Changing the angle or location of spring cradles on woodwinds.
We do a lot of modifications in our shop and have developed some tools and techniques to make this work faster with better, more predictable, results. One modification that can be completely invisible to the player yet can make many vintage instruments feel a lot better, is relocating or modifying spring cradles.
When to move a spring cradle.
There are a number of vintage Conn's and many sopranos of all makes that can benefit from longer springs. The distance from the post to the spring cradle is sometimes not enough to get the needed feel. Springs that are too thick or short will have an uneven pressure. The key will get harder and harder to close as is it pressed.
This is also true when a player asks for very tight action on a small instrument such as a soprano and especially a vintage soprano.
Sometimes a longer spring or a longer spring cradle (one that extends further from the key) is the answer to key bounce.
Of course, when we make a key from scratch, deciding where to put the spring cradle is always a question.
In most of these instances, the quickest and most long term solution can be moving the cradle. Sometimes there is very little room on the key and the new location of the spring cradle is obvious; as far as possible. Other times, for example the low C key on many saxophones, there are many places that the spring cradle could go and the length of the cradle is a variable.
The temporary spring cradle:
To solve this problem, we made a small movable spring cradle with various lengths. It's not a pretty part but it works very well. If any of you have a need to move a spring cradle, you can make this tool quickly.
If we have a need to make more of these, they will be made from steel rather than brass. The bushing serves 2 purposes. First, it keeps the key from being marred when the cradle is moved around. Also, it allows us to use this little tool on keys of various diameters.
All the best!