, please get back to me, and sorry for making this so long. Thanks for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, you say you´re bending the keys, instead of adjusting the cork ?
Sounds really wild to me, I´m curious on other experts´opinions !
 

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It's easier and in many ways better to bend keys than to fart around sanding corks (and I've seen saxes where they've had the felts sanded - even the key button felt disc for LH finger 2!).

Some adjustments are best made by bending keys (and you'll probably find you will need to bend keys anyway as part of a service or overhaul).

I prefer to keep natural cork to a minimum on saxes, and favour the use of comressed felt or ultrasuede which is much more durable and dampens mechanical noise much better.
 

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Chris Peryagh said:
I prefer to keep natural cork to a minimum on saxes, and favour the use of comressed felt or ultrasuede which is much more durable and dampens mechanical noise much better.
Other than all your advice about bending vs. sanding which I agree with, have you tried the rubber cork aka gumi cork aka techcork? What about the synthetic felt? I really like both of these materials.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi, thanks for your reply.
Very interesting and new territory for me:
How and which part of the key do you bend ?
The only part that can be bended without changing the entire key-tonhole angle is the key foot. Do you bend this part and how, and does´nt it affect the key hight ?

I sure did a lot of bending but not for this purpose. Mostly to correct the keyangle or the keycup - tonehole distance (upper-lower part of keycup, if kc is twisted).

One more thing: actually I´m interested in your rules for the "prepressure" (my word) that is: the pressure that is necessary to compress the cork, so that all keys of the stack are closed. Thanks for posting !
 

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I don't sand linkage cork. I don't use natural cork for linkages... It keeps crushing, messing up adjustments. I use a silencing material that is as geometrically stable as possible. In my case it is agglomerated cork, or occasionally a very dense synthetic felt.

Thick silencing material in linkages, especially natural cork, is even more of a disaster, for the same reason.

Agglomerated cork (or felt) is difficult to sand. So I choose a suitable thickness to do the job of silencing while reliably transferring motion.

Adjustments are done by other means, usually by bending. Standard practice. I would never compromise the role of the 'cork' in order to make adjustments.

I note that manufacturers do not adjust cork thickness for adjustments either. Therefore then adjust by bending.

Note that every bend that is made, must be bent too far, and then back again to reach a stable state. How much, comes only with a lot of experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for letting me participate on your knowledge !

Ok, so it seems everybody basically sees the cork (or other material) as damping material for the connections/linkages, that should stay in the same condition and elasticity as long as possible. The necessary adjustments of connections/linkages are done by bending of keys and not by taking away material from the corks.

Wow as I said: kinda turns around my world. The last thing I would do for that purpose is to bend the keys.
But now you hooked me ;-)
Please explain in more detail which part of the key you bend, and which tools you use. I know it has been explained here before, but to my knowledge not in respect to key connections.

My problem is: once the pads are sealed in perfectly, I dont wish to alter the angle between tonehole level and keycup level. And I´d be afraid that bending would affect key heights as well. So how do you do that ?
 

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It's an acquired skill in knowing where and how to bend keys without putting anything out that you will develop.

I'd suggest you get a cheapo (but reasonable quality) sax to see what you can do - such as a school instrument that you can have a go at bending things around on. Then you'll begin to understand what and how to do things with the minimum fuss to get maximum results, and then you can apply it to better quality instruments.

But always take care when bending keys as you don't want to break a hard soldered joint or key arm, or mark anything. You'll soon get the feel for it.
 

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clarnibass said:
Other than all your advice about bending vs. sanding which I agree with, have you tried the rubber cork aka gumi cork aka techcork? What about the synthetic felt? I really like both of these materials.
I only use Rubco in certain places such as under adjusting screws or stoppers on the LH palm keys as it doesn't compress, and also for the large adjusting screw tips, glued into the end and then slightly domed rather than left flat.

But felt or synthetic felt is best under open standing keys as it dampens the noise and absorbs the energy better than a harder substance reducing key bounce.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Chris for posting !
Yes, your advice on getting a cheap sax is something I can always do, sure.

