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My precious 1958 Buffet SDA alto has been needing pads for 10 years. I finally got around to installing Roo pads on the upper stack this week and discovered that the factory used no glue - the screw-in reso is all that holds the pads. I successfully installed the left hand keys and got them to seal very well by slightly bending the keys. It helps that they were near perfect prior to the new pads. But I suspect they will move as they conform to their new home.

I'm really wondering if I should bother putting a slight touch of shellac to hold them in place? I can't imagine they won't move, and glue gives me options for getting pads in position that I don't have without it.

Those that have re-padded these horns, what do you suggest?
 

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Is the inside of the key cup at all concave?
If so, filling that gap with shellac will make the sealing area of the pad a lot more stable.
 

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While not a Buffet, I used liquid shellac for the same purpose with my Buescher's snaps. The stuff they sell as Micro pad cement is the same goo as Indian Gasket Sealer. My reasoning was that the long set up time was going to work to my advantage as the pads settled in.
 

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I would do those the same way I do Buescher snap-on's. I level the pad on a thin bed of shellac first like any other pad and then add the reso afterward. Then I recheck and do any "tweaks" that are necessary. At a NAPBIRT saxophone workshop conducted by Jeff Peterson he said that he makes his own "liquid shellac" and paints the outer circumference of the pad using that and then fills in the center area with regular melted shellac. The idea was to get shellac as close to the edge as possible without having it ooze out the sides. When installing a pad he heats the keycup and pushes the pad down into the cup as far as possible using the handle of a hammer which would cause a thicker amount of shellac around the circumference to ooze out. I gave his method a good try for a few weeks after the clinic and came to the conclusion I preferred the method I was used to using.

When I worked in the repair shop of a music store one of the woodwind techs I worked with put a generous amount of shellac on the back of each pad and then heated the key and pressed the pad hard into the keycup to deliberately force the shellac to ooze out all the way around. When it cooled he removed as much shellac as he could using his fingernail. The idea was to prevent moisture from entering at the sides of the pad and possibly getting to the cardboard on the back. It was the way he was trained to do it and he also was taught to never use a leak light, only a feeler gauge. His work was excellent but I never liked the look of the pads he installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the ideas.

I was thinking I might try this: heat up the key cup and rub the cold shellac stick on it to get a thin film, mostly around the area the pad perimeter would touch. Let it cool, then insert the pad and screw the reso down. If it worked well, like the factory pads, I'm done except maybe some minor key cup alignment tweaks like before. If not, or things change over time, I could heat key cup to activate the glue and maybe get a little help that way. I could also go ahead and heat the key cup to activate the thin film of glue to help hold it place later after the pad had settled in.
 

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I would do those the same way I do Buescher snap-on's. I level the pad on a thin bed of shellac first like any other pad and then add the reso afterward.
John, maybe I'm daft (wouldn't be the first time!), but after you apply the thin bed of shellac and then add the reso afterward, how does the chimney of the reso fit through the shellac? Do you drill it out or what?! Or perhaps you don't apply the shellac at the very center of the pad.
 

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John, maybe I'm daft (wouldn't be the first time!), but after you apply the thin bed of shellac and then add the reso afterward, how does the chimney of the reso fit through the shellac? Do you drill it out or what?! Or perhaps you don't apply the shellac at the very center of the pad.
Right. I avoid putting shellac close to the hole in the pad. Even if a bit strays into where the snap attaches, when the shellac is heated there is enough "give" to allow the two to go together. In fact, when the snap on is a bit loose and wants to "spin", a bit of shellac in the contact area can be a good thing. :)
 

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Right. I avoid putting shellac close to the hole in the pad. Even if a bit strays into where the snap attaches, when the shellac is heated there is enough "give" to allow the two to go together. In fact, when the snap on is a bit loose and wants to "spin", a bit of shellac in the contact area can be a good thing. :)
That's what I figured, but wasn't sure! Thank you sir!
 

