Regional Conference - Australia
October 26-27, 2019


Updated: October 8, 2019

Dent Removal With Basic Hand Tools
Chris Bluemel

Advanced dent work is an art which requires a true understanding of the various types of metallurgy we encounter in student and professional instruments. The only way to develop this understanding is to have extensive experience in working brass "up close and personal". Whether it is slide tube straightening, bell flare dent work or crook repair, I almost always utilize a single burnishing skill set with hand tools.

In this clinic, we will evaluate varying degrees of instrument damage and demonstrate individualized repair approaches to maintain resonance and avoid changing the structure of the brass. Cosmetic improvement is only the beginning; the resonant quality and image and light reflection tell the true story.

A former US Army musician, Chris Bluemel studied tuba primarily with David Townsend (VCU, Richmond Symphony) and Thomas McGrady (US Armed Forces SOM). He began instrument repair while performing in the military. His diverse professional musical experience includes performance, private teaching, band/orchestra instrument repair, and wholesale and retail sales/management. He is in his fourteenth year as instructor of the Villanova University/UofArts Summer Workshop String Repair courses in Philadelphia, PA.

Chris has been featured as a clinician for NAPBIRT, SCMEA, PMEA, OCMEA, and in 2011 at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He also published "Guide to Brass Musical Instrument Repair" through Northeastern Music Publications in PA in 2011, and it immediately became the textbook used by two of the three instrument repair schools in North America.

Chris is the owner of The Instrument Doc, LLC, a musical instrument repair company founded in 1999 in Charleston, SC. Now known as Southern String Supply, this company provides repair and retail services to professional players from throughout the southeastern US. A freelance classical and jazz tuba player, he performs regularly with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Maritime Brass Quintet, Cameron and the Saltwater Brass, and Maritime Eclectic. Chris has two dogs, Liza Jane and Lily Jane.

3D Printing in Band Instrument Repair Technology
Miles DeCastro

What if you could fabricate parts while you sleep? How about during your lunch break? Or while simultaneously repairing a different instrument? This may sound too good to be true, but it's something that is actually obtainable for anyone with basic computer skills and the willingness to invest a relatively small amount of money in technology that I believe will be commonplace in instrument repair shops in the very near future.

For the approximate cost of a mini lathe, you can be fabricating high quality, dimensionally accurate parts and tools in your repair shop via 3D printing. In early 2018, I received my first 3D printer. In this clinic, I will share with you what I have learned while using it. I will also discuss ways you can incorporate 3D printing into your repair shop and what the future might hold for 3D printing in the world of band instrument repair technology.

Miles DeCastro is the instrument repair technician at The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, where he teaches courses in instrument repair and is responsible for the repairs, maintenance and inventory of over 1,000 instruments. In addition to being on both staff and faculty at Crane, he owns and operates North Country Winds, a repair shop specializing in artist-level clarinet repairs and USA warranty work for Backun clarinets.

Miles has been an active NAPBIRT member since 2007. In that time, he has attended every national conference and is honored to be presenting at his fifth national conference in a row this April. He currently serves as Vice President and Director of Region 1 and in the past, has served on the finance committee and has hosted clinics at the regional and national level.

On top of all of this, Miles is a Straubinger Certified Technician, Yamaha Certified Sales Professional, graduate of the Yamaha Service Advantage Program and he has studied instrument repair with Morrie Backun.

Pad Manufacture in the Workshop
Brian & Aaron Ebert

Fifty years ago it was common to see technicians making their own pads in their workshop. Now, with our suppliers at the tips of our fingers with the internet, perhaps this practice has faded out of style and the viability questioned. There are however, many situations that the ability to make one pad or several pads can save the day and get that repair job completed. It also helps avoid the slow returning investment stocking every pad known to man for that one occasion when we may need it.

Part of this clinic will be hands-on. Everyone will have the opportunity to make a saxophone pad during the clinic with material supplied by us so you will be able to get a feel for the process and put the information directly to use.

We will demonstrate basic tools that everyone can make or buy that will be suitable for use in small quantity pad manufacture to get you out of trouble. We will also cover more modern production methods including laser cutters and gang punches. Deconstructing and modifying pads - reskinning pads, altering pads for bassoon work or even rebuilding Conn-Res-o-pads and resonator manufacture - if we have time. All secrets will be revealed.

