Category Archives: workshop


yeah, i’m still here…

i was cleaning up in the workshop today and i found the keys to the thule box, which i had to have new ones made several months ago when i wanted to use the thule box for something and couldn’t find the keys. they were sitting on the surface of my secondary workbench, under a massive pile of other projects (at least 5, going back to last summer) which either got abandoned, or the detritus from finishing never got cleaned up. i didn’t finish cleaning up, but i made a significant start. maybe tomorrow.

i’ve got my DX7 on my desk, because i want to work with reason to find some synth voices that i don’t have to tweak, so that the next time i go to bellingham i’ll have something ready to play live. about half of the time that i spent playing music last week was actually tweaking the voices to get something that didn’t sound like it was part of a pop song. i would use the DX7 voices except for the fact that the internal battery is dead, and i have to take the synth completely apart to replace it. fortunately the battery is really common (i have a couple of them that are still in their blister pack), but replacing it is something that i think i want to have help with, much in the same way that i needed help replacing the brake pads in my old car… not that i don’t know how to do it, but someone who knows how to do it to make sure that i don’t do things incorrectly, and to help if something breaks.

this is after taking my piano to bellingham, in the hopes of being able to use that, but one of the first things that was done to it after i left was that one of the tines was broken (number 50) and, until a replacement is found, the piano is currently in storage in the attic, which is doubtless a lot safer place for it than where it was, under the window in my living room.

but, as much as i would like to, the probability that i will be going to bellingham in the next few weeks is low, because of the looming moisture festival and its surrounding chaos.

the moisture festival is approaching at an appalling rate, and i am, once again, playing in three out of the four bands at the palladium: The Fighting Instruments of Karma, Snake Suspenderz and The Fremont Philharmonic. i have rehearsed and/or played with snake suspenderz (or significant portions thereof) and the fremont phil enough recently to know that we’re probably going to do okay, but we could use more rehearsal, and i haven’t played with the FIOK enough to be absolutely certain that we need more rehearsal, but probably aren’t going to get it. i’m still ambivalent about my participation in the moisture festival, but my vocal ranting has been dissipated somewhat by the inclusion of snake suspenderz in the lineup of show bands… but i didn’t donate $100 last year to get a star on the wall, like i did two years ago, and, unless the “stipend” is well above where it was last year, it’s not likely that i’m going to donate this year either.

today has been a banner day for people or robots trying to crack my shit… once again, i will advise you that if you try to login using anything other than the correct username and password, you get two attempts and then you are IP blocked for two weeks. after that, you get two more attempts and then you are blocked for a month. here’s a final hint: the username is NOT admin. πŸ˜›

workshop workshop workshop

peter's flute

my friend peter brought me his flute. he had done several things to the flute that an average person, who isn’t a musical instrument repair technician, isn’t supposed to do to a flute… and then he figured he could “repad” it himself. so he bought a “repad kit” (yes, they are available, no i won’t link to one, because repadding your flute by yourself is, for the most part, one of the wrong things to do with a flute) from gemeinhardt. they come with pretty much everything you need to either repad your flute, or get into big trouble: a leak-light, a screw driver, a bunch of white shellac, fifteen random pads, a pad-slick, and poorly written instructions (which he didn’t give me). he, then, took the screw driver and proceded to…

lose a pivot screw.

they’re TINY — no more than an a half-centimetre long and a few millimetres in diameter — so it’s not particularly surprising that he lost it, but if he weren’t under the impression that one could repad a flute themselves, he wouldn’t have had this problem. compounding that was the fact that, another of the things you aren’t supposed to do with a flute, that he did, was dip it in a river… and then attempt to lubricate the lower stack with vegetable oil.

now, i can see how, particularly if one is camping or something like that, and one “accidentally” dips their flute in a river, that one might consider the possibility of lubricating it with vegetable oil a possibility… and i am also aware of the fact that, at first, it does, actually, lubricate the inner workings of your flute, but it very quickly hardens and then your flute won’t work at all… which is what happened to my friend peter.

these are all things that a qualified instrument repair technician can fix, fairly easily. they are NOT things that i would recommend doing to your flute. now, don’t get me wrong, i have worked on flutes which were in much worse shape than this, but he could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had brought the flute to me, first…

although i probably would have recommended that he refrain from dipping the flute in a river, all together… 😐


my friend david bought a really expensive curved soprano saxophone on ebay recently — like $1200 expensive — because it had been “cleaned up and completely repadded” by… um… someone.

then he contacted me to find out if he had actually gotten a good deal or not.

on the surface, it appeared that he had paid a little too much, but not anything that couldn’t be fixed with $200 or so of competent repair work. he informed the seller, and actually got $250 back, making the instrument worth $950… still a bit too much, but it appeared that it could be rescued, so i took on the job.

140424 curved soprano saxophone

the first thing i did was remove all the keys… which is the first thing you do when you get a sax that needs to be put back into playing condition. i quickly discovered that all the keys had not been removed when it was “cleaned up and completely repadded”.

140424 curved soprano saxophone140424 curved soprano saxophone

in fact, on top of the 4 keys that i knew about that were composition cork (instead of the standard leather that most saxes have), i found two pads that were so poorly installed that they probably can’t be rescued. on top of that, i found two springs that were installed in a “haphazard” way (they were installed backwards), one of the clothes guards is missing and another one only has two of its three solder points made solid, and the neck cork needs to be replaced. also, because of the fact that it’s an old curved soprano it has D auxilliary key (modern ones don’t have it), and because of the fact that modern ones don’t have it, people who don’t know any better will block the key closed, so that they don’t have to regulate it… but that also has the unfortunate side effect of making the instrument play out of tune… which is exactly what happened in this case.

which drives the “fixing it” estimate up to $500 or so… and that’s not to mention the two top tone-holes which have been drilled out and replaced with brass tubing…

140424 curved soprano saxophone

this is why you have to be REALLY careful about buying old curved soprano saxophones off of ebay… he could have bought a brand-new, FUNCTIONAL curved soprano sax for $800… and he probably will do that once he decides what to do with his $1200 instrument that needs $500 worth of repair before it can even be played.


through an interaction with someone i didn’t know on the south king county freecycle, i found out about this gemeinhardt flute for sale for $15 on craigslist…

so i went and bought it.

it was made for me… 😎

i can repair it for probably under $10 (not including my labor, which i’m not charging myself for anyway) and turn this flute around for between $80 and $120… maybe as much as $150 to the right person… πŸ˜‰

flute pieces — all present and accounted for!

only i gotta buy some new cork cement, because the last bottle i had is about 2 years old…

soon! 😎