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The cork on the neck of my alto sax just tore. I've had corks replaced at repair shops in the past, but I'm hesitant because I usually get lousy corks when I do that.

Is there some place online where I can buy a really nice quality cork that I can put on myself?

Thanks!
 

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Yes, several places. Music Medic is an easy place to deal with in US. Windcraft in the UK has good cork.

Do you know how to fit it?
 

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Anyone buying cork is at the mercy of the supplier when it comes to quality. As cork is a natural substance, it's variable in quality from very good with small pores or poor quality with large holes or areas of decay and that can be in the same batch. The quality of sheet cork nowadays isn't as good as it once was but the price has gone up considerably.

When fitting, cut a strip 35mm wide and long enough to go around the crook with some to spare, then bevel one of the narrow ends by around 5mm to create the overlapping joint. You can also put a small bevel along the entire length of one of the long edges which will go at the end of the crook where the mouthpiece goes on from as this will save having to bevel it once it's glued on.

Thoroughly remove all traces of the previous crook cork and adhesive and then degrease the crook where the cork is to be glued on. Then evenly coat the top side of the bevel on the narrow end and the entire underside of the cork strip with contact/impact adhesive (depending what it's called in your part of the world) such as Evo-Stik, Thixofix or similar and also evenly coat the end of the crook as well and set it aside for a few minutes for the solvent to evaporate. You can use an old reed with the tip cut square as a glue spreader.

When the glue is touch dry (slightly tacky but not wet), line up the edge of the bevelled end with the underside of the crook and push it firmly in place. Then continue to wrap the rest of the cork strip around making sure there's no gap between the front edge of the strip (with the slight bevel along its length) and the ring at the end of the crook (or so it's flush the end of the crook if there's no ring fitted).

As you wrap it around, press it firmly down as you go to be sure there aren't any air bubbles trapped under the cork and then overlap the free end of the strip with the bevel. Trim off the remainder of the cork strip that's overhanging and wrap masking tape around the crook in between the cork and the 8ve pip to protect the lacquer from being scratched.

File or trim the overlap so the cork is now circular and then sand it down evenly to fit the mouthpiece. When newly fitted, the crook cork will be tapered so sand it so it's cylindrical over the entire length and check the mouthpiece can be pushed on a quarter to 2/3rds the way on while the cork is still dry. Then grease the cork well and refit the mouthpiece to how far on it normally goes on for you. Once it's all fitting well, remove the masking tape and any excess contact/impact adhesive which can be rolled or peeled off - any stubborn bits can be removed with an old reed.
 

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I bought my cork from music medic and followed the the directions that came with the cork. Pretty easy to do. The only mistake that I made and is easy to avoid is to be careful when sanding the cork to not scratch the finish on the adjacent neck with the emery cloth. Use the masking tape idea posted above by Chris...next time I will!!
 

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Costs me $15 to have a neck cork put on while I wait. Just have someone do it right ... are you in an unusual location?
 

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Anyone buying cork is at the mercy of the supplier when it comes to quality. As cork is a natural substance, it's variable in quality from very good with small pores or poor quality with large holes or areas of decay and that can be in the same batch. The quality of sheet cork nowadays isn't as good as it once was but the price has gone up considerably.
I've started using "flawless" material - JL Smith's Valentino synthetic cork. I like it on my own saxes mainly because it compresses and expands better than natural cork, IMO. The only down side that can find is that it is harder to sand down. I've used sold tan and black but have not tried their "cork style" which they recommend for sax necks. The solid stuff works fine for me. I've put it on a few client's necks and got only positive comments. I'd love to hear from others that have tried it.

http://www.jlsmithco.com/SYNTHETIC-CORK
 

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I've personally never got on with several types of synthetic cork like these in any application as I've found they tend to compress too much and can become sticky.
 

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REMOVING THE OLD CORK WITH PLIERS? SANDING OFF THE OLD GLUE?

DON'T DO EITHER OF THOSE!

And don't sand it like that either! Hold the crook between your chest and a bench peg so you've got both hands free to have more control of what you're sanding instead of sanding it freehand.
 

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I agree!

And if glue comes off that easily with pliers, then the glue had failed badly . It's more difficult to get real glue off, and sanding does not help much. I use cutting, and solvent with rubing.

And note that he failed badly in making the finished cork cylindrical rather than conical.

