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 how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: salzo 
Date:   2010-12-12 11:12

I remember my teacher using heat to fix dents and dimples on a mouthpiece rail and tip.
Anyone have a recipe for making this repair??

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-12-12 14:11

Heat might work on cheap plastic mouthpieces, not worth the trouble, really. You could try a hair-drier. Don't use heat on any good mouthpiece, that is probably hard rubber, it would ruin it.

I've filled hard-rubber 'toothwear divots' with a dab of superglue and sprinkled on toner powder, or lampblack. Sand level, and cover with a rubber mouthpiece patch.

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-12-12 14:30

I never heard of using heat, either. I've seen people (including Matson on a mouthpiece I dropped and actually broke) use careful dabs of epoxy to fill the divots or nicks (as I read your post, you're talking about rail dings, not tooth marks on top of the beak). You'd then probably need to reface the mouthpiece to completely even the new rail surfaces and eliminate high spots.


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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-12-12 15:27

Heat doesn't fix anything when material is missing (as in a break or a serious chip).

However, heat is used by many leading mouthpiece people for dents and dimples and it WORKS!

I used heat (a cigarette lighter) to fix a few dents on a 700 dollar mouthpiece. If you know what you're doing, this is the quickest and most effective way of fixing a dent with the least collateral damage (like sanding it out, requiring rail thickness adjustment or refacing afterwards).

A hair dryer is a terrible idea. There is absolutely no precision with a hair dryer and you would have to hold it on the mouthpiece for too long (affecting more than just the dent in question. Also, it does not work as well on a plastic mouthpiece. A plastic mouthpiece just wants to melt much sooner and much more easily than a hard rubber mouthpiece. It also doesn't "pop back into place" like a HR dent does.

I recently fixed an M15 that a friend of mine had managed to put three marks that appeared to be gouges across the side rail (on the facing). They appeared to be quite large and made the mouthpiece unplayable.

I spent roughly 10 seconds with a lighter and it was a good 90% back to normal. You can dent a rubber mouthpiece pretty deep, more than we would think anyway. The other 10% I fixed with a few passes over sandpaper. The bottom of the facing was a touch crooked, so in the process of reworking the facing a bit, I sanded out the slight chips in the rail.

If you're unsure of what to do or how to do it, send it to a refacer\mouthpiece maker.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2010-12-12 15:37


Thou art GODD!

Bob Phillips

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-12-13 14:16

I have used the lighter technique several times to repair dents. As mentioned above, this only works if there has been a dent, not a scratch or removal of material.
It is not that hard, but don't be surprised if you burn your first mouthpiece. It takes a few tries to get it right.
To start out, turn on the fire, and keep it stationary (candle, torch on low setting, etc), point the dented area near the flame and move it closer and closer. It is always better to keep it too far than too close, so don't be in a hurry to get it done.
When the mpc is the right distance to warm up, the dent will move back after about 5-10 seconds. That is a long time, so don't be too close. It can work being a little farther and waiting 20 seconds.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: jasperbay 
Date:   2010-12-13 14:46

Well, I'll be damned! I herewith withdraw my hair dryer idea, and, my warning about using heat on hard rubber. Now if I can find that old mouthpiece with the beak broke off, I can get to experimenting!

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-12-13 20:10

The hairdryer scares me a lot, as I stated before. A candle or blow torch seems pretty dangerous too. We're not talking about heating up a key to bend or for a pad to come free.

Stick with a lighter on a relatively low flame (if it's adjustable). Just hold the mouthpiece up and wave the flame across the dent a few times. It scares me to hear things like "let it heat up", implying that you set the flame on it and wait...bad idea. It takes a very small amount of time and not a lot of heat for this fix to happen. As a general rule, don't spend more than a second at a time with the flame on\near the mouthpiece. A second is a long time in this context. And of course, start off with less time and slowly increase until the dent comes out.

This reminds me of a story I once heard (or prank, more accurately). Clarinetist #1 explains to #2 that the problem with modern mouthpiece is that the rubber isn't cured for long enough and that the solution is to place it in the oven on 250 degrees for 10 minutes. After this process, the mouthpiece would then be cured and vibrate just like an old chedeville. Of course, the thing melts...

Don't let common sense escape your thought process.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-12-14 02:05

"Don't let common sense escape your thought process."
First of all, I make mouthpieces that are played all over the world and have done this repair many times.
Using a candle or torch (on a low setting) is better becuase you can put it on the table and it does not move. This gives more control and you don't risk burning your finger.

"Just hold the mouthpiece up and wave the flame across the dent a few times."
NEVER DO THIS. This will burn the rubber. The mouthpiece should NEVER touch the flame (unless you want to burn it).
Keep the mouthpiece at a safe distance from the flame. You are using the HEAT to your goal, not the fire (chemical reaction).
My method takes 5-10 seconds because the mouthpiece and flame are not that close- about 1cm apart.
Also, the mouthpiece should be to the side of or under the flame, not above it.
This is the slow, careful, safe way to be successful.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2010-12-14 03:03

Some people recommend a light bulb for the heat.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-12-14 04:56

Hmmm. I've never burned the rubber or my finger. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong since I don't have people playing my mouthpieces all around the world? (J\K in good fun!).

