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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I posted this thread on the C Melody forums at csax.net and heard crickets so I decided to go to a forum that actually has people! :lol:
I decided to restore my 1919 Conn C-Melody and got a LOT done today at least I think.
Here is what I started with:
View attachment 27417
And the other side:
View attachment 27418
Here is where I got to (The pad cup you see is also removed now):
View attachment 27419
Here is another view:
View attachment 27420
This is a woops during the process:
View attachment 27421
Notice that there is a post I broke off on the last picture right where the soldered remnant circle is. I'm gonna have a sax shop re-solder the post back on because there are two others right next to it I'm worried would fall off if I tried with my propane torch. Also, the screw you can see there is stuck in the sax HARD. But, I can slip the mechanism off just having the screw off the other side obviously. Also, the g# key screw was seized hard so that key is still on the horn. I'm thinking ill just leave it and clean around it... i can still do a full repad. Also, a small mechanism at the top that transfers the octave key from the hole on the neck to the one on the body is getting left on the horn for the same reason, stuck hard screw. I'm going to replace some cork with sheet cork pieces I'll cut out and glue on with gel super-glue. Gonna shine it up with a good silver product, not sure what yet.

Also, is there anyplace I could get the rolled tone hole edges to add to this horn? I noticed that my 1920 has them but this doesn't. If I can find some I will solder/epoxy them on but I doubt I will find them. Anyways I have never ever done this before... I'm just a mechanical engineering major and car restoration fanatic so I have a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together. I may be in over my head, but I am confident I can put it back together. Need to replace one broken spring but I think I can handle that. Anyways, Please post your thoughts on my process here.
 

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I just wanted to say I think it is neat you tackled this. People get too afraid to do stuff these days, and it shouldn't be that way. This should be an excellent learning experience. Keep us posted.
Also, welcome to the forum!
 

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Hey Starsax thankyou, I am always glad to join a forum! I will keep you posted on the progress, there are a few thoughts running through my head though...
One: I broke that support post off and it needs to be reattached. Thoughts on this include 1.) solder it myself .... ACK! 2.) J.B. Weld Cold weld epoxy compound... oooooh! 3.) Have a tech solder it on.... $$$!
Two: There is one broken spring on the lower stack and some other springs have surface corrosion on them. Thoughts on this are 1.) Replace the broken spring and just clean up the others a little bit, and carefully polish the horn with them all on.... ok. 2.) Have a tech replace all of the springs.... $$$! How much might this be?
Three: In replacing the pads I am considering regular hot glue... and the Aquilasax C-Melody pad set for Conns with the metal resonators (its only $35). So assuming I get the pad cups cleaned out nicely... I just melt some hot glue into the cup with a regular hot glue gun? Then put the pad in? Then to seat the pad once the horn is reassembled I heat the back of the cup with a small torch and squeeze the key down? I have lots of questions about this point....
Also, what does "leveling" tone holes entail/mean. A flat file :O ?
I really dont want to take this to a tech and spend $ but I want a quality restoration. If I can manage to get all new pads in, reassembled with new corks and polished then I will pay for the tech to set it up with their shop leak light though... that shouldn't be too bad. Any advice from anyone is incredibly helpful...

Four: Take a look at this picture:
View attachment 27422
The two things circled from left to right are the G# key, and the mechanism that switches the octave hole from the neck to the body when you depress the octave key and the G key. The rod screw on both of these seems to be fused to the key... the threads are turning fine. I mean that the rod screw turns with the key. I had some fussy rod screws and PB Blaster took care of those but nothing seems to work on these other ones. I have two options 1.) Leave them on the horn. It will be easy enough to polish around them with everything else off and to polish them while mounted. 2.) Try to get them off to do a professional job.

Also as a final thought... would anyone here be too offended if I have custom engraving done/ or do it myself (I have a dremel with lots of tips) to the front bell of this horn. It just has a plain "made by C G Conn Elkhart Ind." on the front right now, and my 1920 straight neck Conn has elaborate stuff on it. Or can this even be done since it is already silver plated?
 

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Danny,

Welcome to the forum. Check out the search function, you'll find there is a wealth of information here (particularly in this area of the forum) that will help you, including most of the questions you are asking.

