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There is a lot of repair experience on SOTW and all the techs I have met and talked to have their own little tricks and techniques that make life at the bench easier. I would like this thread to be a place to share some of the less complicated tips and ideas that repair techs use every day.

Mine is this: Stack 3 or 4 paper towels on top of one another then keep folding and cutting until you have a stack of 3" X 3" squares. These are exactly the right size for wiping key oil etc. and saves wasting a large paper towel for a small job.

John
 

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pipe cleaners can be one of the most useful tools for cleaning in awkward places and they can clean key posts, rods etc.
 

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SearjeantSax said:
pipe cleaners can be one of the most useful tools for cleaning in awkward places and they can clean key posts, rods etc.
Also, I use two diffferent types of pipe cleaners. Dill's makes a "bristle" version which is better for removing some of the built up crud inside the hinges, and of course the "standard" type.

--Sidepipes
 

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I cover the surface of my table with a cloth towel so as to see better my work and also so that pieces don't roll off the table.

Though I am not particularly tidy by nature, I do all I can to keep my work area orderly, so as to have a clearer idea of what I am doing.

I try to sit before my saxophones when the rest of our home is orderly as well.

I never touch my saxophones if I am not up to it for surely I will make an error.

I do what I can to order what I need in advance.

If I don't practice playing the sax, I loss interest in repair.

Repair demands my total attention and I try to do it as well as I can.
 

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For oiling the bore of wood clarinets and oboes I use a ram rod and swabs made for firearms.
I keep one in .22, 50 cal., 20 & 12ga. The fuzzy texture allows for a more controlled and even application of the oil. I use an old 'Shove-It' to remove any excess after 24 hours.
 

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jbtsax said:
Mine is this: Stack 3 or 4 paper towels on top of one another then keep folding and cutting until you have a stack of 3" X 3" squares. These are exactly the right size for wiping key oil etc. and saves wasting a large paper towel for a small job.
I think 3.002" works better and make sure you measure with a dial or digital caliper (a regular one is not accurate enough) :D OK really I just grab a paper towl and wipe. I can't imagine taking several and folding and cutting to square every time.... :)

Here is a great tip I learned recently from Gordon. When using super gloo to fill cracks and stuff like that, it will always be too much even if you get just one drop from the bottle. Take a piece of a paper that doesn't absorb, I used back of stickers. Then use something (I used a needle spring) to apply the glue to the clarinet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
clarnibass said:
I think 3.002" works better and make sure you measure with a dial or digital caliper (a regular one is not accurate enough) :D OK really I just grab a paper towl and wipe. I can't imagine taking several and folding and cutting to square every time.... :)
You are starting to sound more like Gordon all the time Nitai. :)

Actually it takes only about 30 seconds to cut a stack of about 60 paper squares which last for about a week.

John
 

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jbtsax said:
You are starting to sound more like Gordon all the time Nitai. :)
Actually our accents are completely different, didn't you notice? :D

OK just so I can say I tried it I cut a paper towel to approx. 3" square and honestly it is less comfortable than my usual and very sophisticated method, which is grabing one and squishing it in my hand :)
 

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Hi, I don't know if this should be here or not but here it goes:

1. For cork grease, instead of using the toxic petroleum based cr*p you find at your local music store, do the following:

Take an empty jar (which has a lid). Put some beeswax in it. Choose your favorite oil (olive or almond or...); pour some in the jar. Put the jar in a pot filled in with water. Heat the water. The beeswax will melt and blend with the oil. Stir a little bit. Let cool down (no refrigerator). That's it, you have a lifetime stash of cork grease! All natural, non toxic and won't destroy the cork. Doesn't smell bad even with olive oil (after getting used to it). If too thin, remelt the whole thing and put more beeswax. If too thick remelt the whole thing and pour more oil. I use organic beeswax and unfiltered organic olive oil. You can put some in a smaller container to keep in instrument case. Incidentally, works very well as chapstick for dried lips too! (beeswax's magic!)

