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Discussion Starter #1
Naturally it's easier to reduce a saxophone pad in diameter than to make it larger.

Here Quinn the Eskimo people show how they go about reducing the sax pad for custom fit. Please share - how you've done it before (if ever) and was your proceudre any different?

https://www.brassandwinds.com/blogs/news/repair-solutions-pad-modification

Why? - Simple. I've got a number of unused pads from unrealized past projects that according to my estimates can cover about 3 saxophones. I'm not limited in time. Otherwise I'll have to waste those pads or maybe sell them at bargain price which is also a waste of money. Again - "waste" of time is not a problem for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nope, i just keep sheet stock on hand and make my own for those odd sizes when required
Take a moment please to describe your procedure of making pads if possible.

I'm interested in sizing the cardboard backing and felt. I remember Saxoclese recently mentioned that felt should be of a smaller diameter as far as I remember (and I can be wrong).
How do you wrap the leather around the cardboard backing? Do you wet the leather prior to glueing to the backing?
What glue do you use for glueing the leather on?

There is a video on YT that starts with a famous Dutch tech making a pad from scratch but he apparently makes one of those "GDR-type" Weltklang pads with a metal ring around the circumference of the pad instead of the cardboard backing. Here:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
You need an assembly die of the size pad you are making. If i have to make a 55mm pad then i cut a 54mm felt piece an a 53 cardboard disc,i use craft spray adhesive
"Assembly die" - that's what I thought I needed of course but I see people manage to get away without them. Skill?
As far as I understand the assembly die is pirmarily used to hold the leather tight during the pad assembly and of course it makes everything neat and aligned.

I see where your felt and carboard sizing comes from and it makes sense. Is that because the pad cup walls open up the farther they are from the pad cup bottom plane? Even if they look perpendicular to the cup base there is a rounded transition point and the cardboard need not be as tight at the cup bottom as the pad's softer part that seals the gap at the cup edges. OK, something like that, you surely get what I mean.

Craft spray - what is it? We don't have this stuff in general stores. Will PVA glue work instead? I'm sure almost any glue will work but it should not soften too much at the shellac melting temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Please also tell me where you get the materials?

- Pad leather - I don't see it sold anywhere; will some general purpose leather work instead? For instance, gloves leather? However where to get it also?
- Felt... Is that woolen felt? I see everywhere only synthetic felt is sold. Where to get the real one? Will synthetic felt work?
- Dense cardboard for backing - where to get it from?
 

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Pisoni sells pads with 0,5 mm steps in diameter.
It's much more time saving buying a pad of the right size... if it becomes often to deal with odd size cups.
 

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That's too easy for me. I need some challenge. ;)
Why ? You will end up with substandard pads and will have gone to a lot of effort, time, and some $.... to have gotten there.

The notion that 0.5mm gradations of pads (standard pretty much by all pad suppliers) is somehow 'not precise enough'....not much of an argument to be made there, really.....
 

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Please also tell me where you get the materials?
I get all my pad making materials from my pad supplier, he knows i am not interested in making my own pads and only do so in extreme emergencys.

If you develop a relationship with a pad manufacturer they may be willing to do the same, that being said, in one year i use around 9000 pads, so i do not have the time to repair and make my own pads.

Steve
 

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Why ? You will end up with substandard pads and will have gone to a lot of effort, time, and some $.... to have gotten there.

The notion that 0.5mm gradations of pads (standard pretty much by all pad suppliers) is somehow 'not precise enough'....not much of an argument to be made there, really.....
That's an interesting argument, really.
When you say 'substandard' that assumes that some specific standards are taken as the starting point. Within a number of commercially produced pads there are certainly pads that are made to higher standards than others although you might have difficult time categorizing them that way. Anyway, we can safely assume that some pad variety of some pad manufacturer is better than a similar product (or a similarly priced product?) from another manufacturer.

Now, there are people like this Dutch guy who make their own pads:
https://safesax.nl/new-challenge-homemade-saxophone-pads/

Are his 'Home made' pads substandard? You might say - yes, they probably are.
However he doesn't think so. Here is his point at that link: "The biggest benefits are that you can choose which kind of leather to use, make the correct size to fit the key cup perfectly, choice of density of the felt, and another big advantage is that you can determine the thickness of the pad. I’m experimenting with leather which is not treated with silicone, because that is the reason why pads stick. So finally we can say goodbye to sticky pads!"

I'm not going to blindly support his argument but you see, people do make their own pads and use them in saxophones. Is he that poor being located in Netherlands to be forced to make his own pads? - No, I don't think so.
As I noted in another parallel thread people use chipie faux leather pads in saxophones, play them and move on. I've never tried those Chinese pads but currently they are our local "standard".
 

