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O' great Sax Masters, again, I approach with humble question. I am trying to level the inside of the padcup where the key-touch profile has created a ridge in the padcup. I am attempting to smooth out these ridges with a grinding stone attachment to the rotary tool. I have attached a photo to show what I am working on. What is the proper procedure to complete this job and do you think it is necessary? I really appreciate you taking the time to share your precious knowledge and experience!
 

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Such a minor irregularity will have no effect on the pad because it probably does not exceed the thickness of the shellac or glue between the pad and the cup. Even if it did, the pad has enough flexibility to account for it. Moreover, I would not recommend thinning/weakening the pad cup at that location.
 

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I wouldn't grind that. If this causes a high spot shave the piece of leather off on the back side of the pad in that area. I have had to shim the opposite side of a cup because of some of these that were high.
 

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So you want to thin out the contact point between the key touch/pearl and the key cup? Bad idea and nowhere near necessary. I concur with 1saxman and saxcop.
 

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O' great Sax Masters, again, I approach with humble question. I am trying to level the inside of the padcup where the key-touch profile has created a ridge in the padcup. I am attempting to smooth out these ridges with a grinding stone attachment to the rotary tool. I have attached a photo to show what I am working on. What is the proper procedure to complete this job and do you think it is necessary? I really appreciate you taking the time to share your precious knowledge and experience!
Put down the grinder and step away from the bench...

It is very likely that you will grind through the keycup by the time you make it level, and weaken the touch contact in the process.

Really not a good idea. IMNSHO.
 

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Agree with everyone above. This sort of "bump" on the underside of the key cup is fairly common. In most cases, the thin bed of shellac behind the pad will level things out and support the pad. In more extreme cases, what saxcop describes is a good remedy.
 

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I hate it when they dimple the pad cup that way. It really wouldn't have affected the way the thing plays to have had the pearl a mm or so taller.
 

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I hate it when they dimple the pad cup that way. It really wouldn't have affected the way the thing plays to have had the pearl a mm or so taller.
The dimple lets the pearl sit lower on the cup and more parallel with greater contact area.
 

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The dimple lets the pearl sit lower on the cup and more parallel with greater contact area.
I'm wondering if some of them were done this way on purpose and some are as a result of playing and bumping for many years. At the top of my head I can only remember one regular pearl holder I've seen fall off a sax and it had the dimple... other than one so cheap it was soft soldered and another that was soldered to the side of the cup using a very small diameter rod.
Falling pearl holders is not a problem without the dimple.

If it's a result of a bump, etc. then I guess you could make a shape to wrap it using something like Instamorph or even just a piece of wood with a hole drilled in to it (the plastic would be close to the key cup shape for better support) and tap it back.

If it's original and was soldered that way, maybe not a great idea, would just stretch the metal around it a lot I guess.

I definitely wouldn't grind it.
 

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I've always though it was the unintentional result of the brazing process (high heat, thin metal, pressure of pearl holder being held in place while brazing). So many of the vintage horns I've worked on have had this phenomenon to some degree but its very inconsistent. I doubt that the manufacturers used a die to stamp key cups with a recess for the pearl holder, but I could be wrong.
 

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"...I could be wrong."
I think you are wrong. I see it as an attempt to mount the pearl on a relatively flat surface.
 
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