And squirm while you hear the noise of him flailing that sand paper around over the end of the neck metal! Ugh!

I do all the sanding on 1/3 of the cork at the sax body end of the cork before any glue gets near it. Then I don't need to sand anywhere near the neck metal later.

I don't use sand paper at all. My sand paper is glued to an old, thin file, from which I removed the teeth. So it becomes a specialised file that is extra good for sanding.
 

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Get the MusicMedic cork assortment with the 6 different thicknesses and you will have plenty for other repairs or just guess at the thickness you need. The trick is to get the contact cement (not super glue or anything else) and put it on both surfaces. I use the Elmer's in the tube.
 

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i use disposable emory (sic) boards for sanding neck corks.

also when working with cork, you need an extremly sharp razor, i use single edge razor blades and only a few cuts per balde, as they dull quickly start tearing the cork.

it is very easy to do but, its is also easy to make a mess of things so be careful....
 

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If the cork has been stuck on with shellac, then it's best to heat it in a flame enough to soften the shellac (but not enough to melt the soft solder keeping the ring on the end in place) so the cork can be peeled off and the shellac on the crook can be wiped off with a dry cloth - any remaining can be removed with alcohol such as methylated spirits or isopropyl while the shellac is still warm (but not too hot as the alcohol steam will scald you). Chipping hardened shellac off can lead to bits getting into your eyes which isn't nice (but chipping the shellac off is the only way when dealing with oboe or clarinet tenon corks that have been stuck on with shellac).

I only use abrasives on crooks where there's corrosion on the metal beneath the cork, but no further up the crook than the standard width of the cork strip which seems to be 35mm on both altos and tenors. If the crook has been scratched up by previous recorkings (where the cork strip got wider and wider each time it got replaced), then I'd clean up the scratches and polish it so sticking a 35mm wide cork strip doesn't look so bad. If it's silver plated, then I'd burnish or polish it up as best as I can without removing any more plating.
 

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For good quality cork, I recently bought cork from about five different suppliers (possibly all getting their cork from the same source, I don't know). One thing is for sure... it is very variable.

I bought some from Music Medic and it varied from barely average to as good as I got from anywhere. I've got worse from some other places. The most consistent I got was probably from Kraus, but it is just that the worse ones weren't as bad as from other places. The better sheets weren't better than from other places either. Some places (like Music Center) had anything from great to terrible.

REMOVING THE OLD CORK WITH PLIERS? SANDING OFF THE OLD GLUE?

DON'T DO EITHER OF THOSE!

And don't sand it like that either! Hold the crook between your chest and a bench peg so you've got both hands free to have more control of what you're sanding instead of sanding it freehand.
I was more concered about how he used the razor to the cut extra cork off right in the direction of this fingers..... for anyone trying this for the first time, please don't do that!

Actually I disagree about the pliers. I also sometimes use pliers to remove cork. I don't use it in any way that can damage the neck. It's more like the pliers are scraping it off, but just happen to have the perfect shape for this. There is never a lot of closing force with the pliers on the neck!

For the leftovers and glue I don't use sand paper either. I often use my micromotor with a brush, not a cutter. Plus solvents and sometimes a knife.

A bench peg is one of the first tools I made. I removed it because I didin't like it at all. I don't like holding a sax neck or clarinet joint on a bench peg and/or using sand paper. I prefer holding the neck/joint and using a rigid tool for sanding, like a nail file, or something rigid with sand paper glued to it. I feel I have more control this way.
 

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You guys are fantastic!
I use a torch sometimes to losen the glue.
Sometimes I dont know if its sarcasm coming from yourself paul :twisted:,
or
You've been inspired, by having learnt something new:bluewink:

But I do enjoy your vids.. Whilst I dont use pliers to take the cork off, with practice Im sure its just fine. However I for one do sand the brass surface exactly the same, the only difference is I just have a piece of safety tape fitted so I dont mark the good areas, just in case I have a clumsy moment

Each to there own
 

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A bench peg is one of the first tools I made. I removed it because I didin't like it at all. I don't like holding a sax neck or clarinet joint on a bench peg and/or using sand paper. I prefer holding the neck/joint and using a rigid tool for sanding, like a nail file, or something rigid with sand paper glued to it. I feel I have more control this way.
How do you polish flute, clarinet or oboe bodies and pillars without using a bench peg?
 
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