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Side C spring broken

1515 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Stephen Howard
I've got a side C spring broken on my vintage Selmer Radio Improved tenor (© 1936). I've done quite a few routine repairs to this sax with the aid of Stephen Howard's superb Saxophone Manual including other spring replacements, pad replacements, leak repairs, new neck cork and such like, but this one's different.

This spring has snapped off just inside the pillar and there's none of the spring protruding. Stephen mentions this 'worst case' situation in his manual and explains how to use a spring punch to get the stub out but I've tried that with no joy, I just can't budge this stub and anyway I'm a bit scared of distorting the pillar. Stephen also mentions the use of spring stub extractor pliers, but they are a very expensive tool.

I'm secretly hoping that Stephen monitors this topic and can give me some advice. I wonder if a touch of heat would help, or would that melt the pillar solder?

OK, I can hear everyone screaming at me ..."Take it to a tech"...and yes I'll do that if I completely fail to budge this spring stub, but once the stub's out it's a piece of cake to replace the spring, and very cheap too since I've got a selection of blue steel springs in my repair kit ready to replace it with.
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Using another spring is a nice idea, thanks for that. I've already put some penetrating oil on the stub, but I'll do it again and leave it a bit longer because I think it's corroded in. The trouble with this wretched thing is that it's broken unevenly on the wedge. Just inside the pillar there's a long bit of the wedge on one side and none of the wedge on the other side, if you see what I mean, so when I try to punch it out the punch tip is just being pushed into the side of the pillar and the force isn't transmitting directly down the stub. I'll persevere though and I'll sacrifice one of my springs as you suggest, that sounds like a good plan.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this.

Stephen you're a star, thank you so much for your help. I couldn't figure out a way of pushing the stub out with pliers because of the plier jaw blocking the exit hole. I kicked myself when you gave me the block of wood solution, as obvious as it is that just didn't occur to me. I used your blu-tak and wooden block method after cling-filming a piece of foam rubber soaked in penetrating oil over the pillar end for 24 hours, and it worked. The stub pushed out just as you said into the wooden block far enough for me to be able to grasp the wedge with pliers and tease it out. It was tricky using ordinary pliers and not parallel jawed ones, as you predicted it might be, but I've lined my pliers with card, as advised elsewhere in the manual, and this helped to stop the jaw slipping off the stub.

Before you gave me the answer I did think of drilling it out or drilling a new hole. I put my micrometer on the broken spring right at the end where it broke and it's exactly 1mm at that point. When I looked at a 1mm drill it didn't look man enough to do the job and the last thing I wanted was a bit of broken drill stuck down the side of the wedge to complicate things, so I discounted trying to drill it out. I must admit that a new hole was on my mind for a while, but I'm relieved now that I resisted that easy way out and turned to good ol' SOTW instead.

Anyway, job done, and a little bit more experience and knowledge gained. Thanks again Stephen, both for your manual and for your invaluable help on this one.

PS: The alum method eh, can't find that in the manual! Is that a trade secret too far to be given away here?
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