All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Wire tone hole guard foot problem

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
I am renovating an old Martin and one of the problems is that one of the lower guards has taken a knock which has pulled the wire leg of the guard out of its foot leaving it attached to the body, I have removed the guard as it is badly mis- shaped and also removed the foot,I am assuming that the the foot is fixed to the leg using silver solder so as to enable the assembly to be soldered to the body,on trying to re silver solder the foot back on I was surprised how quickly the silver solder wire I have bought melted which has left me worried that it may detach again when I refit the whole guard .....any advise will be much appreciated ...John
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,925
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Silver solder has a much higher melting point than soft solder so there shouldn't be a problem. If you're suspicious about the quality of the siver solder you could test it by siver soldering two scrap test pieces together and soft soldering another test piece to them.

What are you using to heat the silver solder and soft solder?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,927
Locality
Just north of Munich
Be careful. Get it a touch too hot and your tone holes will fall off. Soft solder is good for guards. Also has the advantage that it'll knock off instead of bending the body as badly.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,787
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
There is a soft solder called "silver bearing" solder that melts at a much lower temperature than true silver solder. It is a bit stronger than typical soft solder, but should not be confused with "silver solder". Flow temperatures for silver solders depend upon their densities and go from 653°C up to 788°C. On the other hand "silver bearing" soft solder which is 4% silver and 96% tin has a flow temperature of just 221°C.

In my repair experience, soft soldering the foot to the leg with silver bearing soft solder Stay-brite, and then soft soldering the foot to the body with regular soft solder would work just fine. Also Kev makes an excellent point about being careful around soldered toneholes. :w00t:
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
Silver solder has a much higher melting point than soft solder so there shouldn't be a problem. If you're suspicious about the quality of the siver solder you could test it by siver soldering two scrap test pieces together and soft soldering another test piece to them.

What are you using to heat the silver solder and soft solder?

I used a pencil torch and was surprised how quickly the supposed silver solder melted
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
Be careful. Get it a touch too hot and your tone holes will fall off. Soft solder is good for guards. Also has the advantage that it'll knock off instead of bending the body as badly.

Yes it is a problem I was envisaging, I have toyed with the idea of removing all the tone holes and silver soldering them on, it actually looks like someone has had problems with one of the tone holes in the area of the guard before, there seems to be rather a lot of solder on the outside of it, all good fun .....John
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
There is a soft solder called "silver bearing" solder that melts at a much lower temperature than true silver solder. It is a bit stronger than typical soft solder, but should not be confused with "silver solder". Flow temperatures for silver solders depend upon their densities and go from 653°C up to 788°C. On the other hand "silver bearing" soft solder which is 4% silver and 96% tin has a flow temperature of just 221°C.

In my repair experience, soft soldering the foot to the leg with silver bearing soft solder Stay-brite, and then soft soldering the foot to the body with regular soft solder would work just fine. Also Kev makes an excellent point about being careful around soldered toneholes. :w00t:

Thanks jbt

I will have to look more closely at the spool of supposedly silver solder I have to see if it the genuine article it does say silver solder on it but who knows,could just be the fact that it is a fine wire that causes it to melt so quickly,
How on earth do you know what temp your putting on it .....JohnJohn
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,787
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Your "pencil torch" would not melt true "silver solder". I use MAP gas and oxygen when I silver solder (braze), even for small jobs. Is your solder wire stiff or very bendable? If it is not stiff then it is not the "real deal".

The only way I know to tell what temperature you are applying is how the solder behaves, but you first must know the melting and flow point of the solder you are using.
 

Ivan

Undecided
Café Supporter
Messages
7,907
Locality
Peeblesshire
So much to learn from jbtsax

Always a pleasure to read even though the chance of me ever renovating a sax is close to zero
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
Your "pencil torch" would not melt true "silver solder". I use MAP gas and oxygen when I silver solder (braze), even for small jobs. Is your solder wire stiff or very bendable? If it is not stiff then it is not the "real deal".

The only way I know to tell what temperature you are applying is how the solder behaves, but you first must know the melting and flow point of the solder you are using.

Hi John

Had a look at the spool of LEAD FREE SILVER SOLDER and it's like you say, probably the stay bright stuff only the constituents are slightly different, it's 4% silver 95.5% tin and 0.5% copper,so it looks like you have to be very careful when re attaching the guard to the body or it's likely to just drop off again.
Can you tell me if they would use the true Silver Solder at the factory to attach these feet because I have never had any problems in the past with them coming adrift when removing these wire guards.
If I attempted to use this stuff on the tone holes would it be a better job than the standard lead solder ....thanks.....john
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,060
Locality
I live in Exmouth Devon.
Hi John

Had a look at the spool of LEAD FREE SILVER SOLDER and it's like you say, probably the stay bright stuff only the constituents are slightly different, it's 4% silver 95.5% tin and 0.5% copper,so it looks like you have to be very careful when re attaching the guard to the body or it's likely to just drop off again.
Can you tell me if they would use the true Silver Solder at the factory to attach these feet because I have never had any problems in the past with them coming adrift when removing these wire guards.
If I attempted to use this stuff on the tone holes would it be a better job than the standard lead solder ....thanks.....john

John, the key guard feet would have been braised/hard soldered ( silver solder) onto the wire guard on your sax and the the guard would have been soft soldered, onto your sax body,using probably 60/40 lead/tin or something similar.

