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 Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-24 23:10

...so I got this Selmer alto clarinet ("Darth Tone") off That Auction Site, and, although it plays okay, some pads are getting ready to go south and I'd like to overhaul (disassemble, clean, repad etc) it like I did with all 2nd hand instruments.

Now the stupid question of the day - it's a one-piece-bodied instrument, so the screws in the middle are facing each other and are in each others' ways. Except from using eg a 90° angled screwdriver, what are my options?

<warning off-topic>
After honking half an hour on the new acquisition I switched back to my Bb soprano. Boy that thing is tiny in comparison, just as if I grabbed my daughter's soprano recorder after the Bb. And a lungful lasts nearly twice as long...but wow, it's a cool animal.

(Edit: fixed typo)

--
Ben

Post Edited (2006-08-25 19:58)

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-25 19:27

Ben:

I have an old Bundy that has the same problem of screw heads facing each other. Do you repair guys have tiny versions of those 90 deg. screwdrivers? (The smallest ones I've ever seen were for about 1/4" wide screw heads)

EuGene

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 19:51

Try this: Remove the keys attached to those post by removing the screws on the opposite (accessible) ends; then you can give the offending posts a half-turn to the left (counterclockwise) so that the formerly-inaccessible screws are now facing outward.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 19:57

David Spiegelthal wrote:

> Try this: Remove the keys attached to those post by removing
> the screws on the opposite (accessible) ends; then you can give
> the offending posts a half-turn to the left (counterclockwise)
> so that the formerly-inaccessible screws are now facing
> outward.

<checks> Hmm. All these posts are secured from being twisted with an extra screw.
What was plan B again? [wink]

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:25

Ben,

Remove the 'extra' (locking) screw, then turn the post! Plan "B" not needed yet.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:38
Attachment:  SecuringScrews.jpg (21k)

David Spiegelthal wrote:

> Remove the 'extra' (locking) screw, then turn the post! Plan
> "B" not needed yet.

The locking screw is under the key rod which I'd like to remove in the first place.

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: William Hughes 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:39

Possible Plan B: Package the thing up and send it to Centreville, Virginia USA. I got my Linton/Malerne alto back from Professor Spiegelthal's magic workshop today and it is beautiful! Thanks, Dave, and good luck, Ben.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-25 20:42

Ben, wouldn't it be cheaper for you to fly David over there to Zurich rather than ship the horn?

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:46

That'd be a tempting plan B if the shipping costs (>40$ one way) weren't more expensive than what I paid for the horn in the first place. Second, I'd like to learn something. I just thought there might be a hidden door and I just couldn't see it...

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:47

Ooh, ooh, I wanna go to Zurich! Great idea!

William, thanks for the kind words (and I'm glad your alto clarinet arrived safely, I wasn't aware it had!)

[toast]

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 20:53

> Ben, wouldn't it be cheaper for you to fly David over there to Zurich rather
> than ship the horn?

Hmmm. A repairfest in Zurich? Hmmm. Now you got me thinking... [wink]

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-25 21:09

. . . and David is packing a suitcase.

Now for a locking screw that's under the key rod. I have, among my tools, a flexible screwdriver - it is a full size one - that I can bend almost 90 deg. and still have a pretty fair amount of torque applied to a screw. Is there somethink of similar ilk in jeweler's screwdriver size for reaching under or behind things to remove a screw?

Eu

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 21:14

EuGeneSee,

you might want to make your own (not flexible, though, in these confined spaces) out of a steel rod or a nail etc of suitable size. Bend and file till you have a good 90° screwdriver. And pray that the screws don't sit too tightly.
I'd leave the locking screws alone, though. From what I have seen in production videos, the pillars are mounted, secured and only then - in situ - drilled and threaded. I see no compelling reason to disrupt this harmony.

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-25 21:30

Oh, boy! So if I shan't disturb the locking screws and therefore can't turn the post to expose the screw head, I find myself right back at the beginning question in this thread. These blocked screws and hidden locking screws didn't just appear today, so there's gotta be a simple way the the guys who fix these things daily do to get out of this conundrum.

But then, I also wonder, if there wasn't even a locking screw there, would not turning the post clockwise (to expose the screw) run the risk of over tightening the post and stripping it out? WHOOPS! My eyes and brain have lost contact with each other . . . I read what you wrote, David, but just didn't assimilate it the word "counter" along with "clockwise". My apologies for misstating your instruction. :=(

Eu



Post Edited (2006-08-25 21:56)

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-25 21:46

EuGeneSee wrote:

> But then, I also wonder, if there wasn't even a locking screw
> there, would not turning the post clockwise (to expose the
> screw) run the risk of over tightening the post and stripping
> it out?

That's why David wisely and cautiously suggested to turn it counter-clockwise.

Then again, I have seen a lot of applications that required "left-handed" screws (aka English Traffic - wrong way round) and I wouldn't be surprised to encounter these on an instrument, for whatever reason.
No, my motto has been "if it needn't move, don't move it".

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2006-08-26 16:14

tictactux wrote "English Traffic - wrong way round"

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

<rant snipped>

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

-----------

If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.


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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-26 17:08

David Peacham wrote:
> grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Oy veh - I didn't mean to belittle or ridicule anyone's traffic system. My sincere apologies.

