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When is a pad "Bad"

1144 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jazz Is All
This is mostly a follow up to my other thread about overhaul/repad frequency.

It seems like many leave sealing pads alone. This begs the question, and I open this one to fellow techs for their opinion alike, when is a pad considered bad?

There are the obvious optical reasons as when the skin is ripped exposing the felt beneath, however thought about the pad that has hardened felt and is rock hard as a result. At a NAPBIRT clinic, repair guru Ed Kraus was talking about hard pads on a clarinet, and he had his Mag machine on it, and set it down. That bump in motion caused a momentary leak. Softer pads didn't do that. Stack keys when they close can make that bump and cause a closed, hardened pad to momentary leak.


Personally I feel a fresher pad is for forgiving and allow for small imperfections, but thats just me. I don't want pillows for pads, nor do i want steel. Just a nice firm, fresh pad. Even on closed holes.
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Good question.... and I actually lean towards giving old pads som luv. A lot of techs will simply go by aesthetic appearance of the pad and say "needs to be changed".

As you say, in obvious circumstances aesthetics can be a guide (you gave some examples)....but I will say IMHO, I somewhat regularly 'keep' existing pads which to other techs might appear (visually) 'shot'...simply because they are still performing quite decently. This sometimes means actually 'refloating' the existing pad (oftentimes by removing and adding a bit of shellac). Things like stains and discoloration, that doesn't mean much to me. I wanna feel how the leather-felt combo is holding up, I wanna see how the pad seals on the hole.

It is sorta up to the client as well..some folks are just plain 'bothered' by an ugly-looking pad. Some do not like the 'feel' of old and new pads mixed together, they want a uniform 'pop' when they press the keys all thru the horn.
Others are solely concerned with getting the horn playing respectably and reliably up and down, and could care less about whether some of the pads are not spankin' new, or even OK if a few look 'toe'up'....

On most horns I sell if a prospective buyer seems to be showing some hesitation or inquisitiveness over a mixed-pad horn, I will offer to do a complete repad for a slightly add'l sum if it would alleviate their concerns (even though I may feel the horn is performing quite fine and will continue to for quite a while).
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That begs the next question, If a pad is hardened, it is not ripped, yet seals, do you think there is a need for it to be changed. I'm kinda 50/50 on that with the other pads and their condition. I do feel that in a perfect world, it would get changed. Not so sure about the average Joe in a realistic world.
I'd leave it up to the client, if one is a walk-in tech shop.

The other thing that I was taught years ago, it might be time saving just to replace a pad rather than make an old one seat. It will certainly last longer.
Yes/no, IMHO. If the refloat doesn't work (and again I will usually do this by removing the existing pad, checking the amount of shellac/glue and if necessary adding some, then replacing and reheating - although I know some just give a try by heating the keycup and hoping there's enough shellac still under there)....I'll usually stop there and not try to massage the existing pad any further.

I guess an argument would be if you are trying to save the existing pad, it'd be less work than installing a new one since you'd then have to seat the new one and also very likely have to redo the regulating corks/materials. Sometimes with an existing pad you can keep the existing regulating materials and at most tweak 'em slightly (sand down or add another layer of cork or teflon sheet).

But then, as you intimate, I have had old pads, refloated, initially seem to behave, then after a day or two or four they start to go back to their old reason why I never wanna send a horn out inside 48 hours of the pad work....

3. Even if the pad looks good but re-floating fails, I replace.
Yes this is something which is seldom mentioned.
I have come across plenty of VERY uncooperative existing pads which 'look' and 'feel' (to the touch) quite fine...and are even on the newish side....yet they came in leaking and after an initial attempt, they are still leaking. Although they look to have tons of life left in 'em, if a newish pad is giving me that sorta trouble, it's gone...ain't gonna mickey-mouse around with it more just because it 'looks' to be far on the good side of half-life.
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