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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but I have two tenors, a '64 MK VI and a SA801. I have attached small pads of insulating tape under the G# regulation screw, (ie, attached to the G# pad cup). I believe that these screws are meant to have a cylindrical piece of cork under them.

My question is, does the cork somehow attach to the screw, or is it glued to the pad cup. Both horns are playing fine, I'd just like to tidy them up.

Many thanks, and Cheers,

Chris
 

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It's normally attached to the screw.
And natural cork is not really suitable. It compresses too easily, stuffing up the adjustment.
I used "techcork", i.e. high quality agglomerated cork - domed on its face, for good reason.
 

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The Selmer Paris sax will usually have a recess in the bottom of the screw for help in keeping the cork piece on. Many other saxes just have a flat face on the screw, but that's really 'nit-picking' on my part. I still use cork for these and it typically lasts for a long time but its difficult to cut the pieces out and make a nice job of it. If you can find cork rod stock like you could in the past it would be a lot easier.
Generally speaking you never attach the cork or felt to the key cup or sax body.
 

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In my opinion, if it's got a recess on the end of the screw, you want to put a little plug of "cork" there. I used inverted commas because you'll want to use the least-compressing material you can find that still cushions adequately. The "Tech Cork" stuff is good.

The problem with putting the resilient material on the end of the screw is that almost never is the surface it bears against perpendicular to the screw axis. So when the "cork" inevitably takes a permanent set (hopefully very very little) now the surface of the cork won't be perpendicular to the screw axis either. Now, when you turn the screw to adjust, you no longer have a consistent adjustment. And there'll be point or line contact so it'll take even more of a set for the first few hours of playing.

In my opinion the best mechanical design for this situation would be to provide a seat on the part being pushed by the screw, that is truly perpendicular to the screw. However, in some cases you can't even do that, because the two parts linked by the adjusting screw don't pivot on the same axis.

So, if you can't have a seat on the part being pushed, or the two keys are on non-coincident axes, then it would be better to have a flat ended screw and the resilient material NOT be on the end of the screw, but rather on the part being pushed. This way when the resilient material takes a set, the resulting impression will be parallel to the flat end of the screw, and when you turn the screw to adjust, you'll only be moving the adjustment surface the amount driven by the screw thread.

I had to go through all this in adding adjustment screws to my Conn baritone ( where the adjustment surfaces are VERY difficult to access normally) but it's based on general mechanical design.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the answers. The screws on both horns are obviously missing the cork piece. A couple of pieces of tape under the screw certainly fixes the problem, and the horns play really well, but I don't like having bits of tape stuck on the cup.

I might look for a few sources for cork/tech cork.

Cheers,

Chris
 

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In my opinion, if it's got a recess on the end of the screw, you want to put a little plug of "cork" there. I used inverted commas because you'll want to use the least-compressing material you can find that still cushions adequately. The "Tech Cork" stuff is good.

The problem with putting the resilient material on the end of the screw is that almost never is the surface it bears against perpendicular to the screw axis. So when the "cork" inevitably takes a permanent set (hopefully very very little) now the surface of the cork won't be perpendicular to the screw axis either. Now, when you turn the screw to adjust, you no longer have a consistent adjustment. And there'll be point or line contact so it'll take even more of a set for the first few hours of playing.
This is why it is a good idea to put a dome shape on the end of the material. I make my "plugs" using Music Medic 2.6mm tech cork using a Tandy leather punch. Once the "plug" is glued to the adjusting screw it is spun in a bench motor against an emery board to produce the desired shape on the end. I also like to add paraffin at this stage to help reduce friction. Other materials I have used successfully are neoprene cord and a cut rubber "O-ring". An electric drill in a vice (shown in photo) is a good substitute for a bench motor if you don't have one. The photos below illustrate the procedure.


View attachment 242518 View attachment 242512 View attachment 242514 View attachment 242516 View attachment 242520 View attachment 242522 View attachment 242526 View attachment 242524
 

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The Selmer Paris sax will usually have a recess in the bottom of the screw for help in keeping the cork piece on. Many other saxes just have a flat face on the screw, but that's really 'nit-picking' on my part. I still use cork for these and it typically lasts for a long time but its difficult to cut the pieces out and make a nice job of it. If you can find cork rod stock like you could in the past it would be a lot easier.
Generally speaking you never attach the cork or felt to the key cup or sax body.
I've noticed this trend and always wondered why. Is it just cosmetic?

