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I recently learned how to do a repad from a repair technician, but I am not sure that it is the most efficient way to do it. I already know how to mount the pads and everything, and I can already fix mechanical problems, but sealing the pads is what I have trouble with. After I get the whole sax together, I was told to use a heat gun on each key cup, (for about fourty seconds on the top of each key cup), and press down with a rag on the key button or cup, depending on which is available. I have heard that people have used key clamps, and other methods. Does any one, (which I'm sure a lot of people on this website do), know how to finish sealing, and shaping the pads, after every pad is mounted? Thankyou!
 

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i had the same problem, but floating pads in worked fine,
occasionally i found that if i put the horn away for a week after the repad then the pads floated in much easier and stayed sealing well.
 

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Personally I find a small mild flame (like I get from my #0 or #00 acetylene tip, Ferree's tools acetylene torch kit) to work best, because I can heat sections of the key cup and work with it for a few seconds before it cools again, and the whole pad won't move, just the part I want to move. The heat gun has a much wider area it heats, and it is much harder to fix small leaks when the whole pad is floating.

I am also against key clamps- I think the shallowest seat you can get is best and will make for a longer lasting pad job. Deep seats do nothing except cover up sloppy work and shorten the life of the pad by overcompressing the felt- IMHO.

Also IMHO, pressing down on the key cup anywhere but where the force will come from during regular playing (the pearl, spatula, bar on the C# and F#, etc) will give you false results.
 

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abadcliche said:
Personally I find a small mild flame (like I get from my #0 or #00 acetylene tip, Ferree's tools acetylene torch kit) to work best.
Matt,

I don't believe Ferree's sells the Smith's set up or the tips. Might you be referring to Kraus or JL Smith? :?
 

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I use the Smith Little Torch for heating the cups for floating and fine positioning for the pad to the tone hole surface. It is available from J. L. Smith or jeweler's supply houses like Rio Grande. It is light and can produce a tiny flame that, with practice, you can work around pearls, felts, and corks without burning. It can also perform any soldering task you will encounter with a sax.

I don't know what you mean by sealing the pads. You mention a heat gun and clamps. Some folks, and factories, dream that clamping (or wedging) the keys closed and heating until the glue (or shellac) melts and letting it cool down will put a "seat" in the pad, float it into position, set the felt, and make the pads seal. If only this worked. This is fantasy student "Elkhart" style padding technique, like using a pad oven and clamps on flutes. If a playable result is obtained this way, it is very short lived.

You mention mounting the pads. I mount pads one at a time with the keys on the horn after dry fitting to be sure that mechanical conditions and pad thicknesses are optimized. I use a glue gun or shellac gun (thanks Curt), depending on if the player anticipates using the instrument where winter exists, and apply the adhesive to the back of the pad. Shellac is very poor at holding pads in freezing temperatures, but so are many hot melt glues. The ones I use I test under freezing conditions. I hold the horn in a fixture so that the tone hole surface is level with gravity and lets my glue backed pad sit flat on the tone hole while allowing the key cup to close and fit over the pad. I then heat the pad cup while closing the key from its operating point (pearl, arm, touch piece) until the glue melts and the pad is in the cup, and wait for it to cool down. I then inspect with a light and dental mirror to see if the pad is touching all the away around the tone hole at the same time. If it is touching all around it is sealing. If in doubt about the seal, I'll check with a magnehelic leak meter. If it is not touching I make creative use of heat and popsicle sticks, wooden ice cream spoons, triangles of felt or plastic (never metal), and a dental pick to manipulate the adhesive bed to allow the pad to cover all around. Always check by closing the key from its operating point. When I am satisfied with the installation, I move on to the next pad. I set linkages at this time, and always have the springs engaged, because the torsions involved effect the way the pad contacts the tone hole. When the last pad is installed, the padding is finished. I pay no attention whatsoever to the pad "seat" impression in the pad. I don't use cheap pads.

In the Coats article from the link above, mention is made of "doping" the pad surfaces. Almost all of the pads available for the past 20 years, except the untreated ones that carry claims of not sticking, have been treated to make them waterproof. This makes the leather treatments mentioned, which were developed when pad skin was not treated, obsolete. In fact many will cause these newer sticky pads to become even stickier.

David
 
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