I still prefer not to heat up the mouthpiece, even from that far away, for that long. Usually dents are small and the flame can be very accurate so you're only heating up what needs to be heated. I personally find no need to attach either the lighter or mouthpiece to anything for support in this process.

With a lighter I can make the flame go out in a fraction of a second if I want. I can also move the mouthpiece away if I need to. The reality is most dents take so little time to take out that a few passes over the dent, maybe 3 or 4, in a matter of a few seconds will do all the work necessary and not burn the mouthpiece or anything else. If your finger starts burning, you can always let the flame go out. A torch is not so forgiving =)

Although I've done this many times, I know many players who know relatively nothing about mouthpieces and have performed this procedure without even consulting a technician and had great success.

Here's the point where I could name-drop professionals (mouthpiece professionals) who use lighters to fix mouthpieces all the time successfully. I've never seen, myself or others, anyone having burned a mouthpiece, or a finger for that matter, in this process.

If your way works well for you skygardener, keep it up. In a post a few up in the thread you said you've used a lighter successfully. I'm just saying it's easier than a blow-torch or candle and has been 100% successful for me, for several top notch professional mouthpiece makers, all the way down to people who just try it to see if it will do anything.

To each their own for these tricks of the trade. To me it's a matter of feel. I can feel where the mouthpiece and lighter are just the same as I know where the mouthpiece is on a piece of sandpaper when doing facing work.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-12-14 06:55

"I still prefer not to heat up the mouthpiece, even from that far away, for that long."
So you prefer to expose the mouthpiece to a *higher* temperature in direct contact *within* an area of chemical reaction (fire) for a short period? This will burn the rubber- even only for a moment it will burn a little.

There is nothin wrong with a lighter as a heat source except that it is moving in one's hand.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-12-14 07:35

Very very interesting that it just 'pops back'!

Must be a property of the material ... ?

I have an old mpc with a dented tip, might just have to try it.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Ian White 
Date:   2010-12-14 08:48

Rather than using a flame directly, cover the dent with a scrap of dampened cotton or other natural material (synthetic fibres could melt) and rub the heated tip of a screwdriver or other metal object over the area.

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-12-14 11:57

Ian -

So that's basically working at the temperature of the steam?

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-12-14 13:17

A heat source that is moving is an advantage to me. There's no chance of it staying in one place for too long. I have yet to burn a mouthpiece or a finger. I also don't have the flame on the mouthpiece in the sense that it's touching other parts of the mouthpiece. I don't think I'd even feel uncomfortable if I spent as much time with the flame on my finger as I would on a mouthpiece.

To each their own. Like I've said before, start with the shortest amount of time possible and increase until the dent pops out. If you must keep the flame from coming close to the mouthpiece to be as safe as possible, do that. I have found a 100% success rate with waving the flame with very short times and I don't think I could even burn my finger in this fashion.

Most things regarding mouthpiece work is complicated and takes a lot of time to become proficient with. The fine touch required to make a nice facing curve or do good filing work leaves little margin for error and requires intense concentration. However, nothing in mouthpiece work has been as easy or has had as high a success rate than waving a small lighter flame to fix a dent.

Often, this is the most impressive act a mouthpiece maker can perform for a client, especially if the client doesn't know or think it's possible!

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: Exiawolf 
Date:   2018-09-09 05:20

So I recently practiced and performed this maneuver on a couple of mouthpieces and I have a few questions.

I took a lighter and put it on its LOWEST setting (there was barely a flame if at all) and I moved the mouthpiece to the side of the flame slowly until I saw the dent pop out (putting my finger in the same position didn’t even burn it, the mouthpiece was a good 1 cm or more away from the flame). It seems like it went super well and easy! The mouthpiece plays fantastically!

When you warn against burning the rubber or messing up, what does that look like?

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 Re: how to fix a mouthpiece dent
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-09-14 18:55


If it looks right and plays right, you're good to go. That's not to say there's nothing to improve or that there's still an imperfection from the dent/dent removal process.

I find it much easier to hold the mouthpiece still and move the lighter. Also, as I mentioned before in this thread, I find it best not to hold the flame and mouthpiece close to each other for long. It really shouldn't take much heat to pop out a dent. I fear that some will take the advice from this thread and start heating a mouthpiece with fire to fix a chip and end up melting things together. It can be hard to tell the difference between a chip and a dent, sometimes a chip is smaller than a dent.

If you smell rubber, you have likely gone too far. In general, I would recommend people send their mouthpiece to a competent mouthpiece refacer to deal with to avoid potential catastrophe.

You can get closer than 1cm with the flame, but a waving motion of the flame so that it's never close to the mouthpiece for more than a fraction of a second is best.

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