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Discussion Starter #1
Well after restoring a fine old Martin Handcraft were I replaced all the old pearls with brand new handmade ivory buttons - I got a crazy idear: Why not try to make a mouthpiece of ivory as well - that would match the instrument visually very well - so I gave it a shot.

I used my Bari as a rough model, but made changes to the chamber and put in a baffer as well.

What do you think?

It plays very nice actually - rich dark sounding - lots of nice overtones, fairly good response and free blowing.... well for a soprano mouthpiece... ha ha.

And now that I had gone out on a limb I might as well do a crazy *** ligature as well in sterling silver....
 

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The ring is sterling silver as well. Both ligature and ring will be 24 carat gold plated along with the rest of the sax. I can recommend sperm whale tusk ivory.... if it wasnt for the price and the fact that its on the CITA list of endangered animals and therefore almost impossible to get - not to say as expensive as white street powder :) Ivory is very very easy to work with and polishes to a nice high gloss finish.
 

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Not available in the US. Ivory has been banned for years. An exception is old ivory that has been around for a long time. Older pianos have it and often junk ones have the old ivory removed. That mouthpiece may be a good one!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The ivory I use is of cause fully legal! I have bought it of a Norwegian guy who finds dead sperm whales on his island - and he has a permit to sell the tusks according to Norwegian law - if that makes you feel any better Jjaart :)

You can ivory from Sibiria as well. Here its 15.000 years old Mamut tooth - witch is fully legal as well.
 

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It looks simply great! And it could sound great! I might be a little concerned about adding a silver ring to the end because of the potential dampening effect. However, some support would be needed there to prevent cracking at a later date when pushing it onto the instrument. I found that when I extended an old brass Link baritone mouthpiece by adding a bit of brass tubing that the extra metal deadened the mouthpiece. Perhaps a narrower silver ring may be less likely to deaden the sound??
Good job!!
 

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How would anything on the outside of a mouthpiece 'deaden' the sound? The air column is on the inside.

It is a pretty piece. Isn't Ivory a bit hard for the upper teeth?
 

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Congratulations on your new mouthpiece. I like the colour but am still not keen on the use of animal products, my preference is to use ivory coloured materials. There are products out there using these materials.
all the best,

Stan
 

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It does look good but on the social/ecological side I do have a problem with it. You see, simply because the ivory you obtained is legal, the fact that it is being used and admired helps to keep it a hot commodity on the poaching front.

Please take no offense. I just feel it is a point that needs to be made.

I do admire your vigor and craftsmanship.
 

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but someone down the line would probably poach it...
seized by the authorities more likely! Ivory...jeepers!

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1297856

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/10/us-smuggling-ivory-idUSTRE7096GQ20110110

Make some out of Tagua nut and you might be in business!

FYI:

Tagua nut is an ivory-like nut of a palm tree in South America. When sectioned, sanded and polished, its dense texture and mellow color resemble the fine qualities of ivory. Residents of Ecuador gather Tagua in the rain forest and it is later used in the manufacturing of buttons,
jewelry, and other arts and crafts. This renewable resource helps with the conservation and developmental needs of the rain forest.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the kind words :)

The idear of using a Tagua nut is NOT bad... I have worked with that material before and it is very similar to ivory in terms of hardness. Question is, can you get one big enough? The ones I have used before were quite small - and we all know.... small nuts are NO good! ;-)

I do understand and support any thoughts on conservation of wildlife - and ONLY because the tusk comes from an already "naturally dead" sperm whale was it ok for me to use it - and I wanted the mouthpiece to match the buttons/pearls on my soprano that had ivory.

On the ring side.... as it was my first attempt of making a mouthpiece I just rudely copied my Bari soprano mouthpiece and it has a metal ring. Well havent tried it without the ring, but yes I put it there for strength and I have no idear how it effects the sound....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Latest photos

Well here are the newest photos after the ligature and ring has been gold plated. Baffle installed and ligature all finished.

It sounds not all bad - not sure if the chamber is a bit to big, but that can be fixed :)
 

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The idear of using a Tagua nut is NOT bad... I have worked with that material before and it is very similar to ivory in terms of hardness. Question is, can you get one big enough? The ones I have used before were quite small - and we all know.... small nuts are NO good! ;-)
Good point! I've seen some pretty big faux ivory chess pieces. I think the nuts can grow to be about the size of grapefruits (which is also not so great :))
 
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