Brian Ebert commenced his apprenticeship in the early 1970's under well-renowned Melbourne instrument technician Brian Murphy. From here, Brian established Brass N' Woodwind Workshop in 1989. What started as an one man store repairing instruments with a small range of second-hand instruments for sale, has now grown into one of Australia's largest brass and woodwind stores - Ozwinds.

Brian and his brother ran Sax Pads Australia during the early years and supplied pads and resonators throughout Australia and even internationally. Now days you'll find Brian back on the bench as he offers his mentorship and a lending hand when the workshop is snowed under.

Aaron Ebert is a second generation musical instrument technician. Naturally he has been involved in the business for most of his life, but he officially began his apprenticeship in 2012. He studied Engineering at Monash University but decided to pursue instrument repair as a full-time career after finding a real passion for this work.

Specialising in brass instrument repair, he is now the director of the repair department and oversees operations in both Melbourne and Brisbane. Aaron is an avid machinist and enjoys partaking in all sorts of mechanical repairs and restorations.

Little Things Make a Big Difference
Dirk Zeylmans

We will discuss details on three different topics that enhance the repairs that come through my workshop. We will touch on saxophone mouthpiece facing, flute head joints, making and how they work and finally a little bit of engraving. I certainly welcome your thoughts and experiences on these topics as well.

This should be fun and informative.

Dirk Zeylmans started playing the saxophone in his early teens and was so intrigued by the instrument and how it worked he began to study instrument repair with Don Archer in 1983, at the age of 15. He continued his formal training at the Victorian College of the Arts, the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam and at the Australian National University all the while working on woodwinds on his own. In 1994 he worked with Geoff Speed of Woodnote Musical Repairs.

In 1996 Dirk stepped out on his own and opened Tritone Brass & Woodwind in Canberra as well as joining NAPBIRT. He continues his training through attendance at many NAPBIRT Annual Conferences and clinics. He became a Straubinger Certified flute technician in 2010 and in 2011, studied flute head joint making with Jonathon Landell of the Vermont Guild of Flute Making. Dirk hopes to finish his own flute, serial number 0001 in 2012.

Saxophone Padding Techniques
Joseph Neave

This clinic will be an in-depth look at everything involved with padding a saxophone. Topics covered will include; looking at different types of pads and pad selection, pre-padding preparations such as key fitting, toneholes and pad cups as well as looking at a variety of techniques used while padding. Everything involved with padding a saxophone will be covered with many of these techniques applicable for other woodwinds as well.

Joseph Neave has been playing saxophone for 15 years, having picked it up during high school. He first started to tinker with his own instrument while studying for his bachelor degree in Melbourne, Australia. While at the university, he realised repair was something he wished to pursue as a career. Unable to find anyone to teach him in Australia, he moved to America to learn about instrument repair at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing, Minnesota. After graduation in 2014, he returned back to Australia and starting working in Adelaide. While being able to work on all brass and woodwinds, Joseph has always had a special interest in his first instrument, Saxophone.

Tips & Tricks
Sally Lindenberg

Most of us spend a huge amount of time working solo in our workshops. Who do we bounce questions and ideas off? Sure, we have industry social media pages, and we have other techs on the end of a phone line, but one thing I have learnt from attending NAPBIRT Conferences over the years, is there is nothing quite like bouncing ideas off other techs, face-to-face.

Part of NAPBIRT's mission is to 'provide members with a central agency for the exchange of information.' This session will be just that! I will bring a selection of business and repair topics to the session that we can then discuss and brainstorm together. I will share with you how I would approach these situations, and - I would love to learn from you too! Topics can be found in your clinic handouts, so please have a look prior to the conference and bring your best ideas/thoughts/problems!

Sally Lindenberg is a technician and business owner from Brisbane. She holds a certificate IV in Business Management and has owned and operated a couple of successful business over the last 14 years. At the age of 20, she started her first repair business, working as a contractor for music shops in Dublin, Ireland. Upon her return to Australia, she then set up her repair business operating from a small bench at home. As the business grew, she saw a need to expand into a commercial retail space.

