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From the Workshop: Favourite Tools (Abi)

5th July 2021

In this series of blogs we catch up with some of our Repair Technicians and ask them for 3 of their favourite tools, either traditional models or perhaps something they have modified for their own use! This time it’s Abi…

1. Canvas Bench Hammer

The narrow design of the head of this Canvas Bench Hammer makes it more versatile than the hide mallets, and I find it just brilliant for everything I use it for. Re-shaping bent guards, hammering down rotor backplates, knocking across bent pillars – it does the job for me every time and never marks.

It’s super light and feels great in your hand, and even though the stem is very narrow it’s surprisingly strong – you can make very delicate adjustments and shape brass with this hammer. 

2. Pad Spoon

I basically use this pad spoon for everything BUT seating pads. Honestly, I have a few and some of them I use for decanting superglue to then apply to parts with a needle spring when necessary. I find the glue picks off really well when dried because of the smooth surface. Also the reflective nature of it means I can use a very small amount of glue but see it very clearly.

I use a clean one to prize open saxophone neck receiver slots when they have closed up, and to lever up key heels when they have bent down. I also sometimes use it as a dent tool, laying it flat over an inaccessible area to then hammer on to the pad spoon.

I use it to tighten and loosen Clarinet thumb rest screws, saxophone body brace screws and saxophone adjustable bumper parts. It’s extremely useful and versatile and I consider it necessary in my tool kit, but over time I have found smaller/narrower/thinner tools suit me much better for pad seating.

3. My Tenon Scraper

This is something I made myself during my apprenticeship. My teacher Gary Hobdell swore by his and we made this together based on his design. I was so proud of it because he was slightly jealous of the shape, and even though we never finished it with a handle I am so used to using it I simply cannot use anything else to remove tenon corks without feeling clumsy.

It’s not a tool you can buy, so I am very lucky to have it and if I ever lost it I would absolutely make another one. It is basically a forged screwdriver blade which is shaped around a mandrel to achieve this nice curve, wickedly sharp and magical for it’s one specific purpose.