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Author Topic: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key  (Read 625 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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Offline Windsong

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2021, 05:11:46 PM »
Done!  I used a butane torch to heat the key, and then used two cork-lined even draw pliers, and bent very slowly and smoothly.  i then re-heated the "finished product", and quenched it.  Thankfully it was only a single direction bend, so I did not have to bend and twist.  It is likely not perfect, but the pad cup sits pretty nicely on the tone hole, and for now, it's stable and can be attended to more precisely upon restoration. 
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2021, 01:36:26 PM »
Excellent! Thanks for sharing your result.
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2021, 01:54:24 PM »
Indeed. 
I initially got the key so hot that it began to glow, and then had to wait for it to air-cool, to prevent major distortion from clamping forces.  This is one of those times where I will never know if the risk was worth more than the reward.  Upon close inspection, one can see that the surface finish of the key is mildly distorted from the heat.  The alternative would have been a snapped key in need of major repair, so I chose the lesser of two evils, but I would like to carefully grind and polish the key to eliminate the imperfections from repair. I did a preliminary polishing, just to get the bluing and soot off after the heating and quenching process. It shall be revisited, no doubt.
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Offline modernicus

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Re: Repairing a Harry Pedler Albert trill key
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 06:45:47 PM »
Nice job!  You guys rock on here for sharing all this stuff.Gives me encouragement for some of my more challenging bends I've still got to do... 
If you ain't got 'em, that's why you need 'em...