Saxophone Forum


by daniel77
(2 posts)
4 months ago

Learning to repair bent keys

Hello everyone,

My primary player is a YTS-23 that I love. I also have an Antigua Winds tenor that was an I'll-advised purchase from the start. It will need close to a full re-pad to play, has issues with the neck tenon and some of the keys are pretty badly bent. Since it's pretty much a write off anyways I figured it would be a good candidate to learn sax repair on. I've found plenty of resources on repadding and may end up having to pay to have the neck tenon re-threaded and the thumb screw replaced, but I'm not sure about how to adjust the keys. Are there any suggested resources available to guide me in this endeavor or am I better off just cutting my losses and selling it to be someone's wall decoration?

 

Thank you!

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  1. by mijderf
    (218 posts)

    4 months ago

    Re: Learning to repair bent keys

    If you have never done this type or work before, you may find that you will spend many hours on the work, and after replacing all pads, it still might not play well due to inexperience.  Getting all the pads to seal well with keys that you try to straighten is probably more work than it is worth.  Then once all the pads are replaced, you will have to make the fine adjustments that allow the key reguation to work in sync.  Oh, and after a few trials, you will find that there are certain pad combinations you want to work on in groups due to the reassembly order of parts.
    You don't mention the model of Antigua, but I probably would cut my losses at this point. 

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  2. by GFC
    (794 posts)

    4 months ago

    Re: Learning to repair bent keys

    Since it's a write-off, I see no harm in learning some repair skills.  Bending damaged keys is the riskiest part of repair, since bending them back can break them if you don't have the right tools and haven't developed the right technique for bending brass.  Depending on the severity of the bends, the keys may have experienced work hardening from the damage, that is, ithe brass becomes stiffer and more brittle, increasing the risk of breakage.  If that has happened, you may have to heat them up with a torch to counteract the work hardening so you can bend them back.  So you'd need at least some parallel jaw duckbill pliers, a lot of patience, and maybe a small butane torch for the key repair.  If the keys are bent, the straightness of the hinges is also suspect.  A fixed electric motor is generally used to straighten bent rods.  You might be able to devise one by securing an electric drill to a workbench.  Keep in mind, working with brass, that it tends to spring back, so you'll need to develop a feel for overbending.  If you're patient and reasonably lucky, you could get the keys in some semblance of working order and decide if you want to continue.  Then you'd have the more costly part of repair in front of you and the big decisions as to how you'd want to set the horn up.  You'd need to assess how level the toneholes are, which could restrict the pads you are able to use.  Or you could decide to level the toneholes, which can be done with carefully-sized pieces of plate glass with fine sandpaper glued on them if you don't want to spring for tonehole files ($$$).  If, alternatively, you end up breaking a key or burning the lacquer, lessons learned on an expendable horn. 

    Musicmedic.com, Stohrermusic.com, and saxgourmet.com have good articles on saxophone repair, and tools and materials can be gotten from Musicmedic.  Sometimes you can find better prices on tools and supplies through Amazon.  

    If you do decide to repair the horn, good luck and don't let it threaten your sanity!


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  3. by daniel77
    (2 posts)

    4 months ago

    Re: Learning to repair bent keys

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    1. by GFC
      (794 posts)

      4 months ago

      Re: Learning to repair bent keys

      Is there some specific information you are seeking?  I honestly think you've been provided the resources you can use to arrive at your decision.  But if anxiety is getting the better of you, maybe it's a sign that undertaking the the repair project is not what you need for your own peace of mind.

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