(For the record, my motorcycle is politically correct - the driver's seat is in the middle [wink])

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-26 17:41

OK, folks, let's give the techs a shot at this one. I still don't know how to get the screws out that face each other when the post has a locking screw head which is under the rod. How do I get the post locking screw out in order to turn the rod/key assembly counter clockwise to expose the screw holding said rod/key assembly. Am I asking for "secret of the trade" info and therefore am out of bounds here? EuGene

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-26 18:00

EGgene,
I find it hard to believe that the screws at BOTH ENDS of the key you're trying to remove are inaccessible. I've never seen a clarinet built like that. Either post some photos, or bring it to a tech and find out what needs to be done.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-26 18:20

I think you need to take it apart in a specific order than starting from the middle - and everything has a specific order.

Consider that these are one of the cheapest altos on the market - if they were difficult to make or assemble I don't think they'd have been made.

How competent are you at completely stripping nearly all of the whole thing down?

I know it's a long and tedious process, but you do have to start right at the ends and work your way towards the middle.

1. Remove the throat G# and A keys.
2. Remove the side/trill keys.
3. remove the LH main action keys (except for LH 3 and Eb/Bb 'sliver' key).
4. Remove the LH levers (E/B and F#/C#).
5. Remove the RH F/C and Ab/Eb keys.
6. Remove the E/B and F#/C# keys, and the low Eb key.
7. Remove the lower screw securing the RH main action.
8. Remove the RH B/F# 'sliver' key.

The only keys left are the thumb key, speaker key/Bb vent, LH 3 and cross Eb/Bb 'sliver' key, C#/G# key and the LH F/C lever. And the bell key.

Chris.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-26 18:27

David:

Oh, no, the screws that I can't get to that face each other are right in the center between the left & right hand keys (where the clarinet would split into upper/lower joint were it not one piece). If I take the screw out of the opposite end of the rod, I would then want to turn the rod & post counter clockwise so the screw did not face the screw head on the next rod, but I can't turn the rod/post because the post has a locking screw, the head of which is under the rod.

Maybe I'm being dumb here . . . duh . . . could it be that the screw that I can't get to does not screw into the rod itself, but instead screws into the post and has a point that goes into the end of the rod? Something similar to the two pointed screws that hold the beam on a balance scale?

I didn't wand to try disassembling that key/post assembly without first finding out the correct way to do so, and that's why I don't know if the screw that goes through the post into the rod is threaded into the rod or if it has a pointed end that merely supports the rod.

EuGene

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-26 18:38

Chris:

Thanks for the info. Your post came in while I was writing my posting.

I have disassembled Bb clarinets before, but since they separate in the middle I never had this question come up. Like you said, these cheap horns shouldn't be too difficult to disassemble as they would otherwise have been too expensive to assemble when manufactured. That makes a lot more sense than me worring about breaking the darn thing and not attempting to take the rod off first, then asking what to do if I couldn't get it off. After all, I won't try taking it off with vise grips or hammer & chisel, so I shouldn't damage it.

Eu

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-26 18:50

Your next task (should you choose to accept it), is to take the bottom joint of a low C Buffet Prestige bass apart!

With everything, patience is a virtue, and you really do have to excercise your patience with these things. I'm not the most patient person on this planet, but I do have to be patient with anything I work on.

I always like to see the look on people's faces when I start taking their clarinet, oboe or sax apart in front of them - to me it's routine, but to them it's either fascinating or frightening.

Chris.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-26 18:56

Chris P wrote:
> I think you need to take it apart in a specific order than starting from the
> middle - and everything has a specific order.

The "end" screws can be removed easily. The middle screws just need to be loosened so that the key rod can be removed without resorting to brute force. It is indeed a bit of that balance beam screw. Having watchmaker's equipment (and experience, for that matter) would be helpful indeed.

What did the trick for me was a sawed-off screwdriver tip that is operated with suitable pliers (or between thumb and index finger if the screw is loose). Not extremely elegant, but it works. The key is not to use excessive or misaligned force unless the screw is set by rust or prior repair attempts.

--
Ben

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-26 19:07

You'll probably find these middle screws are bent slightly from when it was assembled - I doubt they were put in after the keys were in place, they were probably screwed into the pillars, then the pillars were fitted and the keys slid on last.

This is why on pro clarinets they have tapered or bullet-tipped point screws - not only can they be tightened to take out play, but thet make assembly much easier.

And on plastic bodied altos, as with all plastic bodied instruments, make sure there's enough end play (or lateral movement) between keys and pillars so the don't all bind up when it gets cold.

Chris.

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 Re: Some Disassembly Required
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-26 19:46

Chris:

I've never seen a Buffet Prestige C horn, much less owned one, but if I had enough money to get one of those I would send it to you for repairs - - I'm too much all thumbs to try to work on anything of value. As it is, working in a recycling center pays little over minimum wage, so my horns will be real cheap ones that I, by necessity, must learn to maintain myself. If I break something I'm not looking at a major loss!

I would love to find a dirt cheap used C clarinet so I could pick up just about any piece of piano or sheet music and play it without transposing. I get boxes of it going through the recycling center regularly, and sometimes take home something I like and play it on an old C recorder. It ain't the same, though, as on a clarinet.

Anyhoo, I thank you, David, and others for the good technical advice and repair/maintenance answers you give out on this BB.

Eu

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