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While not a Buffet, I used liquid shellac for the same purpose with my Buescher's snaps. The stuff they sell as Micro pad cement is the same goo as Indian Gasket Sealer. My reasoning was that the long set up time was going to work to my advantage as the pads settled in.
If you have a material behind a pad that is liquid in nature, such as partially "set" liquid shellac, and close the pad on the tone hole, the result is almost always that the pad closes and seals more securely at the "back" than at the "front". That is to do with the way the key hinges from the side.
What we want is for a pad to close and seal securely all the way round.

I guess there are many other technicians who like me, use this phenomenon very carefully!) to adjust when a pad closes more firmly at the front.
You could overcome this phenomenon by placing thin ring of cardboard (or metal) between the pad and tone hole.
The trouble is that the appropriate thickness would depend on several parameters: tone hole diameter, distance of tone hole from the hinge axis, and displacement of the plane of the surface of the pad from the axis of the hinge. This tends to differ widely between keys and between sax models.
 

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If you have a material behind a pad that is liquid in nature, such as partially "set" liquid shellac. .....snip....
A few things
1. Liquid shellac does set up particularly if not used in a thick glob some techs prefer. Hardening can be hastened with heat.
2. I wasn't concerned about all of the pad leveling you discuss as the alignment of the keys was just fine with the pad held flat by the snap in reso in a dry fit. My main concern was to prevent the pad from spinning.
3. Both the Buescher and Buffet were designed to work without shellac or glue. I understand the same is true for Conn reso-ring pads.
 

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Set-up as-per-design is not always the best set-up.
For stability, if the inside of the pad cup is at all concave in nature then something should be done to avoid air pockets behind the sealing circle.
Otherwise why bother adjusting a sax pad to meet a tone hole with an accuracy approaching 0.01mm. It is like adjusting the geometry of a jelly.

Off-hand I cannot recall if these keyt cups have a flat back or not.
 

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If I were ever to design a saxophone, I would make the cups float in some kind of ball bearing, rather than have the pads float in the cups (Buescher Snap On). With the current advances in manufacturing technology, the cost overhead should be minimal, let's say $20-50.- per horn and for a professional instrument, that's in the noise. The keys could be die-cast aluminum in that case or any other suitable material all the way to titanium (more eye candy than anything else). Arguably, the freedom of movement would need to be limited with conventional pads but there are other materials out there that are more "self-healing" than leather and felt backing. And no, I already have more patents than I care for but let it be known that this could be prior art in case somebody wants to hi-jack the idea.

I am sure Dr. G has some comments on the aluminum or titanium but those were only meant as examples and any feedback is welcome.
 

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Set-up as-per-design is not always the best set-up.
Off-hand I cannot recall if these keyt cups have a flat back or not.
1. I'm not arguing that and it's a position I wouldn't recommend you taking unless you want one.
2. To be as accurate as possible, I'd say very shallow rather than flat. Metal backing on the pad keeps the pad flatter than cardboard. Everyone recommends shellac when substituting for the originals. I haven't had to try my horn without metal backs.

Cheers
 

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I just had a nice barn find of a 1925 True Tone alto, pretty badly tarnished and a few dents but most of the pads are still in very good condition (original snap ons, metal backed) but a few need to be replaced. For the replacement pads, I just drilled out/punched out the original resonators and opened the hole to fit the snap on resos but my question is if there is any reason why I can't mix and match metal backed pads with cardboard backing.

Else, who still sells metal backed pads? I have not found anything online.

Thanks
 

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I just had a nice barn find of a 1925 True Tone alto, pretty badly tarnished and a few dents but most of the pads are still in very good condition (original snap ons, metal backed) but a few need to be replaced. For the replacement pads, I just drilled out/punched out the original resonators and opened the hole to fit the snap on resos but my question is if there is any reason why I can't mix and match metal backed pads with cardboard backing.

Else, who still sells metal backed pads? I have not found anything online.

