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I use Musicmedic’ s stick shellac and I am satisfied with this product.

In contrast, I don’t use hot glue because I believe this adhesive when dry has a soggy quality that make pads springy and thus slows down the action.

Do I have this right?

Also I am intrigued by traditional flake shellac. It can be mixed with menthl hydrate-I believe this is the chemical- thus creating a liquid which could be injected in hard to reach places.

This should make pad setting a little easier-no?

Tradition flake shellac can also be put into pad cups and melted.

It is slow drying and this could be a great advantage in the pad setting art.

I presume once one get a feel for this adhesive one could make those tiny but so important ajustments during the course of the day.

I could also save on the butane refillls I use in my micro torch.

Or is the slow dry time more of a hassle than anything else?
 

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Great idea! Try it and report back.

A long set time,might also mean chasing your tail endlessly trying to get the pads to seat correctly, but give it a go.

I always thought stick shellac and flake shellac were the same animal. Just one's in a stick and the other is in a bagful of flakes and every sort of rubbish and contaminant known to man. But I might be wrong.

If you want to use flake shellac, I'd just melt it in a pot and make it up into conveniently sized sticks.

If you've ever done the whole "dissolve shellac flakes in methho. Strain all the rubbish out. Bugger about trying to get the right consistency. Add more metho. Wait for the bastard flakes to fully dissolve. Heat on cook-top to speed up process. Spill mixture on cook-top. Lose eyebrows. Apply shellac. Apply again. ....etc." You'll know what I mean.

You can raffle it!

But give it a go and see what happens.
 

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zagzig said:
I use Musicmedic's stick shellac and I am satisfied with this product.

In contrast, I don't use hot glue because I believe this adhesive when dry has a soggy quality that make pads springy and thus slows down the action.

Do I have this right?
It's not really a simple yes or no.

First, there are different grades of hot melt glue. What is mainly sold in craft and hardware stores usually has fairly low softening temperature, so if a sax gets over-warm in the back of a vehicle, pads can move. The higher temp glues need a special, higher temp gun. Many technicians and manufacturers use such glues.

For shellac, this is not an issue. But some technicians claim that in cold climates, shellac becomes so brittle that it breaks away. This would not happen with hot-melt, which does not set brittle. My personal experience is that shellac fails only when the surfaces are not clean, and when the pad cup is not heated enough to make the shellac stick well, or the glue is not hot enough when applied to the back surface of the pad. But I don't work in a climate that goes much below 0C. (BTW, some grades of hot melt glue have almost no adhesive properties. LeBlanc used it for years on their clarinets!)

I think 'springy pads' are caused more by having significant air pockets behind the pad, and by using 'squishy'-felted pads.

There is another factor that may have a slight effect on how the instrument plays. This area has been hotly debated in this forum....

The purpose of the metal body of a sax is to provide a rigid container for the vibrating air column. If a piece of balloon were stretched and sealed tightly over a tone hole, instead of a pad, then it would not provide any rigidity at all in that part of the container, and the sax would behave as if this were an open tone hole. That is because the air outside the membrane, would be free to oscillating in exactly the same way as the oscillating air under the membrane. At the other end of the spectrum, even the metal wall of a sax is not fully rigid, which is why you can feel it vibrating.

Somewhere between these two extremes, is the rigidity of a leather covered felt sax pad, mounted in a spring-loaded key cup.

So it can be argued that a more rigid adhesive between the pad and cup, could provide more rigidity for the container of the air column at the tone hole. Whether this effect has significance in real life is debatable. I prefer to use shellac in case this contributes to a better playing instrument. However I use hot-melt glue pellets for other instruments, manly because I bought some high quality pads which have a coating on the back which shellac does not adhere to well.

Shellac is a lot more expensive, but for an entire sax even, that actual price is not worth quibbling over.

I am not putting pads in all day, so having a glue gun hot and ready all day is not really viable. However, for a factory, or a busy repair shop, who can have their glue gun hot all day, the hot-melt glue is a lot more convenient. I suspect that is the main reason it is now so commonly used. In a mass-production line, using a glue gun is far quicker.

Also I am intrigued by traditional flake shellac. It can be mixed with menthl hydrate-I believe this is the chemical- thus creating a liquid which could be injected in hard to reach places.
I cannot see when you would need to 'inject' it. It is well worthwhile taking a key off a sax to install a pad properly.

Also, a liquid glue like that does not set until the solvent has all evaporated. Behind a pad that can take many hours, or days, even weeks, depending on how thick the glue is, and the climate, and how vapour-proof the pad is. So... "This should make pad setting a little easier-no?" No! If you use the method of adjusting alignment of a pad while the glue is semi-liquid, you really need to attend to the alignment all the time the glue is setting, until it is solid. Just clamping keys shut during this time does not work well... because of the key being hinged from the side, this almost always results in pads that close firmly at the back (near the hinge) while still barely closing at the front.

Tradition flake shellac can also be put into pad cups and melted.

It is slow drying and this could be a great advantage in the pad setting art.
Using undissolved flakes is the same as using stick shellac. They both behave as hot-melt glues. That is very different from using a wait-till-the-solvent-evaporates type of glue. Most technicians find the sticks a lot more convenient than the flakes. It is also possible that something is added to the formulation in the sticks, to make the glue a little less brittle when it sets. What makes me think this is that different sorts of stick shellac do seem to have different brittleness qualities. I think you can trust Musicmedic's as one of the best. The flakes, although very thin, are still very brittle.

I presume once one get a feel for this adhesive one could make those tiny but so important adjustments during the course of the day.

I could also save on the butane refills I use in my micro torch.
Actually, after I install a sax pad, with only enough glue to exclude air, I do almost all adjustments by altering the alignment of the key cup. No wasted butane. No chance of introducing air pockets behind the pads. No oozing of surplus glue. :)

Or is the slow dry time more of a hassle than anything else?
It would be a huge hassle. It could present problems over hours and days, and the result be inferior. Why add solvent when you then have to get rid of it, PVA-style! Shellac is a very good hot melt glue.
 

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Gordon,
...how about combining hot-melt glue and shellac? Couldn't the favourable properties of those two glues be merged?
(In case you manage to create gold, please casually drop my name during your speech in Stockholm)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Gordon for a beautiful reply…

Thus hot glue springiness under the pad is in your opinion not an issue.

Rather the possible problem could be sound- ac type vibrations- escaping into the outside world.

I have in fact never seen anyone inject menthol hydrated flake shellac under a pad…

You answered to a large extent a question I was about to ask namely what is the relationship between Music medics shellac and traditional flake shellac.

Presumable one could try to melt Music medics stick shellac and mix it with methol hydrate thus create the substance which according to Dog pants is the material equivalent of chaos something like anti- gold or kreptonite…

I do not wish to seem petty, but the price difference between hot glue and stick shellac is an issue for some of us students of the pad setting art.

Presumably, the question of whether shellac offers a kind of sound proofing could one day be resolved on a scientific basics…

Mean while your comment about using the minimal of shellac and doing the rest by key bending alters my breathing pattern.

I say this because I spend a lot of time ‘adjusting pads till I go out of my mind’ as Music medic puts it.

It took me many long weeks to repad first saxophone since I got into this activity about a year ago.

Perhaps I should be adjusting key cups instead.

I believe I am graduating to a slightly higher level of sophitication (how do you spell this word?) in pad setting thanks to practice and internet research.

Nevertheless it remains that key bending as you describe it is something I never practice.

Key bending will be the theme of my next thread.
 
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