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To answer your question in a roundabout way......You're asking the wrong question.

Any waterproffing applied to the pad is going to wear off where the pad contacts the tone hole rim. Unfortunately, this is also where most of the moisture, gunk, snickers bars, jelly beans and other oddments seem to collect as well.

Water won't hurt the leather anyway. It's the sugars fats and other stuff carried in the water vapour that do the damage. Added to which, the leather is remarkably restoreable, it's the felt underneath that gets rooted and kills the pad.

Which is all to say that waterproofing treatments are nice but I've yet to meet one that will stand up to abrasion other than working serious amounts of dressing into the leather prior to making a pad.

To return to your question, choose the best quality pad for your horn in terms of thickness, consistency, quality, firmness, etc and just resign yourself to the fact that the pads will need replacing down the track.

better to have a horn that plays well and reliably in the meantime, than to opt for waterproof pads that don't seat well or hold up to use.
 

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I have always thought that leather when soaked with water over a period of time gets stiff and loses its softness and flexibility. Most of the old pads that I have replaced on the hundreds of saxes I have worked on have turned to a dark brown color and the leather has turned hard and even sometimes brittle which makes it break apart.

I think most of the new pads nowadays have a water resistant treatment applied to the leather. It is easy to tell by putting a drop of water on the pad. Older pads without this treatment will instantly absorb the water and form a dark spot. On the treated pads, the drop of water will remain on the surface for several minutes before soaking in. One of the downsides to pads that have been aggressively treated is that sometimes they stick to the surface of the tonehole.

Prestini is the only supplier of pads I am aware of that offers pads in waterproof and non waterproof versions. The only pads currently available I know of that are not treated are the Roo Pads sold by Music Medic. I can see the wisdom and economics in treating the palm key pads and the low Eb pad which are the ones to take the most abuse and need replacing the most often. I have had good success with a plastic spray coating called Chem Guard used on these pads for rental saxes. Kiwi Camp Dry is also an effective waterproofing that soaks into the leather, but does not discolor the pad when it dries.
 

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If the leather is soaked with water, then yes, you'll have problems but that's not normally the case with saxophones is it? I'm merely saying that until someone decides to make pads with greased leather, which would be difficult and costly, we might be best off resigning ourselves to the fact that pads, like brake pads on a vehicle, are a wear item and that certain pads will require replacing more often than others. If that's the case, then I'd suggest choosing pads based on other criteria which are more important than chasing the mirage of waterproof pads.
 

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I'm merely saying that until someone decides to make pads with greased leather, which would be difficult and costly,
Surely greased leather wouldn't be difficult or costly. But I would have thought it might be prone to sticking as the grease starts to pick up dirt.
 

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In my experience buying non waterproof pads means you need to repace them foten, especially palm keys * upper stack as well as low Eb pads, they just dont last. Waterproof pads last but have a problem with getting sticky. I have found that buying the best quality pads has always been the only option........
 

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Okay I have officially gotten to the point that I have been given too much information about the sax here on sotw. LOL

I didn't know waterproof pads existed. B
 

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Surely greased leather wouldn't be difficult or costly. But I would have thought it might be prone to sticking as the grease starts to pick up dirt.
Pete, the only way I know of the "waterproof" leather that works effectively, is to a) coat it with a plastic based polymer film or b) work so much dressing into it that becomes water repellent (not waterproof).

There are several sprays and solutions that will coat the leather but the bugger of it is, that to heave enough of a coating to be effective, you end up with stiff leather.

If you manually work enough dressing into the leather, it becomes effectively waterproof for quite a time but leather dries out and you have to reapply it. It takes an awful lot of elbow grease to work in enough dressing and also work it in and polish it to the point where the leather is no longer sticky. In the old days, folk would do this of an evening with all the saddles, tack, boots, leather ropes, whips, crops etc.

Nowadays, we have TV and Internet.
 

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music medics roo pads are at the top of my list
 

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...so the question is.... should I consider waterproofing the roo pads????
 

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...so the question is.... should I consider waterproofing the roo pads????
It's up to you. I don't think it will hurt them. On the other hand, if you use a treatment as John suggests above, just be aware that all you are really doing is ensuring that the moisture and crud end up collecting around the tone hole rim just that bit easier. In reality, I think it makes bugger all difference. If you really want to waterproof a pad, then putting a waterproof membrane between the leather and the felt makes more sense to me.
 

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It's up to you. I don't think it will hurt them. On the other hand, if you use a treatment as John suggests above, just be aware that all you are really doing is ensuring that the moisture and crud end up collecting around the tone hole rim just that bit easier. In reality, I think it makes bugger all difference. If you really want to waterproof a pad, then putting a waterproof membrane between the leather and the felt makes more sense to me.
If I can recall correctly, didn't the old Grafton's have a waterproof membrane between the felt and the leather on their pads? Essentially overhead sheet, wasn't it??

Also, why couldn't you cover the felt of a pad in a thin layer of overhead sheet, you could use a vacuum packer or similar such rig...wouldn't change the feel much if the plastic sets to a similar density to the felt, and you could accommodate for the added thickness most easily of all! Affix this layer on the back layer of the pad, in a similar manner to how the leather is bunched and sealed on the rear. I suppose you might have to apply more shellac to get this kind of pad to seat properly (to better fill the crevasse on the rear of the pad) as the sides of the aforementioned crevasse would be higher and thus leave a deeper "crater" if you will (oh, I will!)...but a marginal difference in shellac consumption to say the least???

Thoughts?? Concerns?? Criticisms?? It's very, very late here and I've just been accepted to my choice music program so I would say that I aammm slightly giddy!!!

Sorry for the ramble/wasted bandwith,

- J
 

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Waterprrofing is a good idea, but it does also run the risk of creating a sticky pad, I personally prefer my pads waterproofed, the sax pads I currently have made for our workshop are silicon coated at the factory (costs extra)
 

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I think that is actually possible to produce pads that are not coated with a waterproofing product but made with leather that is impregnated (as in soaked and saturated) with a water repellent on a silicon base. Any external treatment would indeed wear out , sooner or later. If you were to do this on your own on a DIY base, then I would be getting non-waterproof pads and proceed to soaking them with repeated applications of a waterproofing agent which will be absorbed into the leather, making it (more) water repellent and probably retaining the natural softness much longer than it would otherwise be. Kangaroo pads may have a harder felt backing but the leather feels, naturally, much, much softer to the touch than lamb's or kid's . These days brands like Prestini (not available to non professional users) are offering a choice of hard felt or softer felt too.
 

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Steve, is the silicone coating fine enough to be unnoticeable or is it like a film on the leather?
 

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If you really want to waterproof a pad, then putting a waterproof membrane between the leather and the felt makes more sense to me.
That's an intriguing idea. I'm not an expert in leather, but could you treat the underside of the pad leather with some water proofing agent instead of the side that makes contact with the tonehole? Would that be possible? It could be a real innovation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's an intriguing idea. I'm not an expert in leather, but could you treat the underside of the pad leather with some water proofing agent instead of the side that makes contact with the tonehole? Would that be possible? It could be a real innovation.
As I´m the one that started this thread, I hold the copyright of all innovations that might lead to whatever revolutionary innovation it might lead. haha
 
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