One of the things I really enjoy is trimming / making my key and bumper cork work as clean as possible. The truth is that the key materials are hidden on the underside of the key-work and most of my customers will never know it's there....but **I** know it's there and it makes me happy to know I spent time on making it look nice.
Here's a quick snapshot of key / bumper materials glued onto clarinet key-work before it gets trimmed up really nice and neat. Old materials have to be stripped off and the keys need to be roughed up for the glue to adhere properly. Using fresh razor blades, scalpels, sandpaper and other abrasives we'll trim up the materials to follow the contour of the key.
I'll post a follow up so you can see the difference after the materials are 'manicured' properly.
On the bench -- an old-school Buffet R13 that's nearly 60 years old. I particularly dig the old cases with their catch phrase on the inside. I wonder if Buffet still feels the same way about their instruments after all this time. Buffet was OG cool before everyone else.
Anyhow, keys are stripped and ready to get dropped into the polishing tumbler while I find some lunch.
So far, a good Monday and I'm glad to be making headway on some of my back burner projects.
Today I'll be finishing up this Buffet Bb Tosca for the USAF Band of the West.
It's hard not to get spoiled with this job from time to time...I get to handle and play some of the nicest instruments.
The marks you see on the key-work is sharpie that I use during evaluations to indicate issues that need to be corrected. It removes easily enough with a little bit of silver polish.
I recently took in a Loree top joint with a previously repaired crack that had been fairly stable over the few years that I've been working on it.
For whatever reason, the recent shift in weather to cold and very dry caused a massive shift in the stability of the joint and caused it to sustain a surface crack along the side of the instrument just below the 2nd / knuckle octave key. The previously repaired trill-key tone holes re-cracked and caused a leak in the inserts and a new crack formed in the G# tone hole. Weird.
The odd thing is that previously cracked joints I've encountered over the years don't typically suffer from that kind of catastrophic failure multiple times. A leak around the inserts is no biggie but a major timber shift causing a whole new set of large surface cracks isn't common. I was able to recover the seal and get it patched up again but I may be considering / monitoring this instrument as a candidate for joint replacement.
Repair Tech Quick-Tip: If you're not using IC-2000 to crack / gap-fill you owe it to yourself to at least pick up a bottle to try. It's 'cheap' AND 'good'...for what I'm using it for anyways.
I've not actually tested it for shearing strength or its adhesive properties (it's probably good for sticking things together too) but I can tell you it works a treat for filling surface cracks and chips in grenadilla wood bodies. Even better...it's full of powdered rubber and carbon dust so it's black!
The last two shots have the shadows super blown out so you can see how well the glue finished up a hairline crack.
The 2nd to last photo is after 1 application and the very last photo is 2 applications and a touch more sanding / blending. The crack is basically gone...no camera or lighting tricks. Bonus Nachos: I didn't spend any more than 15 minutes on this repair.
Good stuff -- and much thanks to fellow tech and friend, Juan Caino for turning me on to this great glue. I will never NOT have a bottle of this in my inventory.
A beautiful Howarth XL in for (unfortunately) some drop damage.
As of right now, the 2nd / knuckle octave sticks open, the LH pinky cluster is non-operative and the Db / Eb pinky cluster is stuck open.
Bummer...but I do think we can get these pounded out reasonably easy with a bit of care and luck.
Repair is like that sometimes. Occasionally you use a $10 hammer to fix a nearly $10,000 oboe. I do love the absolutely gorgeous wooden cases these come in though.
A J series Loree AK in for some routine maint.
A few of the sliding corks are in desperate need of being replaced but overall the instrument is in great shape.
There's also a few hairline cracks in the trill key tone holes that we'll fill with superglue before sending her home.
Straight forward repair -- we very much like these.
Greetings and Happy New Year!
It's Jan 1 and that means it's time to get back into the swing of things. It's hard to believe I'm heading into year 11 of repairing for all of you wonderful folks and I've somehow managed to wear out yet ANOTHER shop apron (I bought a replacement).
Important Points to remember for 2019:
-- The appointment calendar is currently open for appointments but folks have already started panic booking for the start of the season. According to my booking software, I'm already into the week of Jan 14 with just a few slots left for the week of Jan 7.
-- Pricing on Clean / Oil / Adjustment and maint work will remain the same. I don't see a reason to change right now unless there's a world wide run on cork or something.
-- Turnaround times are already gearing up to be on the long side of things (10 instruments / customers currently in the pipeline for 2019).
-- If you can take the simple stuff like tenon corks and missing key felts to your local big box stores to get you by in the meantime that'd probably be best. I love you all but I HAVE to be fair to everyone that is patiently waiting their turn and booked early.
-- I anticipate things will settle down once we get into TMEA and the final stages of the All-State process are all wrapped up.
-- Pro and Semi Pro Players: Crack repairs that need pins and inserts are almost always a minimum of 2 weeks or longer but I will gladly temporarily glue cracks at little to no cost to you if it's an emergency. Please be responsible though and CALL me AHEAD of time for this...don't wait until the day of your plane flight to an important audition to realize it's a problem.
-- Legit After-Hours Emergencies: I will always do my best to accommodate you but we will both need to reasonable with respect to after-hours meetings. It is YOUR responsibility to contact me AHEAD of time. If you decide to randomly text me at 10pm because your tenon cork fell off a week ago, I will absolutely ignore you.
Let's make 2019 awesome!
Thanks again and I'll see you all soon!
A Buffet R13 Bb clarinet that I recently put 3 tone hole inserts into.
Here's the process from the start to finish including some close-up shots of the tools I use to shape, blend and ream the inserts to completion.
I'm pretty happy with the way this one came out so I thought I'd add it to the portfolio.