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I have a Conn tenor sax with heavily filed rolled toneholes that I'll be restoring soon. Nearly every tonehole has a flat racetrack around it and a huge surface area for pad contact, and they're not even level (heavy body damage). I want to restore the roll of the toneholes to an un-filed look and the only way to do this that I can think of is to put a ring of solder on each tonehole, shape it to round, and brass plate it to look as original as possible.

Any other thoughts/ideas how to fix this?

-Scott
 

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Do what Keilwerth do - turn up some tonehole rings from brass and solder them on - that's if they've been filed so much the rolled over part has broken off!

How do you do brass plating?
 

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What some respectable flute technicians are doing is filing off even metal to restore a smaller radius on the lip. Tool suppliers are making tools especially to do this.

The notion leaves me slightly stunned, because a roll on a tone hole can be of metal considerably thinner than the body, and while the technician is doing the filing he has no idea what thickness of metal remains. So he has no idea when he has filed to a state that the edge is no longer adequately supported.

I would far prefer that rolled tone holes never be filed.

Perhaps the reality is different from my imaginings, but it sure seems like a high risk operation to me, and very time consuming to patch up, because a replacement lip would be needed.

If you do use solder to build up the surface, I suggest using something around 95% tin & 5% silver. It is twice as strong as lead solders, and far more resistant to tarnish.

For more detail, http://www.krausmusic.com/solderin/solders.htm
 

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Chris Peryagh said:
....

How do you do brass plating?
First you use google to find a man who knows what he's doing.

Lord Finchley tried to mend the electric light himself,
it struck him dead,
and serve him right.
It is the business of the wealthy man to give employment to the artisan


These are not the easiest of processes, but in the last forty years plating with Brass and Bronze has come on considerably.
 

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Does Keilwerth sell them?

Funny that, a mate of mine has exactly the same problem on a Conn Chu tenor (with at least one tonehole with about a mill. left to the body!) and I was wondering (when that dreaded time for an overhaul will come) how I'd go about fixing it.
I knew that Keilwerth solders RTHs on, also to make it easy to replace if the get damaged: would anyone close to Keilwerth know if they sell them as spares? If they sold screws, necks, keys and other parts, why not sell toneholes too?

I would really be interested to know (particularly if anyone has had to correct RTH on a Keilwerth).

All the best,
Manlio
 

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I recently asked Gordon (NZ) offline if he had any experience repairing rolled tone holes on a Conn Saxophone. After responding to my question, Gordon mentioned the conversation would perhaps be suitable for the SOTW forum. Below is an edited version of the conversation.

Have you ever repaired the rolled tone holes on a Conn saxophone? My newly acquired Conn Transitional Tenor has (4) tone holes that are missing part of the rolled lip, up to about 15% on the most damaged tone hole. I formed a piece of brass wire and soldered the brass wire in the gap, where the rolled tone hole is missing. I then leveled the holes. I would call it a 75% job because I needed to file the soldered brass wire level and therefore the brass wire has a flat top, not a rounded top.

What would you think about leveling the damaged tone holes so the rolled lip is filed off. Then soldering a piece of round brass wire onto a strip of brass and then rolling the strip into a tone hole and then soldering the strip into the tone hole? A poor man's Keilwerth. I realize the volume of the tone hole would be reduced but I could vent those tone holes a little more.

Or your thoughts on leveling the damaged tone holes and soldering a piece of brass wire on the top of the filed tone hole?

Any and all thoughts are welcome.

Thanks
Bill Gegg


This was Gordon's very kind and thoughtful response:
There are many ways to rebuild a tone hole, depending on what equipment you have available. I would possibly remove what remains of the lip, and make a suitable section of tone hole and lip to solder on, turned on my lathe from brass stock.

“…I formed a piece of brass wire and soldered the brass wire in the gap, where the rolled tone hole is missing. I then leveled the holes. ”

Fair enough method.

“and therefore the brass wire has a flat top, not a rounded top.”

I would go around with a bur in my dental micromotor to change that flat to a round. You could do similarly with hand tools, but it takes far longer, especially in view of the care needed in the area for cosmetics.

“... Then soldering a piece of round brass wire onto a strip of brass and then rolling the strip into a tone hole and then soldering the strip into the tone hole? ”

You will need a higher melting temp solder for the first operation so that it does not melt in the second. You might get away with using silver-tin solder for the wire and lead-tin for the rest if you are very careful. Otherwise you will need silver-solder for the wire, and the warping from the heat (misaligning the wire and sheet) may make the soldering challenging.

