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Discussion Starter #1
I will be replacing pads on my 1914 Buescher. This will be my first. I'd greatly appreciate some suggestions on Gun types and stick glue that you guys are using. I have the Music Medic Kit which has shellac rocks which I don't like.

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Discussion Starter #3
Its in rock form. Breaking the rock shatters it in tiny peaces, even little slivers. Perhaps this is good. I wouldn't mine using shellac sticks and a gun. I would think it would be less messy and you'd have more control. But then what do I know, I never did a pad job.
 

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Shellac tends to come in either sticks or flakes. I prefer to use flakes but I don't mind using it in stick form.
The way you each each type is slightly different - flake shellac is placed in the key cup and then heated, whereas with stick shellac you heat the cup then apply the stick to the cup to melt the shellac. It's perhaps an easier method for first-time padders as it's all too easy to drop too many flakes into the cup.
Hot melt glues work on the same principle - you can either use pellets or sticks.

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I think the shellac in the Music Medic kit is a stick, right? You don't have to break it. You can either heat the key cup and melt the stick into it or melt the shellac stick directly to the key cup and/or the back of the pad. Both are methods used by many repairers. If you do the latter, remember to also heat the key cup afterwards, since sticking is poor to a cold key cup. I also didn't like shellac sticks at first until I gave it a bit more time, now for years it's what I prefer for gluing sax pads, using the methods described. If you prefer a gun Music Medic has a shellac gun and shellac to work with it, which you can see on their website.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, since this is my first pad job, I'm not sure I want to spend $50 on the gun. Shellac sticks are inexpensive and guns are cheap at the hardware store.
 

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Well, since this is my first pad job, I'm not sure I want to spend $50 on the gun. Shellac sticks are inexpensive and guns are cheap at the hardware store.
Before you spend any money, make sure that the glue gun at the hardware store is appropriate for shellac. The last thing you want is a whole bunch of hot shellac all over yourself. It burns and keeps burning because you can't wipe it off without it taking skin with it.

I'd suggest you get the re-pad done by Matt along with the P Mauriat repair. With no tools and no experience, you're just asking to ruin the horn. I'm all in favour of D.I.Y but I'd recommend starting on an old junker (some would argue a 1914 True Tone qualifies :mrgreen::bluewink:) rather than a horn you actually want to play.

Re-padding your own horn seems like a relaxing way to spend a weekend and a great money saver. Then reality checks in and you realize that it's taking forever and it's still not quite right and you've had to spend a small fortune on tools. By the time you bite the bullet and take the botched repair to a tech, you've spent a fortune in time and money.

If you really have an interest in repair, you might ask Matt or whomever if they'd allow you to sit in and observe. That way, you not only learn what to do and what not to do, but you get aadvice as to what tools and supplies are necessary and where to source them. It might just save you a lot of time and money.
 

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This is very interesting, firstly the shellac dispensing gun that music medic sells cannot be bought at your local hardware store, it comes with an electrical unit to heat the shellac to a temperature that it can be easily dispensed out of there pre made cartridge units. So its an all in one purchase. Its use for me is repadding saxophones with fragile lacquers, thats it, everything else is stick shellac and a butane heater
 

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This is very interesting, firstly the shellac dispensing gun that music medic sells cannot be bought at your local hardware store, it comes with an electrical unit to heat the shellac to a temperature that it can be easily dispensed out of there pre made cartridge units. So its an all in one purchase. Its use for me is repadding saxophones with fragile lacquers, thats it, everything else is stick shellac and a butane heater
That's what I was thinking Steve. I can see 3rd degree burns from a glue gun melting the whole stick of shellac. That's assuming of course that you can get a stick of shellac and whittle it down to fit the glue gun in the first place.

Saxmi,

I'd stick with the stick (He shoots....He scores!!!!!... another brilliant pun :)) Or, use the glue pellets and learn to judge how many pellets for each size pad cup etc. Which method you use isn't so important as learning the various quirks of each method and becoming comfortable with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all for your advice. Since this is an older and abused horn, I really like to try. I've rebuilt engines, remodeled homes, plumbing, electrical work and much more without any formal training. I'm really not intimidated by new projects not having done them before. It's logic and common sense to me. I'm pretty confident that I can remove the pads, clean the key cups and shellac the new pads in. Assembling the horn is not an issue either but floating the pads is where I now I will have difficulty in. Lot more I didn't mention here, but, hey, I picked the horn up at a garage sale for $50. And I'm not doing this so I can sell it. I just have an appetite to learn new things.

So, can I get the shellac sticks and use a pencil torch?

I have Music Medics Sax Kit which will be helpful and I've studied Stephen Howards book quit a bit. But I'm also aware that nothing replaces experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is very interesting, firstly the shellac dispensing gun that music medic sells cannot be bought at your local hardware store, it comes with an electrical unit to heat the shellac to a temperature that it can be easily dispensed out of there pre made cartridge units. So its an all in one purchase. Its use for me is repadding saxophones with fragile lacquers, thats it, everything else is stick shellac and a butane heater
That's what I was thinking Steve. I can see 3rd degree burns from a glue gun melting the whole stick of shellac. That's assuming of course that you can get a stick of shellac and whittle it down to fit the glue gun in the first place.

Saxmi,

I'd stick with the stick (He shoots....He scores!!!!!... another brilliant pun :)) Or, use the glue pellets and learn to judge how many pellets for each size pad cup etc. Which method you use isn't so important as learning the various quirks of each method and becoming comfortable with it.