On my Yamaha EX alto and tenor, the (felt) key height settings for the side Bb and side C are attached to the body by the factory.
On my Buescher bari, I had to dramatically reduce the alternate F# key height, to such an extent that using a single piece of synthetic cork on the underside of the key would have been impossible. I instead chose to leave the existing key height cork and add a platform of synthetic cork to the body, which works wonderfully and goes unnoticed by everyone who plays the horn.

Also, thanks Saxoclese!
 

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I've noticed this trend and always wondered why. Is it just cosmetic?

On my Yamaha EX alto and tenor, the (felt) key height settings for the side Bb and side C are attached to the body by the factory.
On my Buescher bari, I had to dramatically reduce the alternate F# key height, to such an extent that using a single piece of synthetic cork on the underside of the key would have been impossible. I instead chose to leave the existing key height cork and add a platform of synthetic cork to the body, which works wonderfully and goes unnoticed by everyone who plays the horn.

Also, thanks Saxoclese!
I also do the same when the proper key opening requires a very thick piece of material. Putting a piece of cork or tech cork that long on the foot of a key is just asking for it to fall off. I find it works well to put a reasonably thick piece of material on the bottom of the foot and then put a felt disk directly beneath it on the body to make up the difference for the correct opening. This has the added benefit of helping to quiet the key and remove bounce if it is a spring opened key.
 

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... I still use cork for these and it typically lasts for a long time but its difficult to cut the pieces out and make a nice job of it. ...
This is why I now have a collection of 19 different hole punches 6mm diameter or less.

Saxoclese: Nice photos

Turf3: excellent example of just how the devil is in the detail with woodwind servicing. Doming the cork does largely deal with the issue, but the basic problem is poor design. It is rare for a manufacturer to get it right or even close to it.
 

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Turfix: excellent example of just how the devil is in the detail with woodwind servicing. Doming the cork does largely deal with the issue, but the basic problem is poor design. It is rare for a manufacturer to get it right or even close to it.
Especially with older instruments. I am not a big fan of the Selmer saxophone but you've got to admit that they did a lot right in the design of the mechanism. If you go back before the Balanced Action, back to things like Conn and Holton, you can see some very "interesting" design choices, some of which I've ended up modifying for serviceability.
 

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My guy uses some kind of plastic or nylon. It doesn’t compress and is sized to fit right in the recess.
It’s funny my BA doesn’t have adjustment screws and never has any problem there.
 

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I use a leather plug in the hole of the adjusting screw. I get the leather from the sole of a discarded shoe, so it has already been compacted. The leather is very strong and there is a very low coefficient of friction. The adjusting screw has to slide against the G# key or Bb lever, so the less friction the better. The only drawback to leather is that it is slightly noisier than cork or some synthetic materials, but the difference is almost negligible. I have installed leather silencers that are still going strong after over 30 years.
 

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I use a leather plug in the hole of the adjusting screw. I get the leather from the sole of a discarded shoe, so it has already been compacted. The leather is very strong and there is a very low coefficient of friction. The adjusting screw has to slide against the G# key or Bb lever, so the less friction the better. The only drawback to leather is that it is slightly noisier than cork or some synthetic materials, but the difference is almost negligible. I have installed leather silencers that are still going strong after over 30 years.
I am having difficulty trying to picture the sole of a shoe made of leather. My bench top is covered with "shoe soleing material" which is a very firm rubber like material. Is this what you are referring to, or actual leather such as that found on the sides and tops of shoes?
 

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I am having difficulty trying to picture the sole of a shoe made of leather. My bench top is covered with "shoe soleing material" which is a very firm rubber like material. Is this what you are referring to, or actual leather such as that found on the sides and tops of shoes?
Have you never worn a pair of men's dress shoes? They have leather soles. In fact, I think that in the trade that particular grade of leather is called "soling leather".

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Have you never worn a pair of men's dress shoes? They have leather soles. In fact, I think that in the trade that particular grade of leather is called "soling leather".
Thanks. I was never able to afford good shoes on a band teacher's salary. :)
 

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Thanks. I was never able to afford good shoes on a band teacher's salary. :)
Cheap dress shoes cost you more than they save. A good pair of leather soled dress shoes will last you 10-30 years if you keep them polished and replace the soles and heels as needed.
 

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Cheap dress shoes cost you more than they save. A good pair of leather soled dress shoes will last you 10-30 years if you keep them polished and replace the soles and heels as needed.
And don't punch holes in the bottom to make inserts for saxophone adjusting screws. :) :)
 
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