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Dumpster Diving for Saxophones

jbtsax

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In 2008 I saw a for sale ad on SOTW for a Mark VI alto allegedly found by someone in a dumpster in New Jersey. The seller was asking for $1000 for the sax in a new case without a neck. Having more money than good sense at the time, I went for it. Subsequently I paid another $400 for a Mark VI alto neck that someone had engraved their name on the side. I have worked on the project off and on for the past 4 years. My wife and I refer to it affectionately as our "Dumpster Horn". A pictorial review can be found at this link:


Mark VI Dumpster Alto

Hopefully I will get it assembled in time to take to the NAPBIRT Saxophone University workshop July 16-20 conducted by Jeff Peterson of Yamaha to finish the overhaul under his supervision. It has been a real labor of love. Eventually body will have a bead blasted satin silver finish with polished silver accents, and polished silver keys done by Jeff Frasier of J & J woodwinds in Louisiana.
 

jonf

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That's an amazing slideshow, thanks for posting. I'd love to see the fnished horn when it's back together. How did you deal with the bend/crush damage to the top of the tube?

Jon
 

jonf

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BTW, I am particularly interested in this as I did something similar, although less of a challenge. I bought a Yano A6 from SOTW for £80, also without neck. I got a new Yano neck in a sale from Howarths and then got Griff to patch it up. He did a fantastic job and I now have a great sax for very little outlay.
 

jbtsax

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That's an amazing slideshow, thanks for posting. I'd love to see the fnished horn when it's back together. How did you deal with the bend/crush damage to the top of the tube?

Jon
That was one area that I needed some help from my mentor who is very skilled at doing brass repair. He cut the rib at the top with a jeweler's saw and unsoldered the portion that was overlapping the severe bend. The reasoning was it is much easier to straighten and remove the dents from one layer of brass rather than two. We then inserted two steel rods in the body one coming from each direction and had them meet at the bend. The metal was very slowly "coaxed" part of the way back into shape by carefully applying pressure using the steel rods as levers.

When about 60% of the bend was removed a tapered polished steel mandrel made specifically for Mark VI altos was inserted in the body as far as it would reach. Then the remainder of the crease was tapped using small dent hammers and smoothed with small rollers while inching the tapered mandrel further in as the work progressed. The special mandrel which is ridiculously expensive to have made was rented from the JL Smith Co. The shipping cost more than the rental fee, but a quality repair would have been impossible without it.

At first we thought we might have to heat the brass, but it turned out to be malleable enough to straighten without resorting to the torch which made the repair more manageable and less time consuming. Sharp bends in a brass instrument can have a tendency to break or crack when they are bent back the other way even when every precaution is taken. There was a bit of luck involved in having this repair go as well as we had hoped for.
 

aldevis

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He cut the rib at the top with a jeweler's saw and unsoldered the portion that was overlapping the severe bend.
CSI meets ER.
I am pleased you didn't have to use a torch
 

Greg Strange

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It's a real credit to yourself to restore the horn back to it's former glory - excellent stuff.

I remember years ago Steve Howard posted something on the old saxophone news group that a client of his found a Selmer baritone, a Model 22 I think in a rubbish skip in London while walking past a construction site...

Regards,

Greg S.
 
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RMorgan

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Hey mate,

Good luck with that one!

I´ve found a video of a guy who overhauled a Mark VI which was found, believe it or not, under the sea, in Puerto Rico! So, anything is possible! :)

Here´s the first video; I believe it´s a series of six videos (the rest of them is on youtube as well) :


Cheers,

Raf.
 
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RMorgan

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Here´s the final video, after the complete overhaul:


Raf.
 
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breathless

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To think that was lying at the bottom of the sea!
Not the sort of artifacts I look for when I'm rooting around a wreck on the bottom of the English chanel but I'll now look differently from now on!

Lee.
 

RMorgan

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To think that was lying at the bottom of the sea!
Not the sort of artifacts I look for when I'm rooting around a wreck on the bottom of the English chanel but I'll now look differently from now on!

Lee.
Amazing indeed, my friend! This is what we could call an instrument with quite some history!

I just think they´ve polished it too much. I would rather leave it with a little bit of that "bottom of the sea" look; I think it would give it more character; letting the sax tell his story by itself.

Cheers,

Raf.
 

breathless

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The alure that attracts me to all things found at the bottom of the sea is the story of how it got there!
The possibilities are endless? A ship wreck, thrown over board in anger or frustration?

Certainly is a story there! And yes I agree with your thought that it's been polished away!

Rgds Lee.
 

aldevis

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I´ve found a video of a guy who overhauled a Mark VI which was found, believe it or not, under the sea, in Puerto Rico! So, anything is possible! :)
Almost a titanic job.

But jbtsax work is well above human possibilities. I am craving to see and hear the final product.
 

RMorgan

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Almost a titanic job.

But jbtsax work is well above human possibilities. I am craving to see and hear the final product.
You´re right, mate. He´s really done an impressive job with that saxophone.

jbtsax, congratulations man! You´re an example of patience and perseverance!

I can´t wait to see and hear your Mark VI! :)

Raf.
 

jbtsax

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I have added a few more pictures to the slideshow of the sax fully assembled. I will post some more pictures after it has been plated by Doc Frazier of J & J Woodwinds. Thanks all for the compliments.

 

aldevis

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Thank you for the happy ending!
What did you decide for the final finishing (re-lacquering, re-engraving...)?
 
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