This is exactly why I made a donation to SOTW today. Thanks again.
 

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Butane torch is quicker, but alcohol (methylated spirits) burner is probably less likely to burn lacquer. Scientifically, a flame is a flame is a flame. But in practice, the alcohol lamp seems slower and gentler.

Get some old clarinet keys, Low E/B or Low F#/C# and remove the pads. Line the cups with old pad leather ( don't glue it in or it'll melt all over everything. Just cut a circle, wet the leather, shape it inside the cup and then bake it on low for a short while) and you'll have some cheap and effective shields for your key pearls. The key cup shields the pearl from the flame and the leather lining works very well to stop the heat transferring to the pearl.
 

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The alcohol lamp may be useful for melting the shellac to apply to the back of the pad, but would be very awkward to use to heat keycups to "float" the pads on a saxophone. The most obvious problem is that the flame only goes up. It cannot be directed to a specific location in the way a small butane torch can. In addition, it is dangerous to be tipping a burning alcohol lamp, as the alcohol can leak out of the top and set the bench on fire.

My choice is the Blazer ES-1000 You can control the length and intensity of the flame and it has a lock on position when needed. It is self igniting and quite inexpensive to fill.

In addition, I would strongly suggest you study and follow the procedures outline in these excellent articles by Curt Alterac.

The Four Variables of Sax Pad Installation

Dry Fitting Saxophone Pads

The Push and Pull of Installing Pads

I use all of these procedures except for the adding shellac to the key cup in addition to complete surface of the back of the pad. I think this is over kill, since when you heat the keycup (off the instrument) and give the pad 1/4 turn, the shellac is distributed evenly to the interior of the key cup by this process anyway.

One more thing. You can do yourself a big favor and add to your chance of success if you take the sax body to a good repair shop and have them level the toneholes for you. It will make all the difference in the world when you start to seat the pads.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks jbt, I did read the articles by Curt. I wish I could copy them into Word so I can read them anytime I want. Leveling the tone holes? I've got a 2 foot level, will that work :)
I'll do that after its apart and a few springs need to be changed. I find it interesting that some springs are exactly the same as in Curts Sax Kit. How funny is that. Like I said, I paid 50 bucks for it and its not even a TT, its an Elkheart. But is has such a sweet sound even with a few leaky pads. I'd like to get it in decent playing shape within budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can't find a way to print them, thats the problem. Right click on the mouse does nothing.
 

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I can't find a way to print them, thats the problem. Right click on the mouse does nothing.
Try clicking file, then print. It works on my machine from firefox
 

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Not to get into the what flame is best arguement, but I've used and own both and prefer alcohol lamps. I'm sure you are very competent with a butane torch. Everyone has their prefered source(s) of heat. One benefit is that it (alcohol lamp flame)does go straight up. I can set my alcohol lamp on the work bench (which has never in 30 years tipped over and caused a fire) I can hold individual keys over the flame I can also pickup the lamp and hold an assembled sax and lamp at the appropriate angle to heat where ever I choose. The benefit to alcohol lamps in this respect is that the flame can be adjusted to be quite small and "cool" so that it does not burn lacquer or adjacent felts/corks/pearls...It can be controlled easily. I use it on everything from piccolo to Bari sax. An added benefit is that fuel is very cheap and an the alcohol burner is also inexpensive to buy or even make.

The alcohol lamp may be useful for melting the shellac to apply to the back of the pad, but would be very awkward to use to heat keycups to "float" the pads on a saxophone. The most obvious problem is that the flame only goes up. It cannot be directed to a specific location in the way a small butane torch can. In addition, it is dangerous to be tipping a burning alcohol lamp, as the alcohol can leak out of the top and set the bench on fire.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I recently started using Google Chrome, you have to go into settings to actually print. Anyway, its all printed for easy reading.
 

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Not to get into the what flame is best arguement, but I've used and own both and prefer alcohol lamps. I'm sure you are very competent with a butane torch. Everyone has their prefered source(s) of heat. One benefit is that it (alcohol lamp flame)does go straight up. I can set my alcohol lamp on the work bench (which has never in 30 years tipped over and caused a fire) I can hold individual keys over the flame I can also pickup the lamp and hold an assembled sax and lamp at the appropriate angle to heat where ever I choose. The benefit to alcohol lamps in this respect is that the flame can be adjusted to be quite small and "cool" so that it does not burn lacquer or adjacent felts/corks/pearls...It can be controlled easily. I use it on everything from piccolo to Bari sax. An added benefit is that fuel is very cheap and an the alcohol burner is also inexpensive to buy or even make.
That is interesting. When holding both the sax and the alcohol lamp to heat the key cups on the saxophone, how does one protect the pearls? I see the advantage to keeping the sax on the bench and bringing the directional flame to the key with one hand freeing the other hand to hold a key pearl protector where needed. There is also the advantage to be able to quickly "tap" the key while the shellac is still hot to take advantage of the "self leveling" action, or to quickly close the key to check the seal and use the pad slick to adjust.

The idea of holding the saxophone body up with one hand and holding an alcohol lamp with the other seems cumbersome to me, especially on a tenor or bari sax. :shock: I suspect the most challenging area to use this technique would be the lower stack keys. That said, I am willing to give it a try and see for myself. I have chided others for having "contempt prior to investigation" so I don't want to appear guilty of that myself.
 
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