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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Discussion Starter #1
I've done my own neck cork a few times over the years but usually had the shop do it. Now, with five saxes in use, I have been forced to 'get real' and do it myself. The first thing I did was pick up a bottle of 'Weldwood' contact cement and a pack of single-edge razor blades. I already had a good supply of cork that I keep in a cigar humidor with humidifying packs - this keeps it supple so it doesn't crack when wrapped around a neck. I already had emery cloth that I cut into varying width strips. I also have a vise that I use to hold the wood dowel for stabilizing the neck while sanding in the 'shoeshine' motion.
The most common error I have made is sanding off too much cork initially but its simple to just do it over.
Something I discovered is 'Goof-Off' or 'Oops' spray cleaner dissolves contact cement and does not affect lacquer. In my view, I want to do no damage to the neck AT ALL, so I will use the 'Goof-Off' along with my finger nails to gently remove the old cork and clean the residue from the old cement. I haven't tried the 'Goof-Off' on shellac residue but alcohol is the solvent for that anyway. I never use anything metallic to scrape the neck and I will not sand it or do anything else that could possibly remove any brass. On the MK VI tenor neck I did yesterday, I did have to use some #0000 steel wool to polish under the old cork because corrosion had set in. This area had been brutalized by 'techs' many times before and is quite scarred and thin as a result (the sax was already 25 years old when I got it), and the neck is of course unlacquered from the reinforcing ring for about 2", so the steel wool didn't remove any lacquer and the light polishing did not remove significant brass.
I don't mind paying to have this done, but its a question of time and quality rather than money - at this point I trust myself to get a usable cork on any neck, including my Sterling silver ones, without removing the slightest bit of lacquer or causing any other harm. I obviously tape the neck behind the cork to protect it during the sanding/fitting phase.
 

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A couple of tech tips:

Directing the small flame from a butane torch into the end of the neck to heat the metal makes most old corks come off with ease. I like to use regular pliers with serrated edges on the open setting to carefully remove the cork after the heated adhesive releases. If there is any adhesive left, I hand rag using a bit of naptha on a cloth strip.

To hold the neck I use a bench peg supporting the front end of the neck with my stomach pushing against the back. Here is where you and I disagree. I scuff the surface using 320 emery cloth before applying the contact cement. 1) It adheres better than on a smooth surface, 2) nobody ever sees whats under the cork. I like to bevel one end of the cork and overlap. "Butting" the ends looks good, but there is more chance of a leak through the seam IMO. I too sand by "ragging". North, south, east, west doing more passes the farther up the cork I go since the neck widens.

A trick I learned from my mentor is to do a final sand using 1000 grit followed by adding melted paraffin wax. Then cork grease is added on top of that and a mouthpiece cut in half is carefully inserted all the way to the end. The back of that short mouthpiece is then used to cut the back end of the cork perfectly even. My method takes more time but it produces a professional looking cork that lasts a long time.

For you Gordon. Is that better?
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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Gosh that's
hard to read
with no
paragraphing.
Without a
lot of
effort
my eyes
cannot
follow where
the next
line starts.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
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7,455 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Tough.
 
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