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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,
I've used a few different sources for neck corks but have been using Music Medic 1/16" sheets for the last 2 years. I always thought they were half decent but the last bunch I've gotten seem to be of a lesser quality, there are just a lot of pores!

Can anyone tell me if I can get better cork from someone else? I figured I'd ask first here before just ordering some blindly from Ferrees, JL Smith, etc.

I'm not concerned with price at all, if it costs more to get an excellent sheet for neck cork I'm willing to pay.

Thanks,
Klook
 

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In my experience, natural cork has been the same the past few years regardless of where it is purchased. It is not the fault of the vendors. It is the best they have available to them. You might want to check out the Valentino synthetic sax neck cork from JL Smith. I have had good results using it on some of my customer's saxophones.
 

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You might want to check out the Valentino synthetic sax neck cork from JL Smith. I have had good results using it on some of my customer's saxophones.
+1. That is all I use on my personal horns and on most customers horns.
 

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For a (huge) price one used to be able to buy blemish-free natural cork, un-filled.
I suspect it is now used to make cork pads for clarinets, to satisfy a current fashion.
If you could still buy it I suspect it would be $100 to $200 per sheet.

As for the now-standard filled cork, I think what you get is a lottery.
I suspect suppliers might save the better bits for their mate customers.

But you do not need outstanding cork for a sax neck. I save my best bits for articulated G# clarinet centre tenons, where it most definitely is needed.
Also for bassoon bocals, and oboe tenons.
 

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I usually have good luck with Allied, Kraus, Ferree's, JL smith and Votaw. Have yet to order sheet cork from Music Medic yet. I would think that they all get the best that is available to them at the time they order from their
suppliers.
 

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Howdy folks,
I've used a few different sources for neck corks but have been using Music Medic 1/16" sheets for the last 2 years. I always thought they were half decent but the last bunch I've gotten seem to be of a lesser quality, there are just a lot of pores!

Can anyone tell me if I can get better cork from someone else? I figured I'd ask first here before just ordering some blindly from Ferrees, JL Smith, etc.

I'm not concerned with price at all, if it costs more to get an excellent sheet for neck cork I'm willing to pay.

Thanks,
Klook
Yes, This happened to me also. I ordered a bunch years ago and never really looked at them. Went to use one a few months ago and it looked like swiss cheese there were so many holes in it when I held it up to the light. Let me know if you find someone with better neck cork as I am interested also. Steve
 

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Watch out for "filled cork" where cork dust has been added to the holes and then held in place with some type of adhesive (super glue?). The problem I have experienced with filled cork is that the "plugs" are so hard that they don't sand as easily as the surrounding cork. The result is that when installing a mouthpiece that is a bit snug on the cork even with cork grease, the edge of the mouthpiece shank catches the protruding "plug" and pries it out. I would prefer to have cork with pock marks that can be filled with cork grease or paraffin than cork with hard "plugs".
 

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Watch out for "filled cork" where cork dust has been added to the holes and then held in place with some type of adhesive (super glue?). The problem I have experienced with filled cork is that the "plugs" are so hard that they don't sand as easily as the surrounding cork. The result is that when installing a mouthpiece that is a bit snug on the cork even with cork grease, the edge of the mouthpiece shank catches the protruding "plug" and pries it out. I would prefer to have cork with pock marks that can be filled with cork grease or paraffin than cork with hard "plugs".
Absolutely concur. I also find that selling "filled" cork sheet as plain old sheet cork is a pretty shady business practice.......if it's done.
 

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Watch out for "filled cork" where cork dust has been added to the holes and then held in place with some type of adhesive (super glue?). The problem I have experienced with filled cork is that the "plugs" are so hard that they don't sand as easily as the surrounding cork. The result is that when installing a mouthpiece that is a bit snug on the cork even with cork grease, the edge of the mouthpiece shank catches the protruding "plug" and pries it out. I would prefer to have cork with pock marks that can be filled with cork grease or paraffin than cork with hard "plugs".

Filled cork has improved hugely over the years.
From some suppliers at least, the plugs do not fall out, are just as soft as the rest of the cork, and behave just the same as the rest of the cork.
It must have been only a matter of finding the right bonding agent, and mixing it well with the dust.

I try to avoid large plugs at the open end of a tenon, but otherwise don't worry about them for standard tenons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the helpful replies! I'm gonna fish around but maybe I'll find the quality is fairly similar. I've had good luck with MusicMedic stuff in general so I have to assume they're trying to get the best stuff possible.
thanks,
Klook
 

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Hmm, I feel like JL Smith's Synthetic Sheet got skipped over. For me, it is the very best material for neck and tenon cork. I use tan material but they even have sheets that are made to look like natural cork but are perfectly uniform. I haven't tried the sheets with the adhesive backing.

http://www.jlsmithco.com/synthetic-sheet
Our quiet black and firm black synthetic sheets are of the same material we make our brass instrument washers.The solid tan is the same we make our watercorks from (and older style tenon corks).The "cork" style is the same we make our sax neck and tenon corks from. Sheets without adhesive can be glued up with contact cement. When working with adhesive backed sheets, you can improve the bond by applying contact cement to the part you are "corking".

All sheets are 4" x 6" (101mm x 152mm) and available with or without adhesive backing.
syn_cork.jpg
 

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I tried that stuff quite a while ago and rejected it in favour of natural cork. Unfortunately I've forgotten why. Perhaps it was just too difficult to sand to an ideal cylindrical shape of suitable diameter.
 

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Thanks for all the helpful replies! I'm gonna fish around but maybe I'll find the quality is fairly similar. I've had good luck with MusicMedic stuff in general so I have to assume they're trying to get the best stuff possible.
thanks,
Klook
Re filled natural cork, I think all our sellers try to get the best possible. (And it possibly all comes from the same source in Portugal) What arrives is quite a variety.
It is reasonable to assume that certain customers will get preference for the better sheets. (If I was a technician at MM I would grab the best sheets for my own work. :) )

For the unfilled sheets our suppliers would grade it themselves, with quite a big price range inflicted.
There was info about this on Krass's web site.
 

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Yes, This happened to me also. I ordered a bunch years ago and never really looked at them. Went to use one a few months ago and it looked like swiss cheese there were so many holes in it when I held it up to the light. Let me know if you find someone with better neck cork as I am interested also. Steve
I think that if you aren't a regular customer, they may not pick the best for you. I've had no problems with MM cork, just slower delivery since they moved into their new quarters in lovely Wilmington, NC a few years ago.
 

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It happened again just the other day. I was re-corking two necks that came with a Cannonball soprano sax and on one one of them even though the cork was sanded thin enough, pushing the mouthpiece on the last 1/4" pried up one of the "plugs" in the cork forcing me to start over. My question is, does anyone know a technique to prevent the plugs from doing this? I always fit corks so that the mouthpiece can go all the way to the end, and this "failure" tends to occur near the end where the cork is the thinnest. I have been using 1/16" and 3/64" from both Music Medic and JL Smith.
 
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