Good luck!
 

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There was a very informative and active thread about tone-hole leveling being passed around recently. If you go to the repair forum it should be somewhere near the top.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: I got the G# key off and the transfer mechanism that are circled in red above. Now it is truly just a body with springs. Guys this horn has absolutely ZERO dents! I don't even know if I'll have to level the tone holes... I need something disclike and perfectly flat to officially check them.... Will regular silver polish work for the silver plating on this Conn?
 

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Hi.

Good going so far. But it sounds like you are having far too much fun...you gotta pull your hair out, even just a little (!)

First off...rolled tone holes...hooey. The horn doesn't have 'em. That's fine...and no, you cannot just add 'em.

Any soldering which needs doing should be done by a pro tech. Maybe when you get to horn #20, you can do some post soldering...but not horn #1. Be sure to bring the keys and rods, too, because a tech cannot properly align and resolder a post without them.

Getting out buggered screws and rods: do a search for PT Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Or, as you say, just leave 'em if you can slip the keys on and off with one end seized.

Also, have the tech check the tonehole levels and perhaps have him/her level them. Again, on horn #12 you can give it a shot, but for horn #1 stick to padding, corking, felting, and lubing.

The best way to clean a silverplate body is to sonically clean it...again, perhaps the tech (?) But if you don't wanna spend that $, you can do a chem-bath with warm water and vinegar (to this I add a couple of tablespoons of Barkeepers Friend and dissolve it well). Let the body bathe a good 15 minutes. Rinse in the shower and then was with dish soap (I use a biodegradable mild soap). Dry with a cloth and blast the post holes with a hairdryer or canned air to make sure you get the water out.

Then polish with Hagerty 100 silver polish and a microfibre cloth.

Keep it up...decent start, so far !
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good going so far. But it sounds like you are having far too much fun...you gotta pull your hair out, even just a little (!)
Awww man...
Any soldering which needs doing should be done by a pro tech. Maybe when you get to horn #20, you can do some post soldering...but not horn #1. Be sure to bring the keys and rods, too, because a tech cannot properly align and resolder a post without them.
What about my friend JB Weld. This post that came off simply supports a key from underneath with no rod screw but rather the two screws with a conical end on either side. It has nothing that screws into it at all it just keeps it from bending in towards the horn body. If I could get away from it I would rather even save the money of having the tech solder it on and do that it would probably work.

Getting out buggered screws and rods: do a search for PT Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Or, as you say, just leave 'em if you can slip the keys on and off with one end seized.
Ive gotten all the rods and screws out and loose now, I used PB Blaster it works great.

Also, have the tech check the tonehole levels and perhaps have him/her level them. Again, on horn #12 you can give it a shot, but for horn #1 stick to padding, corking, felting, and lubing.
This is what I would pay the tech to do I think... and to replace the one broken spring.

The best way to clean a silverplate body is to sonically clean it...again, perhaps the tech (?) But if you don't wanna spend that $, you can do a chem-bath with warm water and vinegar (to this I add a couple of tablespoons of Barkeepers Friend and dissolve it well). Let the body bathe a good 15 minutes. Rinse in the shower and then was with dish soap (I use a biodegradable mild soap). Dry with a cloth and blast the post holes with a hairdryer or canned air to make sure you get the water out.

Then polish with Hagerty 100 silver polish and a microfibre cloth.

Keep it up...decent start, so far !
So what just get a tub or 5 gallon bucket and fill it with warm water+vinegar+Barkeeper friend(What the heck is that)? And just immerse the whole body, springs and all? Then go take a shower with my sax body? :lol: That sounds ridiculous to me but thats why I am here... I will trust you as a distinguished member of SOTW. I have a huge air compressor as well because I restore muscle cars (Thats why I had PB Blaster lying around) so I will use that to blow dry the sax body. Then polish and then take it to the tech for tone hole leveling/ spring replacement?
 

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1. I wouldn't consider it an issue that it doesn't have rolled tone holes. Some models do and some don't. In fact I prefer non-rolled tone holes for various reasons. The rolls on these older models are usually rolled i.e. the tone hole wall was actually rolled over itself. You can't do it on a non-rolled tone hole model beause the walls are too short and anyway you'd need special tools/machines that only the factories have usually.

