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Accessories Pad Size Tool From JBTSAX.

Disclaimer - I've known the maker of this product, JBTSAX, for many years through various on-line forums. However I've been as objective as I can. I have no interest in the product.


One of the things I found frustrating when I first started repairing saxes was getting the right sized pads. I'd measure the cups, order the pads and when they arrived, some would fit, others not. Getting the vernier out gave me the answers, of course, but it was time consuming and subject to a lot more error than you'd expect as the pressure on the sides of the pad affected the measurement by as much as half a millimetre.

This tool takes the guess work out - and is much much quicker than a set of calipers.

The Pad Size tool, looked to be simplicity itself, but was it accurate and as easy to use as claimed by the maker?

I was a bit put off by the price, especially as posatage to europe adds a lot, but I decided to take the plunge. And I'm glad I did. It's well made, accurate and very fast and easy to use.

It's well made from a thick piece of ply, with a good substantial folding prop at the back (like a photo frame), which folds up and is snugly held closed by a good sized pieces of velcro. The front has a series of calibrated measuring slots that you just slide the pads into, separate large and small in millimetres, and a single slot in 32nds of an inch. Couldn't be easier.

Instructions are clear and simple, not that they're really needed unless you feel the need to adjust it, which wasn't necessary for me.

I checked it out for accuracy against my lcd calipers, everything matched exactly (as long as I didn't overtighten the calipers). What surprised me was how accurate the little plastic ones were - and these were a freebie from somewhere a while ago.

I tried it on flute pads as well - worked just as well, and I was interested to see that the 2 different makes of 17mm pads I have have slightly different sizes.

The pic shows it in action - I'd bought a mixed bag of cheap chinese pads from ebay for fixing up cheap saxes. It was the work of a couple of minutes to size and mark the pads. Only problem was there isn't enough space on the smaller pads to write the size in.

You can also see in the shot that when a pad is undersize it doesn't line up with the markings. This is really helpful if you're looking for a pad to fit a cup that's not an exact metric size (e.g. on the older US saxes). Mark the undersize ones with a minus sign, and if you need one, sort through those quickly. And there's also a section for measuring pads in 32nds of an inch if you want to work that way.

One other tip on the instructions is to check the pads for roundness. Some of the pads had more than half a millimeter difference depending on which way across the centre you measured them.

The only quibble I've got is that the instructions say to drop the pad in near the top of the V. This works well, but if the pad is softish and drops into the lower half of the groove from this height, it'll be forced in a little too hard, so sliding in from a lower height works better.

So - highly recommended for guys doing a reasonable amount of pad work - it'll soon pay for itself in time and frustration saved.
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