Generally a solder with a higher melting point will produce a stronger join. As with any solder joint the good recipe for success is a tight fit of both parts, spotlessly cleaned, degreased and fluxed. Followed by a thorough clean with a mild soapy water. For the best results I find that once all the preparation above is done and the two parts are held together securely, I cut a small piece of solder e.g. 5mm long for soldering a key post onto the body, then place it along the joint, add a little more flux using an oiling bottle with a needle dispenser on the end, heat the area, not just where the solder is, and wait until the solder flows. If the joints are clean the solder will run along the flux toward the heat. If I need more solder then I repeat the process. I prefer this method to the "feeding method"(where the roll of solder is fed onto the joint) as it saves on clean up time (excess solder etc).
Always bear in mind when soldering on instruments to remove any keys/pads/felts/cork in the vicinity or mask it from the heat using a heat shield ( I occasionally use a small soldering blanket or layers if tin foil) and any parts that are soldered onto the body are appropriately secured using wire and soldering clips.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
John, the key guard feet would have been braised/hard soldered ( silver solder) onto the wire guard on your sax and the the guard would have been soft soldered, onto your sax body,using probably 60/40 lead/tin or something similar.

Generally a solder with a higher melting point will produce a stronger join. As with any solder joint the good recipe for success is a tight fit of both parts, spotlessly cleaned, degreased and fluxed. Followed by a thorough clean with a mild soapy water. For the best results I find that once all the preparation above is done and the two parts are held together securely, I cut a small piece of solder e.g. 5mm long for soldering a key post onto the body, then place it along the joint, add a little more flux using an oiling bottle with a needle dispenser on the end, heat the area, not just where the solder is, and wait until the solder flows. If the joints are clean the solder will run along the flux toward the heat. If I need more solder then I repeat the process. I prefer this method to the "feeding method"(where the roll of solder is fed onto the joint) as it saves on clean up time (excess solder etc).
Always bear in mind when soldering on instruments to remove any keys/pads/felts/cork in the vicinity or mask it from the heat using a heat shield ( I occasionally use a small soldering blanket or layers if tin foil) and any parts that are soldered onto the body are appropriately secured using wire and soldering clips.

Hi Griff

Thanks a lot for your advice,I think I'll take a trip to my local jewellers supply store on Monday and see if I can get some of the real silver solder,I've been watching some silver soldering stuff on the tube and found it very interesting,I'm very tempted to have a go at the tone holes but a bit worried about the one I'm working on at the moment it's actually cut into the connecting ring between body and bow which I expect will be soft soldered together so I imagine that would involve dismantling before silver soldering the tone hole, I just love a challenge.
I have questions queuing up about tightening up the mechanism, there are massive gaps everywhere I find it hard to believe its just wear over the years there must be at least 1/16th between every key or key and post on the rods which seems a bit excessive to me, either way it's not had much TLC in the past despite having been re-lacquered, so swedging techniques might be a future topic ......thanks again ......john
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,925
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I think I have a few rods of silver solder knocking about in the cellar from my refrigeration repair days. If I can find them I'll bring them to the meet. I'd be very wary of using a high temperature torch on the main body of the sax. It's very easy to make a right mess. The temperatures involved will oxidise the surface of the brass never mind burn off the lacquer leaving a lot of polishing to do. It was easy soldering the copper pipes on refrigeration units because everthing was going to be painted black.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,787
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
You do not want to silver solder toneholes. Any gaps should be repaired using soft solder. The key is to clean the small area to be soldered first. In extreme cases the entire tonehole has to be unsoldered from the body, contact areas cleaned, and then resoldered using soft solder.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,444
Locality
manchester
I think I have a few rods of silver solder knocking about in the cellar from my refrigeration repair days. If I can find them I'll bring them to the meet. I'd be very wary of using a high temperature torch on the main body of the sax. It's very easy to make a right mess. The temperatures involved will oxidise the surface of the brass never mind burn off the lacquer leaving a lot of polishing to do. It was easy soldering the copper pipes on refrigeration units because everthing was going to be painted black.

Thanks for the offer and advice, but the next thing I did after my last post was a trip to Amazon and bought a few strips of silver solder for a few pounds to give it a try ......John
You do not want to silver solder toneholes. Any gaps should be repaired using soft solder. The key is to clean the small area to be soldered first. In extreme cases the entire tonehole has to be unsoldered from the body, contact areas cleaned, and then resoldered using soft solder.

Thanks John

I thought silver soldering the tone holes was the only way to guarantee that they never leaked again, I know it's a bit extreme and probably not strictly necessary as it doesn't seem to be leaking from them now but not sure yet, there seems to be work done on some of the tone holes and I'm not sure how good a job it was, I suppose if the old solder has lasted nearly a hundred years I won't be around to see if it fails again .....John
 
Last edited:

Members online

No members online now.

Popular Discussions

London
Paris
New York
Los Angeles
Sydney
Moscow
New Delhi
Top Bottom