You might be able to install rings like Keilweth saxophones have but there are a lot of issues if doing this, starting with getting rings in the right sizes (most likely have to make or have them made specifically), have them level, have them level after installation, etc.

If I were you I'd forget about it! Even more because it seems from the rest of your posts that saving $ is a significant consideration.

2. I recommend not gluing the post. To be honest, it probably would work and if you're very careful with the sax it might even be permanent... but IMO it's really much better to solder it.

It's probably possible to solder it back on without anything happening to the other posts by just being careful but it might require more expenrience. You can use something like iron or steel wire to grip them to the body while doing it. You also need to solder it back correctly for the key, so most likely you can't just see where it was and simply solder it in the same place.

3. Obviously you need to replace the broken spring. If the broken part is still in the post, it might be tricky to remove this form the post. Special tools help, though you can use other methods too. How to do it depends how much the broken spring sticks out. Have to be careful not to make a mess and not to remove the post while doing it.

You don't have to replace all the springs. You might want to, but often it's not necessary even if they don't look good anymore. Some springs can look awful and last a very long time.

4. The way you describe replacing the pads is a good idea but it is a more complicated issue. Heat melting glue would work. Repairers often use shellac. There are several methods repairers use to level the pad over tone holes. It's not really important when you heat the key, but it's important that at some point the key is hot enough so the glue glues reliably to it. If you melt heat melting glue to a cold key cup it won't stick very reliably to it at all.

If you glue the pad with enough glue to "float" the pad, then heat the key and then close the key, most chances it won't be a good seal at that point. This is mainly (but not only) because the force to the key is uneven at the front and back of the key (and sometimes sides also), so while the glue is soft the pad has more force pushing at the front (where there's a bigger lever) and the result is, after the glue dries, the pad closing firmer at the back.

There are ways to get the pad to seal right, including using tools (e.g. pad irons) to manouver the pad, pushing and pulling parts of the pads, etc. There are also other methods (which most of th time I prefer to use) which don't rely on manipulating the pad (often also using only the necessary amount of glue to reliably fill the entire back as opposed to floating).

5. Leveling the tone holes means making the tops of the tone holes flat. No one can say without seeing, but generally saxophones like this one, unless already leveled by a repairer before, usually have pretty non-level tone holes. It can be done by tapping high spots down or pushing low spots up (generally the short wall sides) and also filing the tops level. You can use a regular flat file but that usually results is less than optimal results and also a rough surface.

A better method is a round file turning over the tone hole where the force come from above. This means the force is the same all around the rim. I use the diamond sanders sold by Music Medic and the hardened steel round files from Boehm Tools (the latter are far more expensive and leave a smoother finish). You can make round "files" even from brass or plastic rod and glue sand paper on it. It helps a lot if there's a guide that is inside the tone hole that keeps the files centered. If you make one-piece "files" with guides you might need to make a lot of them. Either way you'd probably get decent results comapred with a regular file (but good chance not as good as a true round file).

IMO another very important step after filing level is deburring the inner and outer edges of the rim. This removes the sharp edge (which can catch the pad or even cut it) and makes a thinner rim (which is better for sealing with lighter touch). For the inside you can use a regular deburring tool. This tool doesn't work on the outside so maybe best to use various grades of fingernail files or some rigid tools with different grades of sand papers glued to them. I use a micromotor for both inside and out as I found this is fastest and also makes the best finish.

6. Re the idea to do everything yourself and then have a repairer set it up, this might work but depending on the work you did could also be a problem. If the preparation and "foundation" of the pads is problematic, it might actually be cheaper to re-do to get to good condition then set up in that condition, which might not be possible to get to the same accurate condition at all. I'd consider letting a good repairer do parts you are not sure about (like maybe leveling the tone holes).

7. I know you already got those keys out but in general, cycles of penetrating oil, heat, solvent, repeatedly, help a lot to remove screws like these. It can take some time. Also very important is a really good screwdriver. I use a special set just for these problematic ones and I sharpened and shaped the tips specifically for that.