“. I realize the volume of the tone hole would be reduced but I could vent those tone holes a little more.”

As long as you use reasonably thin sheet metal, say 0.6 mm or less, I don’t think you will find this a significant issue. If it worries you, you could always solder the sheet metal around the outside of the tone hole chimney.

Some guys have done this repair by completely replacing the tone hole chimney with one of thicker metal (without rolled edge), soldered onto the body.

Gordon (NZ)
 

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I would far prefer that rolled tone holes never be filed.

Perhaps the reality is different from my imaginings, but it sure seems like a high risk operation to me, and very time consuming to patch up, because a replacement lip would be needed.
I agree with Gordon's comment. We were taught to avoid filing rolled tone holes in repair school. I think you will find that the reason there is a problem is that at least some of the repair techs or DIY'ers didn't do an adequate job taking the dents out before the handy dandy tone hole file came out.

My method is generally to replace the tone hole if I have to.
 

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Some saxes have non-level rolled tone holes from birth. Most student flutes do too. For flutes, I tap them very close to level without, to my knowledge, affecting the bore.
 

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I have a 6m tranny I am redoing, and some of the tone holes were terrible, I have raised them within spec enough that only a small bit of filing will be needed. The rolled part is still there. That one bad deal about the old conns. Ilike rolled tone holes, but you have to take extra care with them that you dont have to do with standard toneholes
 

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I have a 6m tranny I am redoing, and some of the tone holes were terrible, I have raised them within spec enough that only a small bit of filing will be needed. The rolled part is still there. That one bad deal about the old conns. Ilike rolled tone holes, but you have to take extra care with them that you dont have to do with standard toneholes
I just finished a 6M like this. The bell brace was pushed in and it had a few other dents. Once the dents were taken out there was no need to file tone holes. The customer said the horn was "fabulous" when he got it back.
 

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fwiw - I have a good assortment of the metal rings left over from the insides of old Conn Reso-pads I removed during work. Years ago I saved a few toneholes by installing/fitting these to the damaged toneholes, although I am somewhat limited in the sizes on hand.
 

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I realize this is an old thread but has anyone tried forming a circle from thin brass tubing, sanding it to half forming a proper rim and then soldering that to a levelled tonehole?

Cheers,
Andy
 

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That is something I have never seen nor heard of. I have used the Conn reso-rings method. Has worked quite successfully, albeit it isn't producing an 'identical' detain to the originals.
 

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So here is a super crude attempt but the the concept might work. I formed a circle out of tubing, spot soldered the loop, sanded half way through and then attache to a piece of brass tube. The unevenness is from a sloppy forming and not warping from heat.
 

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That is quite a good start. Keep us posted. That warping from heat is something that Keilwerth has been dealing with.

It should be noted that sometimes, Conn filed the toneholes flat at the factory- particularly on the G#, though I've seen it elsewhere. Here is a photo: http://www.stohrermusic.com/wp-content/gallery/gallery/imag0744.jpg

Original pads came out of that horn. That is the original (extremely good condition, just cleaned and polished by me and most of the way through an overhaul) plating.

I've also seen- unfortunately- toneholes filed on Conns after the fact. Seems to be happening currently, though I hope that practice is slowing down on the way to stopping. MusicMedic used to do that or at least did it once or twice, I don't think they do anymore. Curt and I had a, er, lively discussion about it anyways.


I have not yet seen a really great method for restoring the roll. I imagine one will come along. These horns are getting more valuable. Hopefully people will stop filing the damn things.

Here is a graphic that shows (I think) sort of how toneholes used to be rolled. http://www.pmauriatmusic.com/images/stories/20130510-rth statement.jpg

Conn probably had a machine for it rather than a hand burnisher since they had machines for everything (troll through their patents to see) and a high level of output, but perhaps some sort of hand burnishing method will be adapted for remaking a roll. Solder a sheet tube on the inside of the tonehole, roll it over, ream out inside leaving only the roll. I don't know, just spitballing here.

Here is a good video on "leveling" rolled toneholes. I personally don't do this very often at all, but when a tonehole is very unlevel and the body tube is undamaged it seems to be the best method to get the tonehole closer to level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nse0dWETNEA
 
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