2. I leave cigarette paper under some closed pads when instrument not in use (after letting the pad dry or drying it). Prevents from future stickiness. Well, I mostly do that on the octave pad of my oboe and G# pad of saxes and low C# of soprano sax. On all other closed pads when I'm not too lazy.

3. Put an old reed on mouthpiece when not in use. Protects the table very well! (good if you have several mouthpieces with you in your case).

4. Try to have all your brain before you attempt any repair on your instrument (no drug or alcohol).

Hope this helps. Maybe you're gonna ground me because it's all stupid?

Cheers,
-Qwerti
 

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Put a teabag (tuba players take two) into the instrument case. Prevents bad odours, acts as a moisture buffer. Years later, the tea from that bag will bring up countless memories...

Apply cork grease after disassembling the instrument (but before boxing it up, obviously).

Bottle corks make good dampers/shims/wedges - don't just throw them away.

Best long-time storage for a wood instrument is the socks drawer.

Heavily tarnished keys/touchpieces can be polished with dah Missus' four-way nail buffer. (Start and stop with the finest grain, work down as needed)
 

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jbtsax said:
You are starting to sound more like Gordon all the time Nitai. :)

Actually it takes only about 30 seconds to cut a stack of about 60 paper squares which last for about a week.

John
I'll take that as a compliment. Thanks. :)

I use toilet paper. I have no idea what USA calls that stuff. The cheapest and nastiest, 'hardest' type, 840 wipes per standard-size roll is ideal. Customers probably think it is rather odd, on its roll-holder in prime position on the wall behind my work bench, until they see it in action.

But you've given me an idea of band-sawing through a roll before use, to halve the width of the wipes.
 

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All-wool, dense, short-pile carpet under the work area. Little damage if a red hot part lands on it.

I chose one with approx 10 cm squares on it. Good for a grid search for dropped pivot screws. :)

Use a glass hypodermic syringe for key oil. I imported 5 ml Luer lock from from http://www.dynamedical.com/ I stock 3 ml for interested customers.
Heat-shrink tubing around a syringe makes it almost indestructible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Jerry, that is a very useful link.

Cutting the tip off an old snare drum stick 2.5 " long (not 2.502" Nitai) makes an excellent wooden handle for the needle spring "pig sticker" tool that is so useful to hold key corks and to perforate clarinet pads. You simply drill a tiny hole into the tip and superglue the size of needle you want into the end.

John
 

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Keep a small but strong magnet on the bench to hold set screws, springs, etc. It's also handy if you should drop those little buggers. A few passes and it picks them right up.
 

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JerryJamz2 said:
Is there a reason for using glass syringes? The thought of having glass anything around my bench makes me nervous. Here's what we use including their flexible teflon tips;

http://www.smallparts.com/products/descriptions/syr%2Ecfm
Yes. I've tried the type with the rubber seal. In my experience, oils gradually make the rubber go gooey and sticky, so that the user has little control.

The squishiness of the rubber also tends to draw air into the syringe after the oil is applied. Then, next time the ambient air temperature rises, that air expands and forces out drops of oil onto the workbench.

I also tried two-piece disposables, with nylon(?) seal molded as part of the plunger. I found I had far less control of expelling small drops with that type.

Glass has a very positive action. It is not dangerous. Like a drinking glass, if it breaks it breaks. I broke a few before suing the heat shrink. There are far more dangerous things on a work bench. Best not to drop that syringe through your foot though :)
 

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bandmommy said:
Keep a small but strong magnet on the bench to hold set screws, springs, etc. It's also handy if you should drop those little buggers. A few passes and it picks them right up.
I can't stand screws or tools that become magnetised. I lose control of making them do what I want them to do.

Tip: I de-magnetise such items by slowly passing them in and out inside the secondary coil (incorporating the element) of a soldering gun.
 
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