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For various reasons, I am often confronted with putting the thin pads I stock on a horn that has been setup with thick pads from the factory. I'm doing an overhaul right now with Roopads (customer request) that was originally set up with thick, soft pads.

It's generally a compromise between bending the cup angle 'up', shimming, and thicker shellac bed, but I would prefer to just bend all the keys and do a normal install for the best result and highest maintainability going forward.

I have an 'ad hoc' set of tools that allows me to bend the keys up. I'm well set to do side-to-side centering and flattening, and can bend down easily (using pad slick on back of tonehole for support), and key-foot bending and have been fine with that, but have always struggled with bending the cup 'up' (away from the horn) to accommodate thinner pads.

Any tips or words of wisdom from the guru set?
 

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What you need is tool set #F27 "sax key bending levers" found on page 75 of the Ferrees catalog. They hook under the hinge tube while straddling the key rib and make it very easy to adjust the angle of the cups. I routinely install
.165" roo pads and these do the trick. My customers like the firmer feel of the thinner pads, the actual key opening can be more open without opening the resting hand position, and I think the pad is more stable with more pad cup skirt supporting the sides.
For the times when you need to bring the outside of the cup down, I would recommend the #T1773 found on page 47 of the Allied catalog. This avoids placing unnecessary pressure (and potential distortion) of the tonehole by the pad slick.
The combination of these two tools allows one to level the pads with precision, eliminating the need for shims or excessive shellac.
 

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I agree with Jeff (hornimprovement) with one addendum: sometimes the procedure will cause the key to bind, so have your lapping compound ready. Ok, two addendums: you may also have to remove springs to get the bending tool in there properly.
 

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shmuelyosef said:
...highest maintainability going forward.
I like that. It is a high priority for me.

However for certain models of sax, usually with very short key cup arms, realigning key cups for significantly thinner pads is not viable.

hornimprovement said:
What you need is tool set #F27 "sax key bending levers" found on page 75 of the Ferrees catalogue. They hook under the hinge tube while straddling the key rib and make it very easy to adjust the angle of the cups..
Interesting. I found that set so useless in so many situations, that I have now used most of them as stock metal, to make other tools. They just did not fit over and under the places they needed to, on many sax models.

Likewise Ferrees E1 Hook Nose Key Lever Pliers. However I carved away some of the offending metal, and now they are a very useful, versatile tool, but mainly for right hand stack keys. (If you want to go down this road, I could email you photos of the modified shape)

As well as this tool, I use a polycarbonate rod as a punch, in conjunction with a small rawhide hammer, on the rib at the back of the key cup. Marius Kowalski (in Canada), among other worthy woodwind key bending tools, sells a sliding-weight-on-a-punch affair which does a similar job, but I imagine this sort of impact would offer less control than my one, which is far cheaper!

On small key cups, I use a different tool which I laboriously adapted form a pair of pliers.
 

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I agree with Schmuelyosef. Getting the key to bend up is difficult, at least for me.

At the same time bending the keys up would eliminate the need for filler, allow thinner faster pads and also allow- as horn improvement points out, the setting of the keys closer to the tone hole.

Thorp in the Manual of Woodwind Repair uses a hard wood dowel applied to the key arm and hit with a raw hide hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
zagzig said:
Thorp in the Manual of Woodwind Repair uses a hard wood dowel applied to the key arm and hit with a raw hide hammer.
This is what I used to do, but the last few years I have gotten more anal about flat toneholes and on a couple occasions, the tap caused the hole to deform and cost time and effort additional, so I am looking for a better way.
 

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zagzig said:
I agree with Schmuelyosef. Getting the key to bend up is difficult, at least for me...
On some instruments, key cup alignment was poor at factory, or needs to be adjusted significantly after tone hole levelling (think Conn 10M - or was that 20M? :evil:), AND the key cup arms are simply too strong to carry this out. In these cases I sometimes find it time-economical to reduce metal from under the key cup arm so that it will bend more easily. I use my trusty dental lab micromotor, with a 'large' tungsten carbide burr. If the key is off the instrument it only takes a few seconds.

"Thorp in the Manual of Woodwind Repair uses a hard wood dowel applied to the key arm and hit with a raw hide hammer"

It also helps to use packing support of the non-hinge side of the pad or cup (or even resonator) away from the tone hole.
 
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