Cracked Trumpet Leadpipe


Left Pic – Crack in trumpet leadpipe
Right Pic – Small piece of sheet brass cut to fabricate patch



Left Pic – Patch cut to diamond shape
Right Pic – Patch annealed(heated red hot) to soften it for forming around leadpipe



Left Pic – Patch soldered on
Right Pic – All cleaned up, buffed and spot lacquered

Broken Trumpet Finger Button


Left Pic – Finger button broken, leaving the broken threaded part in the stem
Right Pic – Holding the valve in a valve lapping block so I can drill out broken piece



Left Pic – I’m using a left twist drill bit(it cuts opposite of a normal bit) to begin to drill out the broken piece
Right Pic – The advantage of the left twist drill is, sometimes, it will catch and spin out the broken piece, as it it did here.



Left & Right Pic – All out

Installing a New Cello Bridge


After rough cutting (with a belt sander) the feet of the bridge, I use this homemade jig to fine tune the radius on the bottom of the feet to match the contour of the top. After finishing the feet, I’ll contour the top and thin the bridge to it’s final shape.

Clarinet Finger Ring Tone Holes

On older plastic clarinets, it’s not unusual to find the Finger Ring Tone Holes are machined separately and glued in. Consequently, they fall out occasionally<<<just don’t lose them! You lose them, then you’re paying to have them re-made.


Left Pic – Finger Tone Holes – OUT
Right Pic – Finger Tone Holes – IN

Broken Bass Clarinet Key

Bass clarinet comes in from a school with a broken Left Hand Low F#/C# Lever. This type of break requires that the key be silver-soldered (or brazed). The key is held in a jig and heated red hot, then silver solder is used to connect the broken pieces back together. If done properly, the break should be as strong, if not stronger, than the original key.


Left Pic – Broken F#/C# Lever
Right Pic – In the jig ready to be soldered



Left Pic – After soldering, but before cleanup and polishing
Right Pic – Back on the horn, polished and ready to go

Selmer Mark VII in for some tweaks

Everett Spells, local sax player & teacher brought his Selmer Mark VII Tenor in for a neck cork replacement and some tweaking. It had lots of rattles and clanks(as most horns develop over time). Some felt, some cork, some oil, and some heat shrink and it’s much much quieter now. I also had to adjust a few keys/pads, but nothing major. Don’t let appearances deceive you, this horn really blows! (<<<in the good kind of way!)

spells1 spells2


Soldering Stand


Great idea I picked up at a NAPBIRT Clinic a few years back. Using a snare drum stand to hold oddly shaped brass instruments for soldering. After I heard this, I was like “duh” why didn’t I think of this 20 years ago.

Pan American (Conn) Tenor Repad

1950’s-ish Pan American (by Conn) Tenor Sax in for a repad. Horn’s been re-lacquered at some point, but in good shape.


Left Pic – Ready for disassembly
Right Pic – See the set-screw in the side of the post? Allows you to tighten the pivot screw to remove key-slop, then “lock” the screw in place….gotta love old engineering!!!


Left Pic – Rub-a-dub-dub…..tenor in the tub
Right Pic – Old Pads


Left Pic – Removing old pads with a hot-air gun…lacquer seemed a bit sketchy, decided not to risk a torch
Right Pic – Old pads all removed


Left Pic – New pads sized, not glued in yet
Right Pic – Lower stack assembled, not floated or seated yet


Left Pic – Lower stack, floated, seated, clamped for a slight impression
Right Pic – Seating the High F with the hot-air gun.


Left Pic – Upper Stack done
Right Pic – All finished……plays pretty well for a low-end 60 year old horn