Thanks
No practical reason. There may be "purists" who insist that everything be kept original, but a more pragmatic approach is to use pads that are currently available. I have repadded several of these vintage Bueschers and have had good success using white roo's with an oversized hole in the center to accommodate the snap and a thin layer of shellac. You can still buy metal backed pads from Ferree's Tools B60. In the repair shop where I used to work they had a set of these in stock. When I tried to use them on a Buescher I found they were too thick and hit in the back which would have required bending every key cup to make them work. Others have shared online that they work just fine, but that was my experience. The white roo's from Music Medic that I like to use and have good results with are .160". Some "purists" claim that the metal backs give the keys an added "weight" which improves the feel. I actually weighed a few and although I don't recall the exact weight, I remember it to be so light as to make any difference negligible, even imperceptible.
 

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No practical reason. There may be "purists" who insist that everything be kept original, but a more pragmatic approach is to use pads that are currently available. I have repadded several of these vintage Bueschers and have had good success using white roo's with an oversized hole in the center to accommodate the snap and a thin layer of shellac. You can still buy metal backed pads from Ferree's Tools B60. In the repair shop where I used to work they had a set of these in stock. When I tried to use them on a Buescher I found they were too thick and hit in the back which would have required bending every key cup to make them work. Others have shared online that they work just fine, but that was my experience. The white roo's from Music Medic that I like to use and have good results with are .160". Some "purists" claim that the metal backs give the keys an added "weight" which improves the feel. I actually weighed a few and although I don't recall the exact weight, I remember it to be so light as to make any difference negligible, even imperceptible.
Thank you, that's what I thought. It is a 38mm pad and the metal backing does not even register on my scale, so it is less than 1g. Like I mentioned, I already made a replacement pad so I'll work with it and since I order quite often from Ferree's, I'll buy one (or whatever needs to be replaced) with the next order. There was no glue at all in the cup, so I guess I'll just experiment a bit how it works without and if not, I can always add the shellac.

Thanks again!
 

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My experience with Ferrees metal backed Buescher pads is different. B60 sounds about right but not the part about too thick. The time my TH&C got new pads, it went back together with no key adjustment other than low C.

Perhaps the instruments saxo is working on have been previously professionally adjusted.
 

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My experience with Ferrees metal backed Buescher pads is different. B60 sounds about right but not the part about too thick. The time my TH&C got new pads, it went back together with no key adjustment other than low C.

Perhaps the instruments saxo is working on have been previously professionally adjusted.
Thanks, like I said, I'll see how those work that I already made from existing stock and with the next order from Ferree's I'll add the B60 pads. Probably overkill but it's a small price to pay.
 

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If I were ever to design a saxophone, I would make the cups float in some kind of ball bearing...
In my observation, a discerning player expects the transition between notes to be as brief and smooth as possible.
If there is a "universal joint" of any sort in the pad mounting, then it is to allow one part of the pad to close first, and then the rest to follow a little later when more finger pressure is applied. (And this is the situation permanently.)
That makes a muckier note transition. (Some players would not notice.)

Surely it's better to have the system, set up accurately such that the pad meets the entire tone hole at the same time.
Quality wool felt (and leather) have the remarkable property that they can accommodate small discrepancies permanently by permanently changing their shape.

(Certain foamed polymers do this reasonably well for pads that are normally closed, but not for ones that are normally, and that includes the stack keys, which are the most problematic ones.)
 

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As I recall this topic about Ferree's metal back Buescher type pads was hashed out several years ago with different members sharing completely different experiences. In Ferree's catalog it states that the B60 - .185" pads "mostly fit" post WWII saxes, for earlier models use the B58 - .160" pads. It is not clear whether they are referring to the thickness of the pads or the fact that the B60 metal back pads only come in certain sizes. In any event, I found these photos that I posted in the earlier thread showing my experience with the Ferree's metal back pads. The serial # of the True Tone in the photos is 213414 putting it somewhere between 1926 and 1927.











 
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