Saxophone Mouthpiece

Discussion in 'Metal casting projects' started by Rogerrr, Feb 26, 2022.

  1. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    For years I’ve been thinking about combining my interest in playing sax and metal casting by making a few metal sax mouthpieces.

    One big decision is what metal to use. These are the metals I’m aware have been used to make mouthpieces:

    brass/bronze, tin alloy/“silverite”, stainless steel, aluminum, and probably silver

    Stainless is totally out of the question but I can do the others….although brass/bronze/silver are kinda pushing it

    Aluminum is easy to deal with but seems pretty uncommon for mouthpieces

    Tin alloys like “silverite” (rumored to be 98%tin 2% copper ) would be an easy place to start ….but the only ones I can find seen to be soft solder alloys….. hard solder with higher melting points might be stronger and easier to melt than brass

    If I get to the point where I have a mold that gives me a good mouthpiece blank I’d consider silver since you don’t have to plate it and it’s not THAT expensive

    any ideas?

    I basically need a metal alloy that is either safe to stick in your mouth or can be silver or gold plated

    In the beginning I will probably just experiment with some extra zinc I have sitting around just to get my molds figured out— I’ll be using graphite molds
  2. That tin alloy with copper would be close to pewter or some of the bearing metals if there was a bit of antimony in it. I'd expect it will be relatively soft (try squeezing the rim of a pewter goblet or mug) so it would have to have a relatively thick section. My local gem club teaches silversmithing right down to using a small furnace to investment cast silver from wax patterns. It might be an easy way to gain access to all the equipment if such a club is nearby.
  3. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

  4. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    Yes the tin “silverite “ alloy is soft but one brand of mouthpieces ( Dukoff) uses it and it’s stronger than you might expect but not real durable
  5. metallab

    metallab Silver

  6. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    I don’t have any welding equipment . It’s not just the higher melting point…it’s also the hardness that’s a problem. Sax mouthpieces need a very precise shape and are best finished by hand. If I manage to make something decent I will send it out to a professional mouthpiece refaccer to be perfected and those guys hate working on stainless…. In general they either charge you more money or refuse to work on stainless
  7. cactusdreams

    cactusdreams Copper

    Sax mouthpieces are usually made of hard rubber or metal. The cheaper hard rubber mouthpieces can be molded and then machined or hand finished. But I believe all metal mouthpieces are machined from brass or stainless stock, not cast. Not sure if the brass is the same type used to make the instruments themselves. The internal geometry and tolerances are extremely critical to how they play. CNC is the standard these days. Been playing for over 50 years and have a degree at it so know a little something. Also you can find videos of it.
  8. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    Thanks….yes, my Theo Wanne piece seems to be CNC

    I think Dukoff pieces are cast though

    Anyway my idea is to cast something close to the final shape then file/grind/sand/chew/gnaw etc until it works

    If something turns out well I’ll send it off to an experienced refacer

    Gonna start practicing refacing cheap plastic pieces. Tweaked a baffle on Link Tone Edge yesterday with Apoxie epoxy putty and it turned out great….That’s actually what reawakened my interest in making a mouthpiece. I sent a new HR Link off to be tweaked and the guy put in a temporary baffle tweak made out of soft putty…then I realized although I can’t reface a mouthpiece I could definitely adjust the baffle…There was a little “dent” in the baffle that makes the mouthpiece a little stuffy and it’s such a simple adjustment I was willing to do it myself….after practicing a couple times with the temporary putty I put in the epoxy yesterday and played it tonight and it was gorgeous!! Great sound
  9. cactusdreams

    cactusdreams Copper

    Definitely something interesting to play with. Pun intended. Would you be casting with a core? I've fixed a chipped hard rubber bill with epoxy before. Have read stories of Coltrane throwing away bags of pieces he tweaked too far. Throw some pics when you got 'em!
  10. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    Gonna use a graphite rod for one core and a carved piece for baffle/chamber core

    Hoping to get the shape close enough that it won’t be too frustrating to make it playable
    I don’t have any real machining equipment or skills…. just drill press, sander, bandsaw, dremel, files, etc….

    I did something similar waaayyy back in college by pouring wax into a mouthpiece then using the wax as a core and made a mouthpiece out of fiberglass resin…at the time I knew nothing about facing curves and there wasn’t an internet yet so it sounded like a duck
  11. Rogerrr

    Rogerrr Copper

    Re Coltrane and bsgs of pieces…..I keep hearing you have to practice on a lot of cheap pieces before you can do a good job

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