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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope someone (Milandro? JayeLID?) may have come across this issue and has a solution:
I have TWO altos that I assume are early Dolnets with the wishbone octave mechanism (Silver Dorn & Kirschner, Newark s/n 1337-28 and Brass WOR s/n 1115-28. There's a Silver WOR in Texas. s/n 1897-27). The octave mechanism looks exactly like this from Sax Pics

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(source: http://www.saxpics.com/the_gallery/dolnet/seriesi/alto/silver/9677/DSC07514.JPG)

Here's my problem. On both of my saxes, the mechanism doesn't work properly when fingering a G. Without the G key being pressed, the neck octave opens and closes as it should. But, as soon as I finger the G key, the neck octave stays opens and the body octave under the wishbone opens as well. The roller that the arm moves along when it swings open rolls freely on both.

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So Is there something missing on mine?
Am I missing something?
I'm really puzzled that both saxes have the same problem? Could the answer really be as simple as a small piece of tubing on the swing arm and the neck octave actuator?
 

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I am not a tech.

I have seen this mechanism many times and it generally operates well.

My guess is that there has to be a spring (I think maybe another one aside the top) that is either broken or disconnected or placed wrongly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all. I thought the problem was in where the loop meets the actuator since the problem is the same on both and thought I got the problem solved. I didn't.
Sorry Milandro. I know you have a lot of knowledge about the more obscure European saxes so I figured you might have some info.
The gate swings out but seems to stick. I will definitely look at both flat springs: the one on the neck octave and the one under the wishbone. They're both there, intact and seem to have enough tension. But, they may be due for replacing if only to see if there's not enough tension.
 

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When the octave lever is pressed when playing A, the neck vent is opened a certain amount.
When the G key is then pressed, there has to be enough travel in the G key to allow the neck key to completely close again.
Perhaps there is not enough travel in the G key.

Alternatively, if the octave lever travels too far, that would open the neck key too much when playing A, such that that neck key travel is not completely over-ridden when the G key is pressed.
Solution: more cork under the octave lever touch piece, or bend the lever to reduce its travel.

Alternatively, when no key or lever is pressed, there should be a gap between the neck key and the lever that operates it. If there is not, then one solution would be judicious bending of the neck key.

The problem could also involve too much friction in one of the pivots, eg from rust or a bent pivot tube..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
... Alternatively, if the octave lever travels too far, that would open the neck key too much when playing A, such that that neck key travel is not completely over-ridden when the G key is pressed.
Solution: more cork under the octave lever touch piece, or bend the lever to reduce its travel.
Bingo! Thanks Gordon. That's the ticket right there. The silver sax's octave thumb is rather soft so bending, although easy, is not the solution. A little experimenting with a small piece of rubber tube confirmed that I just need to add some more cork in just the right spot under the thumb and the octave mechanism will work as it should. In addition, I added a small strip of thin teflon sheet along the end of the G swing gate to reduce friction even though the roller is already moving freely.

Now to solve the mystery of what's causing all of the right hand keys to only close partially. Something seems to be blocking the travel of the keys in the entire RH stack. Just gotta find out what.

Thanks again Gordon and all!
 

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Great!

Are the stack keys closing the Bb key (above the A key) or the G# key before the stack keys finish closing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great!

Are the stack keys closing the Bb key (above the A key) or the G# key before the stack keys finish closing?
It's definitely the F# key. If I force that closed by itself, then the F,E and D keys close normally and with good action.
I checked the arm to the Bb bis key under the F# and that's not impeding the F#'s travel. So it may be a spring or it may be something's impeding the travel of the bar at the back that touches the rest of the stack's keys. I may have to start removing keys so I can see better starting with the pinky cluster.

Thanks again.
 

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Are you saying that the F# on its own is difficult to close?
Sometimes a bent key guard can impede the F# travel.
Perhaps the problem, is rust in the F# pivot.
Have you checked whether it is actually closing at the back of the pad, closest to the hinge, before the front closes?
If so it is an issue of key cup alignment, or pad too thick, or poor pad installation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you saying that the F# on its own is difficult to close?
Sometimes a bent key guard can impede the F# travel.
Perhaps the problem, is rust in the F# pivot.
Have you checked whether it is actually closing at the back of the pad, closest to the hinge, before the front closes?
If so it is an issue of key cup alignment, or pad too thick, or poor pad installation.
Exactly. The F# is the culprit. There's no bent key or key guard getting in the way. The key and pad are perfectly parallel when closing.
With the pinky cluster in place, their rods make it difficult to see the rods and springs for the stack. So I'll be removing the pinky cluster so I can get a better look. Figure I'll start with the easy to get a better look-see at everything along the stack. If I don't see anything untoward, I'll loosen the stack rod and hit it with some key oil. It has to be something simple that I just can't see with the pinky cluster rods in the way.

Thanks again.
 

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It can also be one of the appendages to the hinge tube hitting a needle spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gordon, thanks for pointing out the things I should be looking for. I had to put the sax aside for a little while to deal with a family medical emergency and to start working on my income taxes. Tomorrow I expect to have the time to remove the pinky cluster and hopefully find what's hanging up the F#. I also have what I believe is the right thickness of cork to add under the thumbs to reduce the travel and make the octave mechanism work as it should.
I'll keep you posted on my success or lack thereof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update, in case anyone's interested in the progress: I added the extra cork to the thumb and that did the trick as far as the octave mechanism goes. Not the prettiest, but it works like a charm. The metal on the silver horn is much softer than the brass so the key bends very easily, which is a concern. I think I put enough cork under the entire thumb to move it just enough to activate the octaves and not allow the key to bend. I don't have this problem on the brass horn. Unfortunately, the brass horn has some leaks and a G# that doesn't open. I'll take care of that after I get the silver horn's table off and the F# dilemma solved. That has to wait to wait til I'm feeling better. Breathing issues are making me tired and impatient - definitely a recipe for disaster with this kind of work.
Thanks again Gordon.
 

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Based on the serial numbers and the unusual octave key mechanism, I think your horns may be early Elkhart Band Instrument Co. saxes. I have an Elkhart alto with the same octave mechanism and serial number 1330-28. I believe the last two digits are the year of manufacture, so 1928.
 
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