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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Repairmen, metalworking enthusiasts: what bending jig do you recommend for saxophone-related bending needs such as keyguards, braces, key arms, etc.? Is there one worth purchasing, finding used, or making?

The one from Allied seems to be little more than an angle iron with holes drilled in it. I'm looking for something that can do a little more. I'd like to be able to do sharp angles of varying degrees and controlled curves over longer distances like in a bottom bow guard or key arm.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

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For key arms, I cut a piece to shape.
For guards the problem is the sticky out bits so I use something purpose built and a big hammer.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oric Muso,

What do you use to cut a piece to shape? I am imagining a scroll saw for metal (do those exist?) with thick brass/bronze/whatever stock with a key arm shape stenciled on it.

To add a 3D bend, do you turn a mandrel on a lathe and then hammer it? Is this also what you do for a keyguard?
 

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If you saw my bass clarinet key making video, the keys had multiple bends in XY and Z directions. I did not use a bending jig for any of the bends. I used torch, key bending pliers, vise grips, metal cutting band saw, sander, files and my brain to make the parts. IMO being able to visualize the key and the order in which you need to do things is half the battle. Leaving the stock long in some parts as you progress through the build so you can use it as a lever and knowing when to drill holes before or after doing the bending is something that comes with experience and making some scrap metal. If I were making multiples of the same key I would fabricate a bending jig. For one offs, I don't think I'd bother.
 

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Have a few jigs, theres no one bending jig that does the lot, for cornet leadpipes I have my own custom made curved dolly's, for generic pipes and easy curves I have a hand operated bench mounted roller, I also have a hydraulic pipe bender but this is not musical related more for fabrication of equipment / hand rails / safety bars etc.. for straight bends on fllat plate I have a pan brake, for curved bends I have a english wheel, for tight compound bends I hasve a swage and jenny, for cutting I have a guillotine / scroll saw and large bandsaw to name but a few. As I said there is for me, no one tool that will do everything,
 

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I make jigs as required for the specific job. Usually from timber, using whatever is needed from a circular saw, metal lathe, drill press, band saw, linisher, and dental handpiece bits. Often it is a one-off item, because, for example, key guards are so different from each other.
 

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I think the concept of using a fixture or bending jig for mouthpipes or other brass tubing is a bit different than on keys. Tubing obviously is hollow and needs support as it is being bent. I make bending jigs for mouthpipes out of wood. Usually with a trough routed into the edge to support the radius of the tubing as it is bent.

Making keyguards out of sheet goods can be done in a variety of ways. I made a Selmer type guard for a bari sax one time where I fabricated a top with the hole for the bumper adjusting screw, then I made the three legs by cutting out the part bending it in an arc and silver soldering the side to the top. I could do a similar guard by using a spinning method. If I were making lots of them, I'd go buy that punch press I've always wanted :)
 

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I've been using a small bending brake for a lot of my bending needs. I bought it at Harbor Freight about 10 years ago.
To bend what part or parts of an instrument? Are you talking about the small sheet metal brakes, or one of their small manual press type brakes?
 

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I would say hes talking about sheet metal parts, I have a small pan brake which I made myself and I use it for neat corner bends..so Im guessing he uses his for the same, Then if I need to I use the hydraulic press to press shapes (Did I mention I made my own pan brake..)
 
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