Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Taking care of your instrument

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flutego12
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Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by flutego12 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:02 pm

I have been away from the workbench for a bit due to life... How is everyone? Have missed you all - Bob, Steve, Joe, Adam and Phineas. I hope you are all well and ever evolving to the next level of sagedom =) ...still waters for me lately.

Have sometime to look at workbench again... looking for general tools but so many variations. Wondering if anyone has any advice which is better for:

1) Heating pads (flute/clarinet/sax) - alcohol lamp or torches (butane/ acetylene) or heat gun - want to avoid oxidation of silverplate/ burning lacquer

2) Levelling keycups - Ferrees v JLS v musicmedic v Votaw v Allied tools...wedges/popsicle stick vs. fingers

3) Levelling pads - pad stick v pad rings v pad levers

I actually made the mistake of purchasing the Kowalski open cup key levelling pliers i/o the plataeu or back arm pliers* - he did advise me correctly but I was curious. =(

I've just found time and begun tinkering with the saxophone but the flute is still my main instrument. The embouchure is going through a slight crisis on the flute front but am hawking it. Curiosity got the better of me. =(.
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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by mirwa » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:30 am

I use a butane torch for 95 percent of my work, heating shellac, soft soldering, heating spatulas for ironing pads ect.

I have alcohol lamps and think they are a waste of time, just way to slow.

Acetylene is too harsh, good for hard soldering but nothing else, I do all my hard soldering with oxy acetylene and a smith torch

Vortex air gun, bought one, used one, donated it to another repairer, he loves it I hated it.

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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by pied_piper » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:02 pm

Welcome back fg12!

Like Steve, I've tried most of the same heating tools except the acetylene torch. Unlike Steve, I have some different preferences.

Butane torch (ala Blazer) - I use that mostly for small soldering jobs both hard and soft. Don't like it for padding work though.

Propane torch - used for larger soldering jobs

Alcohol lamp - Until recently, that was my mainstay for padding work, but I share some of Steve's frustrations with it.

Vortex Air torch - I got one a short while back. It is growing on me and I'm using it more often as I get more practice with it. I like that you can dial in a specific temperature and there is no flame so pads, felts, and corks won't get scorched. It will also do very small soft soldering jobs nicely without scorching lacquer and little darkening of silver. BTW - The Vortex Air torch is actually the same device as a 858D hot air soldering station. Look on eBay or Amazon. They are much cheaper than the ones marketed for WW repair. Buy it now price is around $45-60 USD. Auctions start at about $10 USD. :D

Leveling keycups - Depends upon instrument. For flute, usually just a piece of felt and my fingers to gently tilt it. If the keycup is bent, I remove it and place it on a steel bench block and use gentle taps with a rawhide mallet to straighten it.

Leveling pads in key cup - Pad slick

Regarding your Sax/Flute crisis, I've played both (and others) for years and it just takes time to get used to switching back and forth. There is hope! You'll get the hang of it. Last week, I was reading from two different parts and switching instruments in mid-work. See photo...
Instruments2 (Medium).JPG
Instruments2 (Medium).JPG (64.73 KiB) Viewed 6015 times
On the music stand: Tin Whistles in C and D. On the floor stand, Clarinet, Soprano sax, Flute, and Piccolo. 8)
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by mirwa » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:46 pm

Actually I can remember when starting out, it was hard switching between instruments, but as time goes by, it just be comes second nature.

I don't think of how I'm playing, be it on a sax/clarinet/flute/bassoon/oboe/trumpet/trombone/French horn etc etc

Your body just adapts to the embochure needed and fingers do the walking according to the sheet music

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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by JButky » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:16 pm

I use the Votaw pad cup heater on piccolos and clarinets. Have the Smith little torch oxy/acetylene for hard soldering. Acetylene and air for regular soldering. Don't care for the air torch...
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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:08 pm

It really depends on what I'm doing. I personally really like alcohol lamps though I do have some frustrations with them (flame size control, visibility, how quickly I go through denatured alcohol, and that the little knob that feeds the wick is inconsistent). But it allows me to use really low heat which I like when I use french cement. I generally use the alcohol lamp on trill key pads and large solid surface pads (no hole or resonator in the middle) like clarinet pads. I use an acetylene torch with an adjustable tip for a lot of things. I use it on very small keys that need a tiny flame, very large keys where I need to use more heat (saxes mainly), all forms of soldering... Any time I'm using hot melt glue. If I'm using george's glue it depends on the key cup.

Just depends on what suits my fancy in that particular moment. Like a Sankyo I worked on this past week. Used an acetylene torch exclusively. I had to resolder the lower rib on the main body in addition to a lot of tonehole and padding work. :roll:

As for key cup leveling and pad leveling... meh. Just depends on what I've got laying around. Sometimes a popsicle stick, sometimes an L shaped piece of leather I have, sometimes the spine of a razor blade, sometimes the levelers that Ferree's sells, sometimes a Q-tip stick, sometimes a piece of plastic... Just depends. Usually it's decided by which one I see first that will do the trick. As for leveling the pad while it's in the pad cup, either a pad slick or a saxophone pad tucker. If it's a cork pad though, I don't use anything. I plug all the holes, heat the cup and draw suction until the glue sets. The suction pulls the pad perfectly flat... mostly. That's assuming I've already done all of the prep work for a cork pad though.

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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by flutego12 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:50 am

:) :D WhOA! WOW!

Thank you ALL for your generous advice - I'm totally blown away. I should have checked back earlier before I sent for items ... THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS!

Bob you're gold! ... but I got blooming ripped off already =( :cry: (Diff is AUD100) Should have ordered the Votaw i/o Vortex first. Pray tell what the generic names are for the :wink: 1) super nova LED leaklight and 2) votaw padcup heater ... on ebay :mrgreen:

This goes to show It's WHO you know. :idea: :wink:

Thanks again Steve, Bob, Adam, Joe. I think I will go ahead with the votaw padcup heater (hope to be able to use it on the nickel sax key cups too like the YAS 23) - is it a fire risk tho ? I also like the Super Nova Led leaklight. Am all ears if you have "alternatives" on ebay.

=============================================================================
Adam is wise to take the formal route. I feel like I've gone backwards, embouchure included. Thanks for all your encouragement.

Recently sent for Saska and Napbirt Manuals. Haven't the chance to open them yet. Can't wait to sink teeth into them. Chat again soon.

Take care all. <3

PS Have been looking fwd to repadding an old martin altoC3 since last year ... ok so I don'tknow what I'm in for :mrgreen: Thankfully the the tone holes solders are still good. Fingers crossed.
Last edited by flutego12 on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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flutego12
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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by flutego12 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:56 am

Hey nice set up, Bob! I have the same metal Saxophone stand too - seller tossed it in the deal - I like them. Embouchure have yet to crystallize at the appropriate settings tho :wink:
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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by pied_piper » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:53 pm

flutego21 - If you are starting sax repair and you are on Facebook, you might want to join the Hobbyist Band Repair group. It's pretty active and tends to focus on sax repair. Some step-by-step videos posted there too.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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Re: Woodwind Bench: alcoholLamp vs Torches (Butane or Acetylene) vs Vortex Air Gun

Post by pied_piper » Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:32 pm

"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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