Well, I guess all the lighter fluid in the world ain't gonna help those pads. Unless of course you take them out, dose them with the stuff and light 'em on fire...
You'd have to go some to get enough heat through the leather to affect the felt - to the point where the plate would be visibly scorching the leather...by which time you'll have dropped the pad setting plate because it will have burned your fingers.
I regularly "iron" clarinet and flute pads after installation and before seating with a heated pad slick in order to take the wrinkles out. I don't have any experience doing this with leather saxophone pads as I have never seen the need to do so. The pads are flat and the leather is "reasonably" tight to begin with on the pads I use. I know that heating a hide skin drum head will cause the hide to shrink and raise the pitch of the drum, but over time that reverses and the head goes loose again. I presume that is because of the tension on the skin and the fact that the moisture in the air causes the dried out head to expand.
This raises the question of whether heating the leather of sax pads to stretch the surface is only a temporary fix, and that in a short period of time as the leather "remoisturizes" it goes back to the state it was in before or perhaps even looser.
Thanks Stephen. I will give that a try sometime and see how it works for me.
Try a product called No Stick. It's worth a try and a heck of a lot less expensive solution that just might work well for your satisfaction. In the meantime you're stuck with playing your Selmer Paris. Bummer
As I posted before, I found that a certain amount of heat irons the leather and removes any wrinkles (if there are any). More heat and it will iron/stretch/flatten (even) a good pad more, to the point an installed pad will hit more at the front (i.e. I assume the felt shrinks a bit too). More heat than that and the felt can start distorting a little.
All this long before any sign of searing/scorthing of the leather. In fact I just kept trying hotter and hotter slick and didn't even get to scorching the leather. I've tried this with many models of pads. My pad slicks are the double type, with a pretty long "connector" between the two sides. While doing this, the heat never got to the point where it hurt my fingers at the side I was holding.
I haven't tested this on sax pads but from my experience, leather is a very good insulator. I seriously doubt you'd have any significant effect on the felt without burning the leather.
Ironing the pads will temporarily tighten and flatten the leather. After a short while the leather will relax. Hopefully by this time you've set the pad and created an impression. In my experience the leather doesn't stay shrunk unless it is baked, such as when you make a formed leather item like a watch pouch or knife holster, etc.
The easiest and most effective way to flatten leather is to wet it and iron it with a smooth surface like the back of a spoon. If you look at the decorative knots on an Australian stockwhip or an English riding crop and wonder how they look so neat and tidy, that's how it's done. You wet the knot and iron it smooth. Another way is to wet the leather and roll it under something heavy. Stockwhips are made smooth in this way. We used to use a marble headstone. Stomemasons, like tatooists, sometimes stuff up and instead of "Here lies Uncle Knackers.." they misspell it and will happily let you have the useless headstone for a case of beer. They make great work surfaces.
Any way, Intuition would lead me to believe that when the pad is pressed onto the tone hole rim, the leather is stretched by some small amount due to the give in the pad. Does it make any difference to the pad working effectively??? Obviously not or our saxes wouldn't work.
That said, I've not tried baking a sax pad and Stephen obviously has experimented in this area, so if Stephen says the leather stays shrunk after ironing, I'll take him at his word.
The soft and despicable other side of this rather nasty coin is where everything unintelligible is automatically invested with significance by culture vultures. That was exemplified by a Ravi Shankar concert in London at which, after listening to some applause, Shankar said ‘If you liked our tuning up, I hope you will now like our playing’.
What can I say? It works for me - perhaps there's an aspect of the technique you're not getting right?
If you try it on an old pad that you've first slit the leather in half and then cut one half around the edge so that you can peel it back, you can apply the plate and then peel the leather back to feel just how much heat the felt has taken. It's barely warm.
Don't forget that if you're trying it on a pad that has a relatively tight skin it's not going to give the same results as one like the pads in question, which clearly have very loose skins.
This ironing sounds complex!
If I do decide to go for a re-pad, what pads would you suggest, original Buescher´s, Roo Pads, others?
With a sax pad, there made then stacked in with others, shipped around the world, put into draws with other items then tucked and pulled an pushed when fitted to a sax, sometimes they develop wrinkles just like your shirt from being knocked around a bit. With a pad slick or a butter knife you can heat the knife and wipe it over the surface just like an iron on your shirt and wipe the wrinkles away, just gives that nice clean finish
You can also get pad irons which are simply a flat piece fo steel circular in shape like a donut with a hole in the centre for clearance of the resonator. You heat the slick with a butane torch and then sear the pad skin.
Life is to short to get caught up in the truth, Relax and just let life go on by, move at your own pace and rhythm
Looking closely at the left pad in the second image - I'd hazard that the tone hole wasn't levelled. The impression on the surface of that pad definitely looks much deeper between 12 and 3 o'clock and almost non-existant between three and six o'clock...
While I expect there to be some optical illusion lessening of the groove depth between 3 and 6 due to the lighting and the angle of the photo, it sure looks like there is a huge variation in the groove in the pad even allowing for this. Essentially, the tonehole is nowhere near level and that isn't saying good things about the service done on the saxophone.
I would not be happy paying that kind of money for that kind of result!
Ciao. [ KennyD01 on YouTube ] -->1923 Conn New Wonder Alto Sax #118,108 +Pomarico Crystal M/P -->1947 Conn 444N Big Bore Bb Clarinet #B324663L +Pomarico Diamond Crystal M/P -->1967 Boosey & Hawkes Edgware Bb Clarinet #288,983 +Mitchell Lurie Crystal & Master by Gregory Hollywood M/P