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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question is if there is any other technique technicians use to glue in sax pads.

Is it possible to use a hot glue gun to glue in pads other than using a torch to melt shellac?

Im asking this b/c I fixed several leaks on my horn and some of the pads are hard and old.

I am planning to repad my horn in several years.
I have disassembled the lower, and upper key stacks before. I reassembled them perfectly and my horn works great. It is in top shape.
The key action is smooth, it feels like if it was a brand new horn from a music store.
My horn is not brand new, it's a vintage bundy II. It has a great tone.


I can perfectly disassemble and reassemble the upper, and lower key stacks, but I would do it by repadding the lower stack one day, reassemble the lower key stack the same day (F, E and D keys) and disassemble the upper key stack the next day for pad work.

Do you think I'll have trouble doing this?



Do technicians measure the key cup or the pad to make sure the pad fits? I wonder which object they measure.-key cup or pad?
 

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Good way to make the next pad job really expensive. I'm going to defer to some of the wondeful techs on this forum -- but as I understand it, you'll have a hard time getting them out.

I owned a sax that had a non-professional pad job done on it, and it cost me a couple hundred bucks to fix the mistakes. Pain in the arse. Unless you've gone to a tech program, you're probably going to do more harm than good.
 

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A glue gun isn't the best idea as you're putting hot glue onto a cold key cup. You could use a torch and a glue gun, I suppose.

You can use 'plastic' hot glue or traditional shellac or French cement. It shouldn't matter too much. The Ferree's website had a run down of how to stick in pads. There's a lot more to it than just glueing the pad in. Regulation corks need dealing with to make any useful repadding.

I would suggest buying one of the books that are available on repair techniques and having a read through that.
 

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That should take care of your tone issues...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A glue gun isn't the best idea as you're putting hot glue onto a cold key cup. You could use a torch and a glue gun, I suppose.

You can use 'plastic' hot glue or traditional shellac or French cement. It shouldn't matter too much. The Ferree's website had a run down of how to stick in pads. There's a lot more to it than just glueing the pad in. Regulation corks need dealing with to make any useful repadding.

I would suggest buying one of the books that are available on repair techniques and having a read through that.
I rather use a shellac gun from Musicmedic because I dislike messin' around with torches. I hate fire and anything that has to do with it.
Torches can burn the key, they involve fire, so fire is very unpredictable, it's dangerous and I can be burnt by it.
 

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The more challenging issue with repadding your horn is adjusting the mechanism to accommodate the minute changes in pad thickness. Pads are only part of it...

Get a leak light and learn to use it first. Get to know your horn tech.
 

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Wise words from Dr G. Changing pads is a rather small part of repadding. (I very much doubt that a novice would succeed in getting pads installed right on stack keys in one day.)
Few novices succeed in getting pads to seal well and reliably at all. And for a technician, correcting a novice botch-up is often just as expensive as starting from scratch, and often more expensive, for many reasons.

Regarding glue guns: In my experience glue gun glue is unreliable if it is applied to a cold metal surface. That is why we use flames to heat the key cup.

For sax pads, I consider stick shellac by far the easiest material for a novice to work with (and easier still if cut in half lengthwise to make them narrower - I use my bandsaw). It does not go so soft so quick. It is less inclined to ooze, If it does, then it is relatively easy to remove the ooze.

I have recently been trying Musicmedic's so-called stick shellac. AFAIK it is a synthetic copy of shellac, and has properties more like glue gun glue. I find it considerably less user-friendly than than true stick shellac, as sold by Ferrees.

As always, other technicians' experiences may differ, because there are significant differences in the detail of how different technicians actually use a glue.
 

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if you are serious about learning some basic repair, i would really suggest you not learn on a horn you intend to play soon.

the truth of it is it takes years to figure out how to do it well and the websites make it appear that you just glue in pads. the modern mentality seems to be that anyone with a brain can do anything... somethings take learned finesse. its not to say you can't be self taught, i think most of the better techs i have encountered have been self taught, but it takes years of constant work to figure it out.

also regarding the torches, you will need a torch, if you want to do anything with a saxophone you need a torch, and you will need to learn how to use the torch, when will lacquer burn etc... i suggest get a yamaha 23 and overhaul it and learn on that... they are cheap, decent when set up and you will have less structural stiff to contend with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The more challenging issue with repadding your horn is adjusting the mechanism to accommodate the minute changes in pad thickness. Pads are only part of it...