8. I can't imagine anyone being offended by you having the saxophone engraved (unless they have some psychological issues with changes done to instruments belonging to other people). I wouldn't do it myself, especially not with a dremel. I wouldn't even do it with my micromotor which is about a million times more precise than a dremel. You can make a mess which you can't hide later... if you don't accidently make a hole through the body!

9. Just one addition/change to/from what JayeSF wrote, I'd wash the sax after the polishing, tone hole leveling, etc. Basically after anything that can leave something messy on it (like polish). I'd also double make sure the posts are dry before putting screws back (e.g. use a torch or hot air gun to dry them, or just wait enough time).

I wash saxophones in a big plastic tub that I put inside my normal bathtub. Dish soap should work fine. Brushes for inside and out. Also you might want to put key oil (not penetrating oil) in the connection of the springs and post, for a bit more protection against water wicking in there.

Good luck.
 

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Danny - did try and PM you, but seems you aren't accepting messages, so I'll have to apologise in public.

Sorry about your bad experience on the csax.net forum, I'm afraid it has fallen into dis-use of late, so much so that I've decided to close it down and redirect visitors there to the C-Melody section here on saxontheweb - where I often post as 'cmelodysax'.

Very fair comment about "hearing the crickets"... Ouch :cry: . The main csax.net website will always be available as an information resource for C enthusiasts, and hopefully the blog part may burst into life again, as time permits.

Good Luck with the restoration, and may your enthusiasm thrive ! :bluewink:

Kind Regards, Alan (csax.net)
 

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Welcome to the DIY restoration club Danny! It will open up a whole new world for you as it has for me.

Cheers.
 

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Sorry to hear about your site, cmelodysax.....I am sure you put a lot of effort into it.

Danny...I dunno about the 'distinguished' label I have been beknighted with (some folks would beg to differ)....BUT...
NO JB Weld or any of those cold-set putty sorta fixes on a sax, please. That stuff will NOT hold up on post or a guard foot, or anything sax-related, really....it might initially...but it won't be long....

....take it from a guy who has had to scrape off enuff of that crap from old horns.....

There is no substitute for brazing (really the correct term as opposed to 'soldering'). And at this stage in your...career...what with the key alignments and such, just have the tech do it. If the keys are already off, it won't cost much.

Clarinbass then covers the rest of it. Assuming you get the brazing and tonehole leveling and spring replacement done at the tech, your big job is gonna be repadding/felting/corking.

So, decide on the method you wanna use. I personally suggest shellac as opposed to glue. And I personally suggest shimming as opposed to 'pad pricking'. And I personally suggest you do NOT use Precision Pads on your very first repad job. They are good pads and the choice of a number of pro techs...but they are too unforgiving for a first- (or second- or tenth-) timer.

Personally (and I do not mean this as a dis' to Musicmedic at all, because they offer a great service and sell good stuff)...Ferree's shellacs are more workable than MM's, and the pads which Shopforband.com sells are more forgiving to install and seat that MM's.
Again, before someone jumps down my throat...this isn't to say they are better quality pads...it is to say that they are a good choice when one has to balance a decent quality with relative ease/workability of installation. Which is precisely what an inexperienced repadder needs to be doing, lest they either end up with a leaky job, or drive themselves insane.....
 

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So what just get a tub or 5 gallon bucket and fill it with warm water+vinegar+Barkeeper friend(What the heck is that)? And just immerse the whole body, springs and all? Then go take a shower with my sax body? :lol: That sounds ridiculous to me but thats why I am here... I will trust you as a distinguished member of SOTW. I have a huge air compressor as well because I restore muscle cars (Thats why I had PB Blaster lying around) so I will use that to blow dry the sax body. Then polish and then take it to the tech for tone hole leveling/ spring replacement?
You need a container that will fit the body into it. You can use a big bucket or a bathtub....I have an old-school, single-basin kitchen sink so a C-Mel fits in there fine.

Warm water...just a tad to the warm side of 'lukewarm'....and add about 1/4 cup white vinegar per 5 gallons...then a few tablespoons of Barkeeper's Friend (it looks like a cleanser, so you have to swish it around in the water a lot and it will dissolve into a cloudy white). Around here you can get it at the supermarket or hardware store....I have heard it also comes in a paste, in which case you'd need to dissolve the paste in a similar fashion.

