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Gordon say he cuts work time this way; he sets pads into cups with a minimal ammount of shellac and then bends the keys.

In this manner I presume he is not the victim of the caprice of glue- shellac being a type of glue.

I have a few key bending tools but I have yet to use them as a substitute for adjusting pads with the needle and micro torch ‘till I go out of my mind’ as Musicmedic puts it.

Could I receive a few pointers in the practice of key bending?
 

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Sounds like adjusting true tone snap in pads - but without using shims..

I guess no reason it wouldn't work fine. Possibly more work that's all.
 

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I prefer to think of it as key straightening, not bending. Be sure that the pad is in the cup evenly (the protrusion is consistent all the way around). Be sure that the pad fits snug (no gaps between the pad and the sides of the cup).
When working on the main body tube, I call the neck tenon end of the sax "north", and the bow ring end "south".

Align the cup so it is centered over the tonehole, not too far north or south(easily "bent" with finger pressure). Level pad cup so that the pad contacts the north and south edges of the tonehole evenly(also done easily with fingers).
Now to adjust east to west requires some tools. I have some pliers that support the rib of the key near the hinge rod that allow me to pull the outer edge (west) down if leaking on the outside. I have some specialty tools that I got from Allied or Ferrees that hook under the hinge rod when spreading the cup open to eliminate a leak on the east (nearest the hinge rod) side.
Repeat processes until the pad is covering as well as possible. Remaining minor coverage discrepancies are addressed by reheating the cup slightly and shifting the pad back and forth slightly.
Some folks put objects between the pad and tonehole and hit the key with a mallet to align. I am not a fan of this very popular technique. I believe that it is harmful to the toneholes among other things.
I am also not a fan of "floating" sax pads on large masses of shellac or hot glue. The pad is best secured deep in the cup with enough shellac to cover and seal the back of the pad.
Have fun!
 

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The technique that I use is to seat the pad as perfectly as possible by straightening the key and using the proper amount of shellac to get the optimum pad projection in the key cup and then do the final tweaking to get a perfect seal with the lightest pressure by heating the key cup and pulling the pad down to meet the tonehole in the areas that it is the lightest. These are very tiny adjustments at this point and I hesitate to call it floating, but the pad is being moved slightly up or down on the bed of shellac.

One of the best tips I have learned from Curt Alterac is to try the pad in the keycup on the instrument without any adhesive to see how much shellac is required. He calls it "dry fitting the pad". I compare it to the process of determining how many shims to use in a flute key cup. I find that this reduces the amount of key bending required and can vary from key to key on the same instrument.

John
 

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zagzig said:
Gordon say he cuts work time this way; he sets pads into cups with a minimal amount of shellac and then bends the keys.

In this manner I presume he is not the victim of the caprice of glue- shellac being a type of glue.

I have a few key bending tools but I have yet to use them as a substitute for adjusting pads with the needle and micro torch ‘till I go out of my mind’ as Musicmedic puts it.

Could I receive a few pointers in the practice of key bending?
1. Be brave. (and pads are tougher than you think.
2. Leak light is absolutely essential. It must be locally bright.
3. Always bend too far, then back slightly, so that the metal is in a stable state. How much requires experience.
4. I am not too worried about applying pressure above the TALL part of the walls of tone holes. If the body gives minutely under them, then it probably means that the metal was in an unstable stressed state anyway, and is better off relaxed, to make the alignment adjustment stable. Where the tone hole walls are low, there is little rigidity in them, nor the body beneath.
5. Improvise. A wide range of possibilities to choose from.
6. Obtain/modify/make specialist tools as required, eg
  • Shims between pad and tone hole while pushing another part of the key cup. Even a folded bank note is useful.
  • Strong thumbs for pushing down high part of key cup.
  • Polycarbonate punches for tapping down high areas. Some shaped to work around key guards.
  • Modified pliers for forcing down the back of key cups.
  • Flat jaw pliers on the Key cup arm, for side to side translations and angling.
  • Modified pliers for re-aligning small key cups.
  • etc
  • See photo.
 

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True! Good recognition skills for a non-kiwi! LOL!
Well actually our banknotes are hopeless for this, because they are plastic and don't keep folds well at all.
 

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jbtsax said:
Ok, my curiosity is at its peak. What is that strange looking silver tool in the center (with the hooked ends) for and how is it used????
I think it's the same tool (for Bb arm) that Gordon showed on the other forum that you were interested and I think you talked about it there. Maybe I'm wrong....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you very much for this beautiful reply.

I will make the synthesis. Very generally the student should not be afraid to bend keys. They are stronger than one might suppose, also pads can take more pressure than one might think.

Go easy on the north and south walls with inserting flat surfaces- shims I believe is the term- between pad and tonehole.

Horn improvement is not so crazy about shims. He is of the opinion that these used in conjunction with undelicate hammer blows could damage the tonehole. Gordon seems less concerned.

Clearly one shouldn’t manhandle the instrument.

Straiten the key first and tweek with the micro torch and needle afterward.

Here I add a thought ( correct me if I am mistaken): The cup should be level with the tonehole before the pad is inserted, Also the cup should closer rather than further from the tonehole so that shellac doesn’t have to be used excessively as a filler.

