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Discussion Starter #1
The G# key on my Super 20 won't come very far off the tone hole. I can lift it up and down its full travel with my finger, but it doesn't come up much when I press the spatula G# button (or whatever you call that thingie you push to make a G#). The spring is in place, but the rod seems to be gunked up inside its shaft. The key doesn't move freely.

This horn sat in a closet for a year. Before that it was regularly played and well maintained. Except for the G# it plays very nicely.

Dumb question alert!

Is it necessary to remove the rod to clean it? If so, I'm off to the tech tomorrow. If not, is there some household lubricant I can oil it with? 3-in-1 oil? Sewing machine oil? WD-40? Trumpet valve oil? I don't want to put anything on there that will hurt the horn.
 

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I know a couple of guys who use wd-40 on every joint on the horn, regularly, and swear by it. I don't myself, and don't know whether it's a good idea, but I don't see any damage to these instruments, and they've been doing it for a good long time. They say it makes the action very quick and smooth. This part of it is pure hearsay.
 

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Yes, take the key off and clean the rod and grease it properly, or find a tech to do it. Anything else and you will have a problem soon again, even if you manage a temporary fix. If it is a S20 between about 380xxx and 500xxx, it has a LH spatula that is tricky to regulate, so for sure have a tech do it if you are not familiar.
 

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At best, WD40 is only a band-aid.

The problem could be
- A bent pivot rod &/or tube
- Pivot tube binding between posts.
- Rust in the pivot
- Sticky 'varnish' residue of inappropriate oil.
- Failing spring.

It's always best to identify the problem and deal with it, rather than band-aiding.

Leaving it can make worse problems in the future. For example, if the pivot rod is rusted to the hinge tube, then the hinging occurs at the posts, and wears the holes through the posts, especially when there is rust dust present that acts as an abrasive. Similar wear can happen if the hinge parts are bent, or contain gummy oil residue.
 

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WD-40 is a solvent. Every can of WD-40 which has been opened and used has rust on the top of the can.

WD-40 got it's name back in WW1 as the military was looking for a metal protectant to keep salt water from doing damage to munitions during transport by ships across the oceans.

WD= Water Displacement, and the #40 was the 40th prototype deleloped. Hence, WD-40. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Problem solved. Thanks for all the advice. I put a drop of WD-40 on the rod where it enters the tube. That didn't do anything. Then I loosened the screw. The key started moving freely as it is supposed to. Loosening the screw must have allowed the WD-40 to flow down to where the problem was. I retightened the screw and all is OK.

I found a couple of other minor mechanical problems and fixed them, too. Just some springs that were not in place.
 

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I would suggest since the rod is now free, remove it and clean the rod and it's key hinge tube (pipe cleaner) and apply some quality oil. WD is going to evaporate and cause future repeat problems.
 

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JerryJamz2 said:
I would suggest since the rod is now free, remove it and clean the rod and it's key hinge tube (pipe cleaner) and apply some quality oil. WD is going to evaporate and cause future repeat problems.
I wondered about that. Those other players of my acquaintance said they oiled all the joints on the horn like every 2 weeks with the stuff. I would never do it: it IS a solvent.

There's a product sold specifically for saxes which is a very light machine oil, kind of like 3-in-1 only even lighter. Get something like that.

that sax oil is also great for tempura!:D
 

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I totally agree with Jerryjam. As I said earlier, you have not dealt with the problem. You have bandaided it. At least you now know that the culprit is gummy deposits left by inappropriate oil.

Don't use 3-in-1. I don't know if the current formulation is different, but it historically contained a furniture polish (one of the "3"). It was a prime example of an oil that leaves a gummy residue, once the solvent (also one of the "3") has quickly evaporated. It used to be responsible for sewing machines that could barely function.

And oiling every few weeks is absurd.

By far the best is a quality synthetic oil.

Just order some from Doctors Products
http://www.doctorsprod.com/store/comersus_listItems.asp?idCategory=3

And clean out that muck!!!
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
Don't use 3-in-1. I don't know if the current formulation is different, but it historically contained a furniture polish (one of the "3"). It was a prime example of an oil that leaves a gummy residue, once the solvent (also one of the "3") has quickly evaporated. It used to be responsible for sewing machines that could barely function.
from Wikipedia:

3-in-One Oil is a general purpose lubricating oil sold in small cans and squeezable containers for home and do-it-yourself use. It was originally formulated in 1894. Its name, given by the inventor George W. Cole of New Jersey, derives from the product's triple ability to "clean, lubricate and protect", originally for use on bicycles. The formula consists of pale spindle oil with a small amount of corrosion inhibitor and citronella oil (which gives the product its distinctive sharp odor). It remains a popular lubricant for bicycle chains, although it attracts more dirt than some modern alternatives and can be washed away by very heavy rain.

The product changed ownership many times throughout the 20th century and was bought by its current owners, the WD-40 Company, in 1995. The current marketing slogan is "The Tool Kit In A Can" with the well-known logo of the text "3 in" inside a large numeral "1".

A few other products are now produced under the 3-in-1 brand, including a white lithium grease, silicone spray and oil with added PTFE.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Gordon (NZ) said:
I...As I said earlier, you have not dealt with the problem. You have bandaided it. At least you now know that the culprit is gummy deposits left by inappropriate oil.
Yep. I wouldn't be surprised if similar gummed up places exist because the horn went untouched for so long. It doesn't look all that difficult to remove, clean and replace the gummed up parts. One small step at a time, though. I'm not ready to be looking at a pile of saxophone parts on my workbench.
 

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haduran said:
Wikipedia is a really interesting compendium. It is not an absolutely accurate compendium. "Three in One" oil- regardless of the historical accuracy of the interesting bit quoted- is a classic "leave a gummy residue product after the passage of time" oil. Its a great product for many uses but sax rods is probably not one.
I was certainly not advocating its use; just posting information.
 

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haduran said:
Wikipedia is a really interesting compendium. It is not an absolutely accurate compendium. "Three in One" oil- regardless of the historical accuracy of the interesting bit quoted- is a classic "leave a gummy residue product after the passage of time" oil. Its a great product for many uses but sax rods is probably not one.
Perhaps I was wrong about the 'furniture polish'. Sorry everybody, if that is the case. But I am not wrong about the gummy residue.

If it does indeed contain citronella oil, then that could be the culprit. Vegetable oils polymerise in time, becoming like half-set varnish. This process can be delayed, but it is difficult to stop it. Consider the deposits like half-set varnish under under the cooking oil in the pantry (unless somebody regularly cleans it away :)
 

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Either buy proper woodwind key oil or go to a sewing machine shop and buy proper (very light) oil.
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
Perhaps I was wrong about the 'furniture polish'. Sorry everybody, if that is the case. But I am not wrong about the gummy residue.

If it does indeed contain citronella oil, then that could be the culprit. Vegetable oils polymerise in time, becoming like half-set varnish. This process can be delayed, but it is difficult to stop it. Consider the deposits like half-set varnish under under the cooking oil in the pantry (unless somebody regularly cleans it away :)
Citronella: absolutely gunky. That's why I posted that Wikipedia piece. Consider the residue in the anti-mosquito lantern out on the porch in Georgia burning all night. This you do NOT want on your horn.
 
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