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I've seen a few posts on SOTW about a moldable rubber product called Sugru (website: sugru.com), which can be used to make key risers, bite plates, etc. I think the stuff is great and so I thought it might be helpful to share my experience with it.

Background:
Sugru is moldable rubber. When you take it out of the packet, it's soft and slightly sticky, like a chewed piece of gum. It stays soft and moldable for about 1 hour and it hardens into hard rubber over ~24 hours. So when you take it out of the packet you have some time to work with it, mold it, adjust it, etc before it sets.
It comes in packs of 3 or 8. Each pack is enough for 2-3 key risers so you can make left and right palm key risers with 2-3 packs and an 8 pack of Sugru is enough to do 3-4 saxes. An 8 pack is currently available on Amazon.com for $16.95, which comes out to $4-5 for a full set of key risers (i.e., left and right hand), more economical than commercial key risers (e.g., ProTec or Runyon key risers).

The key risers I made with Sugru:
For the key risers pictured here I used 3 packs of Sugru for the left hand and 2 packs for the right hand and low B flat key.
View attachment 80737 View attachment 80738 View attachment 80739 View attachment 80740 View attachment 80741

A few pointers I learned by doing:
-After opening each pack of Sugru, cut it into either 2 or 3 equal portions so the key risers will be roughly equal in size.
-Rolling each portion between your hands to make a smooth little cylinder makes application to the key easier.
-It is important to mold the Sugru over the backside of the key so that it will stay securely in place.
-I used the flat side of a small kitchen knife to shape/mold the Sugru on the backside of the right palm keys where my fingers couldn't reach.

Advantages of Sugru:
-It's cheaper than commercial key risers.
-The size and shape are entirely customizable to your hands.
-Once it sets, it's a bit firmer and less sticky than Runyon key risers.
-It comes in lots of different colors.
-It doesn't slip (the way Runyon key risers do).
-The rubber can be shaved or cut if needed to reshape the riser after it hardens.
-The rubber can be removed easily without leaving any residue behind on the key. No glue is needed

Hope folks find this post helpful. Happy to answer any questions.
 

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A cheaper but uglier option that I have used with some success is instamorph. it melts in hot water, shape with your hands to fit. no glue needed, just shape it in way where fits. just need to dip in hot water to adjust or remove it. not something that you can really cut or shave though, its too hard. its comes out an ugly bright white color unless you spring for the special dyes they have for it. 10$ for a small container, enough to do quite a bit with. I got the 17 oz tub for 20$, don't think I'll ever run out of the stuff.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_...keywords=plastimorph&sprefix=plastimo,aps,203
 

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Another sugru fan here - really helped me make some more comfortable palm keys! This stuff is real easy to apply and lasts forever
 

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I had some of the rubber risers (Runyon?) that were beginning to slip off. I used one pack of Sugru around the upper part of the key (Above where the risers normally are) and onto the risers. No more slip!
 

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The Runyon ones are decent - and a good option if you're not sure you'll keep the horn forever. Clean the key with alcohol before you put it on and it won't slip. another option is to dip the key in plasticote (and let it dry) before you put the riser on.
 

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The Runyon ones are decent - and a good option if you're not sure you'll keep the horn forever. Clean the key with alcohol before you put it on and it won't slip. another option is to dip the key in plasticote (and let it dry) before you put the riser on.
I've used to use the Runyons and they always broke and/or slipped off. I discovered Sugru a few years ago and find it to be the best non-permanent option...it's a piece of cake to remove if necessary and is perfect for crafting custom risers for your individual needs.

TIPS:
1) Use fine-grade sandpaper to shape the Sugru once it has set e.g. sometime the next day. The sanding also gives the Sugru a slightly more grippy, matte surface and removes all of the little marks that inevitably marr the finished rubber once it has set. You'll have to be careful not to sand down to the metal underneath but you can get the risers (or other application) to look almost "perfect" i.e. like a commercial product. I'll have to post some pics of my Sugru palm risers...my tech (who hadn't heard of Sugru until I showed him my risers) couldn't believe that I'd made them myself because they looked so good. When making Sugru risers, I completely cover the palm keys with Sugru so that the end-result looks very similar to Runyon risers....doing it this way makes it much easier to sand/shape the Sugru once it has set without having to worry too much about sanding down to the metal underneath. However, I DO recommend covering the edges with masking tape or similar where the Sugru meets the metal so that you don't accidentally mark the metal when sanding....it only takes a minor bump with sandpaper to scratch the metal if that's something that would bother you i.e. if you have a new horn etc.
2) It's much, much easier to apply, shape and sand Sugru by removing the palm keys from the horn if you're making risers. Put a toothpick or thin wooden skewer etc through the palm key screw hole to stabilise the key and keep it off the work surface whilst the Sugru is setting.
3) I prefer to use more Sugru than necessary when making palm risers i.e. just under one pack of Sugru per riser. This gives me plenty of Sugru to shape and sand without having to worry about accidentally sanding down to the metal of the key.
4) If you find that you need to add more mass to your Sugru project, you can simply apply more Sugru on top of the old Sugru...it'll stick/bind perfectly. And if you have areas where you can see a slight colour difference between the old and new Sugru, sanding those areas once it has set will blend the new and old so that you can't tell the difference.
 

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And how do you get it off?
 

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I guess I'll rain on the parade here and simply say that if I ever need key risers, I'll contact cement multiple layers of cork, sand to contour and finish off with a topcoat of clear fingernail polish to make it feel just like the key. This stuff just looks like play-doh gone wild. ;-)

John
 

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And how do you get it off?
Make a little slice in the rubber and then just peel it off....any residue will rub off with your fingers or a cloth and it won't strip/mark lacquer. You'd never even know it'd been applied once removed. It's the best enduring yet non-permanent solution for stuff like we've discussing here.
 

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Been using it for a few years now. I have Sugru risers on one tenor, 2 altos and a sop. Great stuff and totally customisible without much effort or sculpting talent, plus if you don't like the result you can cut, trim, sand or remove it as you desire. Some good hardware stores carry it too. I found it in Tag Hardware in Somerville Mass last week and it is always available on Amazon by mail.
 

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I used this sugru on my King super 20 alto, on the left hand pearl thumb rest, my thumb kept on slipping off the pearl, pearl is not too big for the thumb, not no mo!...also used it on the rh thumb rest, makes it a lot more comfortable!:mrgreen:
 

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Worked great for risers for my Serie III. Really improved the playability of the horn.
 

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It's very easy to use. A no-brainer really. And if you keep unopened packets in the refridge the sugru inside will last way past the printed expiration date.
 
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