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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There are several significantly lower priced swedging tools available today. Typically, they are the 3-4 hole variety. To those who have used them, what are your impressions as to their quality, durability, effectiveness, or extra filing/polishing to make them work acceptably, or more or less so?

Here are some examples:

1. Prestige Swedging Pliers Parallel action 3 Hole (~$24)
https://www.ebay.com/i/232946465463?chn=ps&var=532466811884

2. Tools n Tools Parallel Action 4 Hole Swedging Pliers (~$32)
https://www.ebay.com/i/263415240550?chn=ps

3. Zhenghao 436B Parallel Swedging Plier. Hole Diameter 4.0mm 4.5mm 5.0mm (~$38)
http://www.zhmelody.com/Choose.aspx?cp=Parallel Swedging Pliers


My experience: I bought the Zhenghao pliers. They looked OK overall. However, they needed some filing of the edges and polishing to minimize marring the hinge tube (worthwhile if it saves ~$100). Unfortunately, the metal of the handles is too soft and the handles bent to an unusable state before I could finish one (bundy) alto sax. (Perhaps heat-treating the handles might have completely avoided the issue.) I emailed the company several times, but received no response.
 

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My experience with tools is that "you get what you pay for". If you want "professional" results, use "professional" tools. I use a set of 6 of the Music Medic blue handle swedging pliers when pliers are needed, but the majority of my swedging is done with the Ferree's collet swedging tool mounted to my bench. I find it does less damage to the key finish and gives me the control to get the results I like. If anyone is going to work on saxes on an ongoing basis, my advice is to invest in good quality tools. It actually saves you money in the long run because you don't have to keep replacing them when they break.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, saxoclese. Ferree's collet swedger is on my buy list (though, I'll also need pliers). I agree that "you get what you pay for". . . generally. But it's not always the case; in this new world of buying goods online unseen, untouched, the product claims and prices are all over the place as sellers are far from their customers and are not beholden to them. In France you can ignorantly buy wine at the grocery store according to price and not go wrong; in the U.S. there is very limited correlation between price and quality of wine. Why? In France, consumers know their wine.

I'd like this thread to become a useful resource for the type and quality of swedging products out there. Feel free to recommend your favorite higher or lower priced products, or even your custom-made solutions.
 

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If anyone is going to work on saxes on an ongoing basis, my advice is to invest in good quality tools. It actually saves you money in the long run because you don't have to keep replacing them when they break.
+1
Plus, you don't have to worry you might damage the instrument, and I would be especially wary of that with swedging pliers.

I can recommend the Music Medic three-hole Knipex conversion.
I converted a Knipex pliers wrench (86 03 180) into three-hole swedging pliers myself, so I believe they are just like the MM. They work quite well, and they do not mar the finish. I also find the handles more comfortable than traditional swedging pliers, but you need to pay attention because they can deliver far more force than necessary.
I started by squeezing the crap out of them with a piece of oak shim in the jaws (maybe 1mm thick or so by the time it was compressed), and then I cable-tied the handles together. I used my drill press to drill the three holes, and once that was done I used my small extra fine file and rasp to round off all the edges, and then some steel wool to smooth everything up. I paid $45 for the pliers and another $11 for a small set of cobalt metric drill bits I wanted to get anyway, plus probably $2 worth of oil - it took several ounces of cutting oil. That said, I already had a decent drill press.

Interesting that all three cheap pairs the OP put up appear to be from the same manufacturer as most of MM's parallel pliers. That explains a lot.
I bought a pair of the spring removing pliers and a pair of the half rounds. The spring removers were so badly misaligned that the needle spring physically hit the arm on the other side, and the half rounds have about a 5 degree tilt on the flat side relative to the plane of contact (which is quite significant). I fixed the spring removers with a bench vise and some serious elbow grease and they work fine now, but I got a refund for the half rounds because that I can't fix.
 

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Saxoclese, what Ferrees tool number are you talking about? I'm not recognizing anything that looks like it could be mounted to a bench. Thanks.

I personally have a Music Medic swedging pliers for sax keys, but have used some plain brass jawed pliers to do some swedging when needed. I don't however find myself working on high end stuff, as a DIY'er I work mainly with cast-off student level horns where cosmetics really aren't a concern.
 

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Saxoclese, what Ferrees tool number are you talking about? I'm not recognizing anything that looks like it could be mounted to a bench. Thanks.

I personally have a Music Medic swedging pliers for sax keys, but have used some plain brass jawed pliers to do some swedging when needed. I don't however find myself working on high end stuff, as a DIY'er I work mainly with cast-off student level horns where cosmetics really aren't a concern.
The mounting set-up is something I learned from my mentor. The photos below show the components and the finished set-up. With the "T" nut under the bench it can be quickly screwed into place when needed, and just as quickly removed when you are finished swedging.

View attachment 225990 View attachment 225988
 

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Thanks! A few pictures says a thousand words. Looks like a really handy system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Most of the parallel pliers seem to have the same standard sort of handle, with the different working endpieces bolted on. I could possibly save my Zhenghao swedging pliers if I could replace the handle. I've searched the Web repeatedly but found no source for the handles only. Anyone know who sells these? Thanks.
 
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