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It is a skill, i have made some of my own pads and i can confidently say they are not as good as the ones supplied to me, do not under estimate the cost and quality of doing it yourself

Steve
 

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That's an interesting argument, really.
When you say 'substandard' that assumes that some specific standards are taken as the starting point. Within a number of commercially produced pads there are certainly pads that are made to higher standards than others although you might have difficult time categorizing them that way. Anyway, we can safely assume that some pad variety of some pad manufacturer is better than a similar product (or a similarly priced product?) from another manufacturer.


I'm not going to blindly support his argument but you see, people do make their own pads and use them in saxophones. Is he that poor being located in Netherlands to be forced to make his own pads? - No, I don't think so.
As I noted in another parallel thread people use chipie faux leather pads in saxophones, play them and move on. I've never tried those Chinese pads but currently they are our local "standard".
It's not an interesting argument at all, actually. It's a very common-sense one.

The precision in manufacturing it takes to make a GOOD pad, something arguably as good as what is already available by a number of good manufacturers out there...requires not only a good deal of experience but also a good amount of materials and the proper tools.

I am befuddled by your comment 'that assumes some specific standards are taken as a starting point' (?) Well...yes....in the production of any respectable product, one would hopefully endeavor to produce a product which meets 'specific standards'.

So, citing your example...while of course there are varying qualities of various brands of pads...they still almost all have to have a certain 'baseline' quality in order to be successful enough to perform and sell. So I find it odd that you would argue that these products do not have specific standards which need to be met....

Anyone can just gather the materials and to the best of their limited experience start 'making' a product. What you'd end up with is a Home-Made Product.

How long do you suppose it might take to make pads which are 'as good as'....as precisely assembled, performing as well as, etc..... pads made by Ferrees, Allied, 'Pisoni', Prestini, JL Smith, MusicMedic, etc ? Because if your initial goal did NOT include meeting those industry standards...exactly what would be the point ? As already noted by others, your initial supposition that "then I'd have the perfectly sized pads" is a bit specious, considering again that current brands produce 'em in .5mm increments already.

Furthermore if you went to sell, say, a horn you had refurbished yourself, with home made pads...you would (of course) have to disclose that the pads on the horn are home-made pads. In a sax world where pads are a relatively 'big deal' to players, you are handicapping yourself in almost every way.

I can see Steve's context, where he produces only certain pads for unusual or trouble situations. But I took your OP as wishing to produce whole sets or various sizes on your own. Unless I was mistaken.

Why? - Simple. I've got a number of unused pads from unrealized past projects that according to my estimates can cover about 3 saxophones. I'm not limited in time. Otherwise I'll have to waste those pads or maybe sell them at bargain price which is also a waste of money. Again - "waste" of time is not a problem for me.
Your argument that 'standard sized pads have just left me with a bunch of pads I will never use' is also a bit funny to me. a) if you measured the keycups before ordering the pads (as most people suggest doing)...how did you end up with so many wrong sized pads ? b) any tech will tell you, if you have pads of certain sizes and thicknesses hanging around, as more horns cross your bench those pads will eventually get used.
So simply by combining accurate keycup measurements before ordering, and keeping the 'unusable' pads around for a while until a horn comes along which they fit...you have solved your problem without having to resort to fabricating your own pad.

Now, there are people like this Dutch guy who make their own pads:
https://safesax.nl/new-challenge-homemade-saxophone-pads/

Are his 'Home made' pads substandard? You might say - yes, they probably are.
However he doesn't think so. Here is his point at that link: "The biggest benefits are that you can choose which kind of leather to use, make the correct size to fit the key cup perfectly, choice of density of the felt, and another big advantage is that you can determine the thickness of the pad. I’m experimenting with leather which is not treated with silicone, because that is the reason why pads stick. So finally we can say goodbye to sticky pads!"
1) nice marketing lines. He thought out his pitch pretty well.

2) All of those things he promises one will acquire by purchasing his product - can already be acquired by any tech who, based on a few years of experience, has focused in on the specific qualities he/she seeks in a pad...and finding the existing product which meets those qualities and needs (again, I nix the 'fits the keycup perfectly !' argument because again, in 95% of cases the .5mm increments already available fits that need quite well)

3) If someone has already done what you seem to believe is so worthwhile...and he has seemingly achieved a respectable precision to his craft...why would you choose to set out on an endeavor to produce something someone else has already achieved and is marketing ? Sounds like this guy's pads do exactly what you want the WinnSie pad to do. So is it really worth your time and expense ?

I don't begrudge anyone from setting out on an endeavor. I just wonder why you are trying to produce, at home, with zero experience, a product which is already readily available...in different leathers, different felts, different backings, various thicknesses, and various sizes...and already suits the need in almost every conceivable repair situation.....
 

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It's not an interesting argument at all, actually. It's a very common-sense one.

The precision in manufacturing it takes to make a GOOD pad, something arguably as good as what is already available by a number of good manufacturers out there...requires not only a good deal of experience but also a good amount of materials and the proper tools.

