This is a step-by-step list that breaks down my overhaul process
First step is fabrication of new parts (if necessary). Metal parts are cut, turned, died, and/or shaped to create new or replacement parts on the saxophone. This is only done if necessary, so the process may not start here for you!
In this stage, the fabricated parts are attached using either soft or hard solder carefully so as not to burn too much lacquer. Lacquer that is lost will be supplemented at a later stage with Jax Gold Finish (or other finish if sax is not gold).
Tone holes are checked for roundness and being level. I use rounded pliers to correct roundness and tone hole files to plane them perfectly flat – cleaning the burrs away with tin foil after. This is done by hand, not with a drill as it can be. This only has to be done one time ever. If I see that this has been done correctly already, I will leave this alone.
Here I will clean out the hinge tubes of old oil using quality pipe cleaner and naptha. All hinge tubes and rods will be completely straightened until rods can free fall through the hinge tubes.
Posts are checked for straightness and tight fit around rods. If rods are too loose, they are replaced.
Key fit will be corrected with swedging (swaging) pliers, which pinches the hinge tube in a way that pushes the metal outward, lengthening the tube and filling the gap between posts – alternatively, length can be added to hinge tube by using solder. After swedging, straightness of hinge tube is checked and corrected for rod ‘free-fall’ standard.
Exact size springs are chosen first, the ends are peened to create a wedge for tight fitting in the post and then are bent to basically where I think they need to be so to allow for trustworthy pad seating.
Regulation of the springs comes only during the adjustment step when the weight of the keys can actually be felt.
I like to use Roo Pads from Music Medic, they are tough skins, they come in black, brown, or white and never stick. They are more expensive than other pads, but their durability makes it worthwhile for my sake during the seating process and for the customer because it takes a longer time for these to break down. We can talk about resonator types if you have a preference, otherwise I tend to go with something fairly large like you see in the image to the left.
I use stick shellac in my seating process, I have been open to hot glue – even the shop I currently work at seems to prefer hot glue – but I find it more difficult to cooperate with.
Old adjustment material – felts, corks, heat shrink – is removed and replaced with new material. Corks are all cut to the right size and then shaped in a way to properly absorb energy from moving parts. I strive to make your horn the quietest that it can be, and of course in perfect adjustment for well timed seals across multiple pads.
This step is all about cleanup adjustments for anything that has moved during any of the other processes. This includes bending keys and basic work involved in a standard adjustment to see that everything is aligned properly. Adjustment is regularly done on the horn up to this point (especially during pad work) but brass has a memory that has to continually be accounted for. It is at this time that I may finally over-bend a key so that it’s memory will carry it part way back to it’s starting place. Despite only taking a matter of minutes per key, it is a fairly long process in that I have to continually set the horn down to let the metal settle for a while before bending it again ad nauseam. During this time I also regulate and adjust spring tension to make for a light and even feeling saxophone. I take time to play the horn and notice things that could be overlooked during the purely mechanical work.
I adorn your instrument with at least a custom wooden neck plug. I have built wooden saxophone stands in the past and am working to make wooden saxophone buttons/key touches and palm key risers.
Give me a call or an email and we can talk about what your horn needs to make it play it’s best.