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Author Topic: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key  (Read 67 times)

Offline Windsong

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Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« on: January 08, 2021, 08:17:32 PM »
My new challenge:  Bending back the low LH trill key on my new aquisition--a 1919-1923 Bb Albert system Harry Pedler.  For any of you who have ever played one of these, you know how awkward fingering can be.  Coming from anything else, it takes a lot of re-training of the mind.  After several days of scales, it becomes less awkward.  I have large hands, but it's as if these Harry Pedler Albert's were designed for hands much bigger than my own.  Clarinetists with very long fingers would appreciate these. 

I provide that "wind up" because, due to the extreme bend on this key, I am left wondering if it was deliberately bent.  Ergonomically, it actually allows for quicker engagement for larger hands.  In all likelihood, due to the inherent vulnerability of this key's location, it most likely was dropped, but who knows?  Regardless, since my plan is to restore it to its original form, I need to bend it back, and hopefully not snap it off.

These keys are reasonably malleable, so I think I will boil the key in water (so as not to burn the key with a butane torch, and also to keep the heat even) and bend it back slowly, by hand, and boil the key to re-fortify the grain.  This first photo is of the correct orientation of the network (I have a few of these clarinets now), and the second photo is of the damaged key that needs a 45° "retraining".  If anyone has a better idea for bending the key, please chime in.
(Photos to follow)
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 08:20:08 PM »
Correct alignment:
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 08:25:34 PM »
45° "tweak":
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Offline modernicus

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2021, 11:37:48 AM »
I think it was bent by dropping, anyway, good luck!  Please give an update, I've got stuff bent that badly I haven't had the courage to try to straighten yet. 
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 12:21:01 PM »
It looks like German silver (high-nickel brass) that can normally take repeat bending. I'm not afraid to do a radical straightening in most cases, but this one is twisted at a juncture of stress that is probably a solder joint. Boiling water will not approach sufficient heat to help.


If I were to try to unbend it, I would insert a rod in the tube, and secure the tube in a vice, then attempt the twist. With the right prep, it may go easily. If it breaks, I would then re-solder it with hard solder or brazing of the appropriate type (whatever that is).
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 02:24:05 PM by windydankoff »
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 12:29:38 PM »
Mod--On unplated keywork on newer clarinets, I typically have no reservation applying a torch to a key, bending the key slowly with smooth-vice, even-draw pliers, and then re-heating and quenching the key to set the grain.  I have only ever snapped Boosey and Hawkes "Mazak" keys (even with heat), and once--a  Geo. M. Bundy key that I regretfully did not heat first. 

Windy--precisely my concern.  The location of that bend makes this a precarious endeavor.  I stand to snap it off at a spot that could compromise the action of the pivot, and may need welding and re-machining if I fail.  I like your recommended fix.  That is a smart plan.  I will heat the key with butane sparingly, and move the key slowly.

I have a whole spare top joint that I can "cannibalize" for key work if I must, but I would prefer to work slowly, and save this key.  I'll let you know how it goes.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 06:43:52 PM by Windsong »
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