I am befuddled by your comment 'that assumes some specific standards are taken as a starting point' (?) Well...yes....in the production of any respectable product, one would hopefully endeavor to produce a product which meets 'specific standards'.

Anyone can just gather the materials and to the best of their limited experience start 'making' a product. What you'd end up with is a Home-Made Product.

How long do you suppose it might take to make pads which are 'as good as'....as precisely assembled, performing as well as, etc..... pads made by Ferrees, Allied, 'Pisoni', Prestini, JL Smith, MusicMedic, etc ? Because if your initial goal did NOT include meeting those industry standards...exactly what would be the point ? As already noted by others, your initial supposition that "then I'd have the perfectly sized pads" is a bit specious, considering again that current brands produce 'em in .5mm increments already.

Furthermore if you went to sell, say, a horn you had refurbished yourself, with home made pads...you would (of course) have to disclose that the pads on the horn are home-made pads. On a sax world where pads are a relatively 'big deal' to players, you are handicapping yourself in almost every way.

I can see Steve's context, where he produces only certain pads for unusual or trouble situations. But I took your OP as wishing to produce whole sets or various sizes on your own. Unless I was mistaken.
The two situations I can imagine would be an oddball or historic instrument that needs a dramatically different thickness, or a bass or contrabass where some pads are larger than the usual sizes.

Even in those cases, I know Music Medic can supply custom made pads. In that case, their manufacturer who undoubtedly manufactures many thousands of pads a year, will simply set up their process for a very small number of unusual pads; but the basic process will remain the standard process with its well established QC. The chance of an individual being able to reproduce this kind of consistency is low, unless you spend enough time on developing your own process. By the time you have done this, you will have spent far more time and money than just ordering what you need from an established manufacturer. There are reasons why people don't make wood screws or D cell batteries at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's not an interesting argument at all, actually. It's a very common-sense one.
...
Anyone can just gather the materials and to the best of their limited experience start 'making' a product. What you'd end up with is a Home-Made Product.
...
I'm not actually arguing, I'm reviewing what's going on around me and I'm not judging anything because I'm not an expert.

However, let's consider another commonly discussed thing. You buy a commercially made saxophone, not homemade one and if you search this forum than you come up with a number of threads that discuss 'tone hole levelling'. Almost any tech on this board will admit that a great number of commercially produced saxophones whether chepie ones or Mark VI's are sold new with 'substandard' tone hole levelling - the tone holes are wavy.
With a good skill you can take that saxophone and level the tone holes at home if you've got some skill and tools (new rotary files or old school flat files). That's not a rocket science but then you'll encounter thechs on this board like for instance Les who'll call all techs who do tone hole filing - substandard techs. He has his own high standards of tone hole levelling with no filing and he will mostly likely be befuddled if you suggest to him that tone hole filing is a standard procedure, not the 'substandard' procedure.
Your word against his word.
 

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I'm not actually arguing, I'm reviewing what's going on around me and I'm not judging anything because I'm not an expert.

However, let's consider another commonly discussed thing. You buy a commercially made saxophone, not homemade one and if you search this forum than you come up with a number of threads that discuss 'tone hole levelling'. Almost any tech on this board will admit that a great number of commercially produced saxophones whether chepie ones or Mark VI's are sold new with 'substandard' tone hole levelling - the tone holes are wavy.
With a good skill you can take that saxophone and level the tone holes at home if you've got some skill and tools (new rotary files or old school flat files). That's not a rocket science but then you'll encounter thechs on this board like for instance Les who'll call all techs who do tone hole filing - substandard techs. He has his own high standards of tone hole levelling with no filing and he will mostly likely be befuddled if you suggest to him that tone hole filing is a standard procedure, not the 'substandard' procedure.
Your word against his word.
A good tech will recognize unlevel tone holes and suggest the owner pay to have them leveled. "Standard procedure" as you say.

The reason is obvious: to improve the performance of the instrument.

The goal therefore, is NOT variable. You imply a variability. The variability is only in the methodology. The GOAL is always to produce level toneholes. If some techs prefer one methodology over another, that's fine and can be debated all day long. But the end result is to get level holes.

Likewise, the GOAL of pad production is to produce a good pad. But to DO that, each tech need NOT produce their own pads using their own methods, eh ?

Each tech making his own pads is not 'standard procedure'. In the history of saxes and tech repair...this has never become a repair necessity...each tech in his/her own shop making their own pads. If it happened once 'long ago', it was quickly supplanted by suppliers.
Because just like sheet cork, felt, shellac, and needle springs....other manufacturers and suppliers already fulfilled that specialized need....and can supply a product likely better than anything a tech can whip up him/herself.

My point was...the 'need' you seem to suggest exists....has already been met by what is readily available.

It's simply up to the repairer to know how to size up their keycups, and over time develop a sense of which brand pads they prefer.....
 
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