Got it all sealed up and reassembled! It’s nice to hear it play for the first time. The reeds seem to be in great shape and still pretty well tuned (well, compared to some older melodicas I have played.)
Lots of leaky pads, though. Probably going to need to just replace a few rather than keep messing with the existing pads. After an hour or so of tweaking, it got much better, and is now better sealed than my other HM Prof 36, so that’s progress! But there are a few stubborn pads that no amount of tweaking seems to make right; I think it will be easier to just pop off the pad, clean out all the glue, wax, etc, put a new pad surface on it, and let it settle in properly.
Lessons: the metal arms that lead from the keys to the pads have very little clearance over the bypass airway cowling thing. Yet another reason I wish I hadn’t removed that part: the wax I used to seal it shut raised it up slightly and so one of the arms was hitting it and thus not able to seat entirely. I filed away some of the arm and it’s fine now. Took a while to figure that out, as it was just barely contacting! There is a clearance of about the thickness of one sheet of paper on most of the arms… yikes… very close. 🙂
Despite the extreme care I took, there was a leak in the wood veneer as well. Easily fixed with some wax, but surprised me.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to get the rod in and out now; just takes a few seconds. Given how hard it was to remove, this is great news, because I have to get it out and in many times when working on the keys.
The 3/8″-16 cap I mentioned earlier for use on the spit valve turns out to not seal well after all, so I stuffed a little foam rubber in there and it seems to be working now.
Even without the seal being perfect, I think I can tell already that the wisdom is true: these really do seem to take more air per reed. Kinda disappointing, but maybe once I get it fully sealed it will be a little better. Must be why they don’t use these reeds any more, which is a shame, since they sound really nice.
I’m happy to report that dry ice is a useful way to leak test these things; using the metal plate I made for the purpose, I put some chips in a small bottle and it worked great: