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Discussion Starter #1
Where would one find leather for making one's own pads?
I'm looking at redoing an Aristocrat, and like the recommendation of another poster
who dismantles the old pads, flips the felt, and then recovers the old felt with new leather
and puts the metal backing back in place.
Is this even doable without forms of particular diameters, to help keep tension even while gluing down the pads?
I assume it would be akin to stretching a canvas for an artist; start by tacking down (what kind of glue?) at four equidistant points, then equidistant points between those points, etc.

I should add that this is fundamentally a reaction to my confusion after attempting to understand what the correct thickness of pad is
to replace old snap-ons. I like someone's suggestion to use regular pads and add the metal backs or use a thicker pad and leave the metal backs off but retain the snaps.
Either way, even though this subject appears to have been litigated ad infinitum, I have yet to discover any consensus about the correct thickness either way.
According to a serious Buescher poster the pads should be "at least" .165", others say .185.
It seems clear there is not a viable working set of metal backed pads available on the market, even Curt Altarac of MM says the sets they sell are not up to par and does not recommend nor use them unless requested.
Anyway, if I could find a concise and definitive answer regarding the appropriate thickness of pad to use for both possibilities I mentioned (one using the old metal backs glued on over the back of a new pad, another for leaving the metal backs off), I wouldn't even be asking about finding leather to make my own pads. But still, I am curious to know where this leather can be had.
 

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Why would you reuse old felt...its like buying new carpet and using the old nasty padding or putting a roof over rotted plywood sheeting. If you are going to do all that work buy good materials. A repad or overhaul is not expensive due to pads. Even the best pads are dirt cheap. The expense is due to the precise work and time involved.
 

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Making pads yourself? Why? Musicmedic.com has a whole bunch of pad styles. If you're stuck, call them.
 

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Making pads yourself? Why? Musicmedic.com has a whole bunch of pad styles. If you're stuck, call them.
Music Medic doesn't carry Buescher snap-ins anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So riddle the Sphinx and tell me the answer to my 2-part question regarding pad thickness for the 156 model Aristocrat.
Although, again, even among extremely experienced Buescher technicians and enthusiasts, there is still no consensus that I can find regarding pad thickness
even for original Buescher pads, much less considering replacements of the two types I've asked about here.
 

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I have read a lot of misinformation on the internet by well meaning amateur do it yourself pad installers and some quite frankly by techs who should know better. A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are several that tell the story. The last photo shows my favorite choice for saxes with a silver finish, a Music Medic white roo with the hole punched larger to accept a snap-on reso.









 

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The appropriate pad thickness for any particular location on any particular instrument is one that allows the pad to close evenly and accurately around the tone hole, taking into consideration the thickness of any backing "washers" that the installer may like to use, or any bed of shellac that the installer might like to use, and current alignment of keys with tone holes, which may well have been altered since manufacture, and any need the technician feels to alter the key alignment to improve the general mechanical set-up of the sax, which is often not ideal at manufacture.

Other factors that may affect thickness is to what extent the "squishiness" of the pad has to accommodate irregularities in the levelness of the tone holes surface, or sloppy pivots. (A given owner may not want to pay the cost of putting these right). And that squishiness is also determined by the type and quality of felt, and in the case of re-used felt, how it has deteriorated (especially become hard) with use, which in turn depends on another heap of factors!

Servicing instruments does not follow a set of rules. It is rather fluid, based on a heap of common sense notions that have their foundation in sound mechanical engineering, and especially knowledge of how the relevant materials behave.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Saxoclese for the pics. I read another thread where I believe it was you arguing that this is the case but as I recall there were those on that thread arguing that pictures don't mean anything, although one would think a picture is nothing more than a captured image of an observation made with your own eye. My hope with the Bueschers I just picked up recently is to set the pad cup geometry in relation to the toneholes as close to perfect geometry as possible and then not bend keycups to achieve seal. I like Matt Stohrer's method based on his explanation. It made sense to me. According to SOTW member Jicaino, a huge Buescher fan, the pads must be at least .65, which sort of agrees with your experience showing the .160 pad being close but light in back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The appropriate pad thickness for any particular location on any particular instrument is one that allows the pad to close evenly and accurately around the tone hole, taking into consideration the thickness of any backing "washers" that the installer may like to use, or any bed of shellac that the installer might like to use, and current alignment of keys with tone holes, which may well have been altered since manufacture, and any need the technician feels to alter the key alignment to improve the general mechanical set-up of the sax, which is often not ideal at manufacture.

Other factors that may affect thickness is to what extent the "squishiness" of the pad has to accommodate irregularities in the levelness of the tone holes surface, or sloppy pivots. (A given owner may not want to pay the cost of putting these right). And that squishiness is also determined by the type and quality of felt, and in the case of re-used felt, how it has deteriorated (especially become hard) with use, which in turn depends on another heap of factors!

Servicing instruments does not follow a set of rules. It is rather fluid, based on a heap of common sense notions that have their foundation in sound mechanical engineering, and especially knowledge of how the relevant materials behave.

All this makes sense, but what does that mean in practical terms when it comes to any attempt to replace Buescher snap-on pads? I think I'm just gonna go with Matt Stohrer's recommendations as soon as I can find them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Leather for saxophone pads is available from various suppliers to our trade. Last I heard Ferrees stocked it in different colours and grades.
Perhaps Musicmedic does too.

It is likely that they all get it from the world's biggest pad maker, Music Center in Italy, where I got mine (which I haven't used in decades.)
Here are 10 options for you to choose from:
http://www.musiccenter.it/music_articoli.asp?FAM=ACPE&Marca=0001&tipo=350&brand=MUSIC CENTER SPA
Thanks for the link.
 

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Dear craftsmen working with leather, advice is needed! I was about to buy a tool, namely knives for cutting leather, as always, of course, I want to buy high-quality and not very expensive ... and most importantly - what shape is better to take blades, what length, diameter, etc., so as not to gain a bunch and buy 2-3 and work with pleasure! thank you in advance to everyone who responds! As an example here https://leather-toolkits.com/reviews/best-knives-for-cutting-leather/
 

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Thanks Saxoclese for the pics. I read another thread where I believe it was you arguing that this is the case but as I recall there were those on that thread arguing that pictures don't mean anything, although one would think a picture is nothing more than a captured image of an observation made with your own eye. My hope with the Bueschers I just picked up recently is to set the pad cup geometry in relation to the toneholes as close to perfect geometry as possible and then not bend keycups to achieve seal. I like Matt Stohrer's method based on his explanation. It made sense to me. According to SOTW member Jicaino, a huge Buescher fan, the pads must be at least .65, which sort of agrees with your experience showing the .160 pad being close but light in back.
If you didn't already see it, you might be interested in this thread, which ended up being mostly about snap-on pads.

Long story short, it seem that pre-war Bueschers used two different pad thicknesses & post-war horns used one pad thickness.
 
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