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Discussion Starter #1
On my 1919 Conn C Melody the G# key had a really stuck rod screw. I had to use the key to hold it and work it back and forth but eventually it did come out.

I have noticed that the key part of the key has become unsoldered from the hinge tube from the excessive back and forth of trying to get that screw out. It is not a huge issue, as its still so tight that I can play with no problems, but if I push the G# to hard accidentally, the key touch remains lower than the rest of the pinky cluster. A small pull will bring it back to alignment with the cluster. I have noticed that it can move independently from the hinge tube it is supposed to be soldered too!

The silver plate at the seam has cracked and I can see how Conn originally manufactured the keywork piece. My questions:

Can I use regular silver solder to repair this section of key?

Will it flow into the joint through the crack in the silver-plating?

Will it melt/harm/damage the silver plating?

Should I just keep on playin the horn remembering not to push the G# too hard? (It is still tight enough on the hinge tube to function normally)

Any input is appreciated...

Danny
 

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Distinguished SOTW Tech/Forum Contributor 2007
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when you say silver solder do you mean hard solder or silverish soft solder. I would take it all apart clean it and hard solder it, the appearance of the repair will depend on the solder skills of the repairer, and the quality of the prep work etc

to hard solder that, you will need to get the key red hot, etc...

in the future, if you get a stuck rod on a conn, it is fairly easy to desolder the posts and work the key out that way, you will be less likely to damage the key.

as for the repair, a clean but visable repair will be much better for yor saxophonr playing than a broken but original key. fix the key, or take it to some one who can fix it, the repair will likely be noticable but if someone is charging you money for it, they should be able to make it look clean etc...
 

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Be prepared for the plating to be damaged during silver soldering due to the amount of heat involved.

Sometimes you may get lucky and the plating blisters and can be burnished back down again or even luckier if it gets a matt finish (which can also be burnished so it's shiny), but expect there to be plating damage.

As it's on the G# key barrel, the resolder and any plating damage (which will be tidied up and polished in due course) will be fairly well hidden but only noticeable under close inspection.
 

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Damage to silver plating is minimised or eliminated if the entire surrounding area is fluxed prior to heating. Indeed, an irregular plating surface caused by heating, can sometimes be cured by covering with flux and re-heating. Of course, cleanliness is a must.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent, good to know. I'll get it set to be nice and even with the rest of the pinky cluster, remove it, and solder it promptly. Hopefully I get lucky with the plating... and can repolish it to look nice again!

Thank you,
Danny
 

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There are many alloys of silver solder. It probably needs to be 40 to 45% silver in order to flow well into small gaps with minimum heat, and look silvery rather than yellow to approximate the appearance of the plating. You need it to flow really well (rather than just melt) at or below 620C (1148F). There are alloys containing cadmium - beware of toxic vapours while soldering - and non-cadmium. A flux for the particular alloy is vital.
 

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Easy-flo silver solder and flux are probably the best to use for general silver soldering as they're relatively low temperature (as far as silver solder goes) and you're best off using the 0.5mm diameter silver solder wire rather than the thicker rods (around 1.5-2mm diameter) it also comes in.
 

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It seems the thin wire is now so expensive that Kraus has stopped stocking it.
I roll the thick wire to a thin strip, using a jeweller's rolling mill, which I just hapened to buy cheap. But it would only take a jeweller a minute to roll several metres of the stuff. :)
 
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