....yes, springs on, and all.

After the bath...yes, honestly, the best way to rinse off the residue is to take a shower with the body...again, not HOT water...

Then get a sponge and the dishsoap and slather it, getting everywhere. You can use a padsaver with soap on it to go down the body tube interior. Rinse in the shower again, then dry. The air compressor is mainly so no water sits in the thread tappings when you put back on the screws and such.

It gets a bit messy and wet, but it isn't difficult. (This will be the stage where you start poking the sh#t out of yourself on the springs....so have fun ! And make sure no young ones are around to hear you cussing up a storm...
I always keep a bottle of booze close nearby to flush out the punctures.....)

Have the tech do his work on it before the final Haggerty polish application....and (obviously) do the Haggerty before you start installing the pads into the keycups.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Alan: Sorry, that was harsh about your site, because it was nice back when I first joined. I was able to get some good information and meet some of the c melody crowd. I had just hoped my post with all those pictures would have genarated a response... but I think that directing traffic here will be a good move for a while... everyone here just loves saxophones! I have the rising feeling that C Melodys will soon see a revival here as the surge of 20's ones surpass being 100 years old. It seems many players are finding that it is a secret way to have a tenor without having to transpose! And many people at my university who study and play saxophone are fascinated by my 1920 Conn Straight neck when I show it to them and they hear it! The need for csax.net will arise I am sure.
And thankyou, my enthusiasm grows more and more as I take lessons on my 20 C- Melody with a good friend as well as each show that I play at. I can't wait until this 1919 is ready that way I can share the wear and tear between two old Conn's!
Glad to hear from the Champion of the C Melody,
Danny

To everyone else: Thankyou this is exactly the advice I need... I am a total DIY personality but I have decided to have the tech solder the post, replace the spring, and level the toneholes as you all suggest. I was also wondering as opposed to the chem bath... what about haggerty silver dip followed by the rinse in the shower and air drying? It says its for silver and silverplate items...
 

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Good choices.

Advice on silver: start off with a chem bath, then hand polish with Hagerty's spray polish and polish cloth (see if you can buy some from your tech, he probably has the shop roll from Allied and can tear you off a few feet of it), then wash with soap and water and pat dry with paper towels and finish drying it with a hair dryer (I use an air compressor, if you happen to have one of those, use that- but it needs to be a big 'un). If you just let it air dry you'll get water spots on your freshly polished finish. If you want that finish to remain as beautiful as it can while you work on it, wear nitrile gloves.

Biggest pain is going to be holding the horn while polishing it. I use the Votaw polishing fixture.
 

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Being a decades long member of the DIY association I wish you well and assert that, with time and care you can do it and do it well. There are a lot of people who are far more qualified to give you technical advice and guidance than I so I won't offer any at the moment. That said- having "been there, done that" the most essential skill for a DIY'er is patience; it will make up for an awful lot of professional expertise, (not all, but a lot...). When you've tried to get whatever it might be to come out right ninety nine times and it's still buggered up- don't get mad and blow by it; take a deep breath, think things through, and then start iteration number one hundred. And if you come to a point on some individual issue where you just can't do it right- and that may well be equipment driven- bite the bullet and get that single point done right by someone who knows how and has the tools- when you get it back study what was done and perhaps add it to your newly acquired repertoire for the next time if possible.

Good luck- and watch the needle springs when you're cleaning!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What about Hagerty's Silver Dip? It says its for silver and silverplate items. My thinking was chem bath, rinse... silver dip, rinse... and soap washing then rinse, then dry with my 35 Gallon Air compressor, then hand polish with Hagerty Silver polish
 

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That will definitely work, but if my memory serves right the silver dip is going to be expensive to get enough to submerge (and therefore evenly treat) a whole sax body.

You will want to wash the horn off after polishing- the "protective coat" the polish/polishing cloth leaves has a tendency turn brown under a padding torch. You can always use silver cloth after padwork to remove fingerprints and any tarnish that has started to form since you began work.
 
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