2010 saw the start of her second Retail shop. This initially started in a very small commercial space and gradually grew into a larger premises which eventually hosted retail, all instrument repairs and music tuition. Sally sold this shop in April 2016 and it is still running very today with the new owners.

Today, Sally is happily running her business from her home based workshop that she recently moved to Northern NSW, working part-time for the Northern Rivers Conservatorium- setting up and managing Music Programs in regional NSW and is about to commence her MBA.

Key Making & Post Drilling
Maurice Reviol

The aim of the course is to cover basic key making and post drilling processes that might be necessary in the repair workshop. It includes talking about/presenting the necessary tools and how to either make them or where to get them.

We'll cover the entire process of screwing posts into a prepared piece of wood, marking and drilling the posts so they can take a rod screw, hinged key and a needle spring. Then the hinge tube is cut to length and the key marked, drilled and the hinge tube fitted and soldered in if possible. We will also cover making a pivot screw hinged key.

If time allows, we will cover self-made cutting tools, like post face cutters, hinge tube cutters, pivot screw reamers and the likes that are all possible to make with just a bench motor. Some are easier to make with the help of a lathe, but it's possible to get those entirely done with just a bench motor.

Maurice Reviol started as an apprentice in 1993 with W. Schreiber in Nauheim, Germany learning to make Bassoons from scratch. The Apprenticeship included making the tools necessary to set up posts and keywork as well as some rather special repairs that came into the workshop. He also did prototype manufacturing, like a German System Bass Clarinet and single keywork prototypes in connection with the development of the Buffet B10 Clarinets, which were also made in house at the time.

For three years he apprenticed under the guidance of Wolfgang Rauchfuss, who was the dedicated teacher at the factory for the apprentices, handing over a wealth of knowledge. Maurice worked another year in the Bassoon workshop as a trained technician before going to England as a journeyman to further learn about making and repairing Woodwind Instruments.

This journey lead to a work stint at Wood, Wind & Reed, where he concentrated on repair work with Daniel Bangham. After that, he spent some time working with Jeremy Soulsby, a professional Bassoon maker in Hereford before crossing the Irish sea to Ireland where he ended up making Uilleann-Pipes (Irish Bagpipes) with Cillian Ó Briain in Dingle for the next five years.

In 2003, he moved to New Zealand, where he worked in the repair department of KBB Music in Auckland. Moving away from Auckland in 2006 meant a necessary kick start of his own workshop, concentrating on the manufacturing of Wooden Flutes, Aluminum Low Whistles and Uilleann-Pipe Parts, as well as repairs. The workshop has been in West Auckland since 2008 where the workload is made up of Woodwind Repairs and complete overhauls and restorations, as well as Wooden Flute and Low Whistle manufacturing and the odd tool making endeavor.

Current hobbies include; tool making, home brewing, distilling, Apple wine making, burning Lichtenberg figures, Jewelry making - using the Silver offcuts from key making, and anything else that can be done in a well-stocked workshop. In the unlikely event we run out of stuff while talking about key making.

The Devil's In The Details:
Optimising Your Basic Clarinet Work

Geoff Secomb

Although clarinets are probably the most simple of the woodwinds to work on, we shouldn't assume they are always easy straightforward.

We'll take a deep dive into the details that can take your work to the next level of craft and understanding, with time for questions, discussion and sharing.

Geoff Secomb graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Instrumental Performance) and in 1981 with a Graduate Diploma in Music (Instrumental Performance.) His clarinet teacher was Mr. Rodney Jacobson.

His performance highlights include 5 years in the Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra, four of those years as Principal Clarinet. He worked as a professional musician for several years, including significant time with both the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Theatre Orchestra, and also played for professional theatre productions. He has also been a member of several community orchestras over the years.

Geoffrey has also spent a considerable amount of time as a teacher in the State & Private school systems, and in his private teaching studio, and has also been heavily involved with local community musical theatre productions as an MD and a player since 1984.

His instrument repair life as a woodwind specialist started with a basic introduction to clarinet padding from his teacher, and has progressed from there for the last 45 years. With the exception of a couple of years as a wholesaler's sales rep, he has been full time repairing since 1989. His clientele includes everyone from beginners to top professional players. Instrument repairing is a natural extension of Geoffrey's long time proclivity to fix whatever he finds that isn't working, as long as it isn't electronic.