Try to be sensitive to the interelationship of the distance of the cup to the tonehole, the thickness of the pad and the ammount of shellac needed to make up the difference. Use Kurts Alteric’s technique as a way into this sensitivity.

Here I have a question; would it not be a good idea at this point to to check whether the pad is flat? If it is not strait, one should flatten it against a surface.

Not much shellac is needed. I have gather from previous posts that technicians vary in their manner of appling shellac- on the back of pad, in the cup, both etc. What ever one’s technique, avoid air pockets.

The pad in ther cup should protrude evenly- it should look like the soul of normality.

Check to see if the cup is centred north south.

Why not try to work without shims first? Use the duckbill pliers and thumbs for west adjustments and the special Allied or Ferre tool for east adjustments.

Always benda little too far. Again don’t be afraid.

A dollar bill or a piece of cardboard may be used as a shim.

Tweeking at the end with needle and micro torch should be the final touches. Simple heating the cup and pressing lightly could do the trick.

I assume you don’t have to go out of your mind if you have some practical experience of the preceeding.

The pad should seal with the lightest of touch- and with a kissing sound.

I have a number the of items in Gordon’s collection: I assume the dark yellow pliers are a version of the Allied or Ferre tool. I have this last item: It is a kind of crowbar with hooks.

Also the pliers with the light yellow handles could be the modified pliers for small keys as it end seems bend so as to get into small places.

I presume a polycarborate punch is a tool which gives a wallop to the cup.

I thank you again for this precious advice…
 

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clarnibass said:
jbtsax said:
Ok, my curiosity is at its peak. What is that strange looking silver tool in the center (with the hooked ends) for and how is it used????
I think it's the same tool (for Bb arm) that Gordon showed on the other forum that you were interested and I think you talked about it there. Maybe I'm wrong....
I think it's a molar swedger that came with the dental torture set he's acquired some years ago. "When it's good enough for your wisdom tooth it's good enough for that #@%! pillar too". :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How long does repadding take?

How many hours does it take for an experienced technician to do a repad?

Lets assume that you are also tightening the mechanism as well and there are no grave problems.

Over the last year I have repadded 5 saxophones. In each case, I got to play the low b flat with a ‘pianissimo and entrancing tone’this being jbtsaxes criterion for a job being finished.

He wrote this in a post which was accidentally deleted.

I believe I spent close to 300 hours on these saxophones, adjusting pads till I almost went out of my mind but enjoying myself all the same.

Without having practiced, in this manner I would not be able to appreciate the help I am receiving in this forum

I would like to know how long experienced members take to do a repad so as to have an idea of my relative ineffectiveness

In a way the world could be divided between those who practice and those who don’t to, the extent one can meaningfully divide the world .

I can only assume that those who love to practice love to learn.

In my case saxophone repair has enriched my life with many pleasant hours of research into the nature of this bewitching instrument.

I am also a player, so I have some idea of what I am aiming for…

This forum is a trade school corespondance course and you are my teachers…
 

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clarnibass said:
I think it's the same tool (for Bb arm) that Gordon showed on the other forum that you were interested and I think you talked about it there. Maybe I'm wrong....
True. Ignore one end - failed prototype.
The other end is to re-align the Bis key's linkage arm that operates from F#, such that its top surface is at right angles to the axis of the regulating screw that adjusts it, without taking keys off the sax. This makes the linkage more reliable. The screw adjuster is to straddle the arm that holds the regulator screws, on different models of sax. It has thick tin/silver solder on the end so as not to damge the arm's surface.
 

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zagzig said:
I will make the synthesis. Very generally the student should not be afraid to bend keys. They are stronger than one might suppose, also pads can take more pressure than one might think....
Some key are actually VERY weak. Moderate finger pressure during playing, especially when the pearl is well off-centre, and especially with certain 'vintage' models and Chinese models, can tilt a key cup.

But keys almost never break. Occasionally dry solder joints will part, but even this is very rare.

I could add a lot of ifs and buts to about a third of your summary items. I regard very little as straight forward in instrument repair. It takes a lot of experience to recognise all these little things and deal with them - make appropriate decisions, minute by minute.
 

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tictactux said:
I think it's a molar swedger that came with the dental torture set he's acquired some years ago. "When it's good enough for your wisdom tooth it's good enough for that #@%! pillar too". :D
LOL! Yes, I do use a lot of dental equipment. And my son really appreciated the tooth clamp so he could better grip his loose tooth to pull it out. :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gordon wrote ' I could add a lot of ifs and buts to about a third of your summary items. I regard very little as straight forward in instrument repair. It takes a lot of experience to recognise all these little things and deal with them - make appropriate decisions, minute by minute.'

Thanks Gordon. I appreciate your generous help. I can't expect anyone to give me exact help in understanding a practical proceedure- much less help in the form of wriiten commentary. Nevertheless the help you and the other forum members are supplying is a small revelation given the fact that over the last year I have communicated with almost noone about my saxophone repair work. Considering this, that I have only 30% a little mixed up is still not so bad. I have no doubt that with further practice I will headway...
__________________
 

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"Considering this, that I have only 30% a little mixed up is still not so bad."

Not really mixed up. Superficial, over-simplified.
 
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