But I was hoping for some more detailed instructions on tools, which part of key etc.
As I mentioned before: For me the difficulty is not to change the angle in which the key closes on the tonehole. If bending the wrong part of the key you´d easily end up w a pad sitting on its back- or frontside and not closing anymore.
 

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There are a wide range of possibilities for bending keys., many of them very simple; some of them requiring home-made tools; some of them using highly specialised bought tools.

It is only by experience that you choose an appropriate method for any given situation. Every approach has its advantages and downsides. So I reinforce what others say, about there being no short cuts for the experience.

You could start with placing some packing - eg anything from a folded bank note to cardboard, to a cutlery knife, bought tapered wedges - under the part of the pad that closes first, and press down on the part that closes last.

Be aware that if the packing is a hard material such as metal, then if you press too hard, you could risk putting dents in the tone hole edge.

Be aware that the approach may crush a pad slightly locally, and time may see it revert to its previous thickness. Placing a rigid packer, such as a knife blade, under the resonator instead of the pad is a better approach in some situations.

You could also try tapping with a small rawhide hammer, instead of pressing down. You could use a soft punch between the hammer and the key, for better access to a localised place. I use polycarbonate. You could use hardwood.

Sometimes you can just tap lightly on part of the key cup without packing underneath the pad. Experience will tell you what you can risk without damaging the pad or the key cup.

In some situations you could try using smooth, parallel-jawed pliers to grasp the key cup arm and twist it.

A range of specialised key bending pliers and levers are available, mostly for pushing down the back of the key. Some of these may be rather useless until you modify them to be more versatile. (eg lower yellow handled plier in photo in link)

I have quite a few tools I rarely use, but for a certain situation they are ideal. Marius Kowalski sells a range of specialised key bending pliers (etc) but I actually finished up using my own creations/adaptations more.

For smaller key cups, I have adapted pliers, which pull up on one side of a key cup, while pushing down on the other side. (See upper yellow handled plier in link below)

See post 5 at
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=64602
Caution: As with almost all processes, the success or failure often depends on the detail of exactly how the operation is carried out. There is plenty of opportunity for disaster in bending parts of saxes.

There is no easy recipe for sax adjustment. Almost every operation can correct something, but messes up a few other things in the process, co careful choices must be made, knowing well the consequences. An excellent awareness of mechanical cause and effect is necessary, especially in the way the various materials behave, and the mechanical interactions. Resourcefulness and innovation are also important aptitudes. If you don't have these sorts of qualities, then I advise not even starting. You will only make more work for somebody else to pay for later.
 

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Beware of dry soldered joints when bending keys.

You'll only know of dry joints when it's too late!
 

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I often employ a laminated combination of tech-cork and natural cork for my deluxe overhauls when the cork needs to be thick. Most of the material will be tech-cork and then there will be just a thin layer of natural cork that is sandable for fine tuning. The thin layer of natural cork not not compress appreciably.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the elaborate answers. Particularily for Gordon, now I can imagine better what you´re at.
Generally I think I´ll stick with my method, as it never caused me any trouble , and will work on my bending skills independently. I think the golden way lies in the middle: Adjustments on corks and keys might solve most situations. Sanding a cork takes just a few seconds, no problem for me. Interesting that Chu-Jerry combines natural and tech cork, to keep his adjustment more stable.

Finally I wonder if anyone noticed my quote of Emilio´s method (lacquered leather wound around the connection bars, no damping material in the usual locations). Maybe someone has noticed this method on an Emilio horn and can say something about it ?
Thanks for your contributions !
 

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Finally I wonder if anyone noticed my quote of Emilio´s method (lacquered leather wound around the connection bars, no damping material in the usual locations). Maybe someone has noticed this method on an Emilio horn and can say something about it ?
I have seen it done.
It seems like a lot of extra work when you could just put a #1 cork on the top of the feet and be done.

Thanks, Paul
 

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I've often done a similar thing as above, but with a layer of ultrasuede instead of cork.

The problem with leather is that it can harden as it gets compressed, and therfore noisy.
 

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And ultrasuede remains quite 'springy', which I think is counter-productive for precision linkage.
 
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