Get a leak light and learn to use it first. Get to know your horn tech.
Dr G! I was thinking about that just a few days ago.
Thanks for the suggestions!!!
'
By the way, next year, Im keeping my horn to a Sam Ash Sax technician, to have 9 to 10 soon-to-be worn pads replaced on my saxophone. I thought "I should do it myself." But then I thought- wait, you'll do more harm than good...
So I rather keep it to someone who fixes them.
I know how to fix a sax right, I just need to work as an apprentice at a sax shop, I feel like I want to learn with a repair technician someday so that I can better my skills and learn new things out of it.

I use a peice of cardboard to fix my leaks, I put it opposite of the leaking area, and it seals perfectly.
I check my horn for leaks almost every day by playing it from middle left hand C to low Bb, it plays flawlessly.
I take very good care of it, but it should receive adjustments every one or 2 years.
 

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My 70:s East-German bari had the pads glued (maybe from the factory, could be shellack was hard to obtain in the eastern block?) with what I believe was some kind of animal glue, similar to the stuff used to glue the backs of some old books. It was a real mess to get out as it didn't turn completely liquid but remained a sticky tar-like goo which was very hard to wipe off the keycups as the rag kept sticking to it. It also smelled real bad when heated.

So, for the sake of the next guy repairing your horn, use the right stuff.
 

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I rather use a shellac gun from Musicmedic because I dislike messin' around with torches. I hate fire and anything that has to do with it.
Torches can burn the key, they involve fire, so fire is very unpredictable, it's dangerous and I can be burnt by it.
I would not recommend the shellac dispensing gun for what your seeking, whilst it is IMO a good item to have in ones tool arsenal (yes I have one) It does not offer the advantages you are looking for

It does require preheating of a cup with a flame first otherwise the dispensed shellac will glass over and not bond very well with the smooth cup surface. I only use the unit on saxes that have a very very fragile lacquer finish, and the owner wants it retained, I never use it for a single pad only for a complete repad. I find standard stick shellac (not real stick shellec but the distributed version from music shops) better and faster to use on all other pad changes.

Back to the original question, I can not envisage anything being used as an alternative glue substrate that would provide cheaper, or a more pratical approach to gluing pads in on a sax, other than shellac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I would not recommend the shellac dispensing gun for what your seeking, whilst it is IMO a good item to have in ones tool arsenal (yes I have one) It does not offer the advantages you are looking for

It does require preheating of a cup with a flame first otherwise the dispensed shellac will glass over and not bond very well with the smooth cup surface. I only use the unit on saxes that have a very very fragile lacquer finish, and the owner wants it retained, I never use it for a single pad only for a complete repad. I find standard stick shellac (not real stick shellec but the distributed version from music shops) better and faster to use on all other pad changes.

Back to the original question, I can not envisage anything being used as an alternative glue substrate that would provide cheaper, or a more pratical approach to gluing pads in on a sax, other than shellac.
Thanks for reminding me about heating the pad cup.
How would someone replace a pad without preheating the pad cup?

Hmmmmmm, maybe I should learn how to use a torch properly when I start getting more into saxophone repair one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I would not recommend the shellac dispensing gun for what your seeking, whilst it is IMO a good item to have in ones tool arsenal (yes I have one) It does not offer the advantages you are looking for

It does require preheating of a cup with a flame first otherwise the dispensed shellac will glass over and not bond very well with the smooth cup surface. I only use the unit on saxes that have a very very fragile lacquer finish, and the owner wants it retained, I never use it for a single pad only for a complete repad. I find standard stick shellac (not real stick shellec but the distributed version from music shops) better and faster to use on all other pad changes. Back to the original question, I can not envisage anything being used as an alternative glue substrate that would provide cheaper, or a more pratical approach to gluing pads in on a sax, other than shellac.
Back to the original question, I can not envisage anything being used as an alternative glue substrate that would provide cheaper, or a more pratical approach to gluing pads in on a sax, other than shellac.[/QUOTE]

Simso- Thanks, but by the way, I have a question for you--- If I repad my horn, are terrible leaks going to occur??

Any way a tech resolves this?

It's true, like you said, and if the shellac glasses over, then the pad wont really press in to the cup and it won't seal well.
I forgot about the pad cup heating procedure- it looks easy to me. Don't you just hold the back of the key cup over the torch flame but not too close?

I think I can do this since I know how to assemble the parts together perfectly, without creating a mess. I have learned alot in sax repair.

But I can tell you one thing, I unscrewed one of those key rod screws (the loooooooooooooooooooong screw in one of the key rods.) and the keywork looked like a derailed train, a disaster. If the long key rod screw was bent broken, it would be the ultimate end for a sax.

But then I assembled it perfectly and it looked as if it were a set of puzzle pieces neatly put together in one perfect try.

When I disassemble it, I use toothpicks to hold all of the parts together.
I assemble it in chronological and sequential order.
And it truly works like a charm (no kidding).
 
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