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Beginner Lubricating the horn

randulo

Playing alto 2.25 years
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3,757
Sorry to disagree with that video, but I have owned cars where I had to add oil between changes!
Seeing the number of tools and substances makes me think I'll leave it to the repair shop once a year. I've had mine about a year, but I left it in the shop several months after purchasing it when I was out of town and the tech supposedly checked it over. I say supposedly because there was nothing wrong with it as far as I could tell and still isn't.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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1,800
Sorry to disagree with that video, but I have owned cars where I had to add oil between changes!
Yes I thought that was a bit of a clunky comparison. Bit of a top up of fluids between services isn't unusual. It's about as Mechanically expert as I get..
 

randulo

Playing alto 2.25 years
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3,757
Of course, the fact that I blew up an engine going over the pass between Bakersfield and L.A. may not give me any authority... but I am for letting a true repair person do all the maintenance on the complex machine that is a saxophone.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
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2,595
I oil mine using a med viscosity Sax oil from music medic 3-4 times a year.

i put oil at every intersection and for the upper and middle ones holding the horn in a wat that gravity might help in getting the oil into where it’s needed. I work the keys and maybe add a bit more depending On how it feels and looks. i clean up most of the excess. I have always thought that a bit too much is better than too little.
 

jbtsax

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A tip my mentor taught me is that oil will travel toward a heat source. If you add a few drops of oil at the ends of a hinge tube and carefully heat the center of the tube with a hot air gun, it will draw the oil into the center. This works expecially well when your are trying to free up a "frozen" key using penetrating oil.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,327
Only one way to find out - set up an experiment and see what happens.
Which is exactly what I did - and found that all that 'wicking' malarkey is a complete load of old guff, and that oil moves around by virtue of a peristaltic pumping action (which, rather annoyingly, pumps oil away from the point where it's most needed every time a key is pressed).
Funny thing is, the claggier and more viscous the oil is...the more likely it is to resist being pumped away from the pressure points.

Not that I've been keeping it a secret or anything....it's been up on my site for the past eight years.
Well-done, but this doesn't address my main argument (quite valid):

There's no need for a sax to be 'oiled' in this manner between a regular yearly servicing. It may make the owner feel like they are caring for their horn, but it is an unnecessary thing (it also begs the question would a player be able to ascertain whether the lubing on the keys is actually in need of any 'help' between servicing ?)

If the key action actually got to a point where it was noticeably sluggish, I am not going out on much of a limb to posit that most techs would not suggest "oil the keys at the barrel seams"...
...but rather would suggest "bring it in, it may not have to do with lubrication at all". Which would be a pretty reasonable suggestion.

As an aside - how could you ascertain that the oil actually wicked all the way in ? The only way to do that would be to actually visually see the oil's location in between the rod and interior of barrel while all keys are in situ..., which cannot be done. If one were to actually remove (or partially remove) the pivot rod in order to ascertain this, there would be no eureka moment here, because removing the pivot rod of course would redistribute the oil all along the rod (and interior barrel surfaces) as it is being pulled out.
 
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Stephen Howard

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1,747
Well-done, but this doesn't address my main argument (quite valid):

There's no need for a sax to be 'oiled' in this manner between a regular yearly servicing. It may make the owner feel like they are caring for their horn, but it is an unnecessary thing (it also begs the question would a player be able to ascertain whether the lubing on the keys is actually in need of any 'help' between servicing ?)
How do you feel the peristaltic action plays into this?
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,327
How do you feel the peristaltic action plays into this?
How can you resolutely claim that such action actually evenly distributes the oil internally ? As I noted above, last paragraph, you can only posit this, as it is impossible to see. And any attempts at seeing it results in displacement of the oil.

Also, is topically cleaning the exterior of the seam with a small brush and tissue paper going to adequately remove the grime and particles which are present below the immediate surface ?
If not, then indeed as Matt notes, oil applied to the seam (which will penetrate as you say) becomes a carrier of the particles which are not removed by surface brushing.

We are getting into the nitty gritty minutiae here, which is fine. But I do not want my main point to be lost - to properly lube keywork, the keys need to be taken off. Any other method is quite arguably compromised.
So if a DIY'er really wants to lube their sax in between servicings, then they need to bone up on properly disassembling and reassembling their keywork, and buying the adequate tools to do so,
 
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jbtsax

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Putting aside the issue of the oil being drawn into the hinge tube (or key barrel), an argument can be made for applying a lubricant where the key rotates against the face of the post. The fact that keys need to be swedged after a period of time indicates that there is wear as a result of friction at these locations.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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1,747
Is an acrylic barrel a brass barrel ?
Nope, it isn't. Are you trying to make the point that it's not as stiff as brass? There are ways to factor that in, and the stiffness of the material is secondary to the action which generates the pumping action.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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1,747
Putting aside the issue of the oil being drawn into the hinge tube (or key barrel), an argument can be made for applying a lubricant where the key rotates against the face of the post. The fact that keys need to be swedged after a period of time indicates that there is wear as a result of friction at these locations.
It gets there anyway. Each key press/release results in the oil being pushed our onto the face of the pillar and then being drawn back in again. Assuming there's enough oil left in the barrel.
 
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How can you resolutely claim that such action actually evenly distributes the oil internally ? As I noted above, last paragraph, you can only posit this, as it is impossible to see. And any attempts at seeing it results in displacement of the oil.
Schrodinger's oil
EDIT: Sorry, Heisenberg not Schrodinger... failed joke :/
 
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