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Which is for main stack timing adjustment: adjustment screws or sanded cork?

My current horn (Phil Barone "Classic" Tenor) came with adjustment screws from the factory, but the previous technician didn't use them. Meaning every place on the main stacks where there is an adjustment screw, the screw was backed out and the timing was done entirely with cork. Here's a photo from the upper stack:

timing-screw-0.jpg

I bought this horn two years ago, right after it had been fully repadded. It played great at the time, so all I've really done to it since then is decrease the spring tension on the pinky clusters to suit my taste. But now it leaks a bit, and there doesn't seem to be enough glue behind the pads to properly float them, so I'm ordering some new pads from music medic.

But there remains the question about how to time them. My preference would be to remove the cork and go back to using the adjustment screws (with some low strength loctite to keep them from turning on their own). Using a screw seems faster, and adjustments are easily reversible. Is there a downside to using the adjustment screws?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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Actually the cork is take up the bulk of the gap that exists between the key and its respective counterpart, the adjustment screw allows tweaking of the final relationship.

So in this situation both the cork and screw are utilised

Steve
 

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incredible! this is exactly what i was realized, the importance of timing! for so long i assumed that the combination action must be synchronized but, no! let me just say this, most repairman dont know really how to setup horns otherwise, i wouldnt have the need to experiment on my own horns! moral, most horn repairman and just that!.......and NOT players!
 

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IMO squishy, natural cork is a totally unsuitable material where precision transfer of motion, "timing", is necessary, especially if the cork is this thick! The only exception is when there a significantly large surface area involved, so that compression of the cork is negligible.

The tip of those adjusting screws is probably of quite small area, which will have an even greater compressing effect on the cork, so disengaging the screws is probably the only thing the technician did right, enabling a greater area of contact with that cork, hence compressing it somewhat less.

If the screws are used, then the tips of them need to press on a very tough, quite incompressible material that still has damping properties. Thin "techcork" would pass (and it commonly is on oboe linkage), but certainly not natural cork. The screw would just eat its way through the cork until it contacts the metal beneath, at which point the cork has no function.

High density synthetic felt may work. I would also consider Music Center's exceedingly tough, thin, synthetic pad-leather that they call microfibre. I use this pretty much exclusively on oboes and F/C lever-to-key links on clarinets. The tips of screws do not eat through it.
 

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IMO squishy, natural cork is a totally unsuitable material where precision transfer of motion, "timing", is necessary, especially if the cork is this thick!
Agreed, I assume when screws are used, tech cork is also used.

Steve
 

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Best to have a look at how Yamaha do it --for the past 45 years now! The adjusting screws need 'feet' on them and thin cork. The old Conn 'Permadjust' method on 26/30m models also used 'feet' on the contact screws. In both cases the adjusters screw in from underneath the bar.
 

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On full overhauls my choice of material between the tops of key feet and the back bar is thin synthetic felt that has been hammered to make it even less compressible. I also prefer to back adjusting screws out to use the full surface contact area available. "Timing" or regulation as I call it is done by judiciously bending key feet and/or the back bar. I have found the synthetic felt to work as well as thin tech cork, but is quieter. Any "lost motion" is adjusted by sanding the regular cork on the bottom of the key feet. Of course on a "play condition" of a YAS-23 or Taiwanese sax I will use the adjusting screws in the interest of time.
 
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