Stainless steel, Brass, Silver, Nickelsilver, Delerin, Nylon, Hardrubber or Wood.We carry a wide range of raw materials to be able to handle any chalange .
Woodwind instrument keys are available in:
1. Plastic, very rarely used. To our knowledge only from the British student clarinet maker Lyons, Buffet used to make their adjustable hand rest from galvanized plastic, and we have seen it at some Yanagisawa keys. Galvanized plastics are used extremely often for all sort of bathroom equipment like bath tubs, handles and more.
2. Brass is primarily used for necks and bells as well as for some historic instruments or recorders. Brass comes in many qualities.
3. Nickel silver is the preferred material for most woodwind instrument keys. It is also called alpaca or German-silver. Despite its name, it does not contain any silver anymore.
Nickel is a very hard metal, one of the most common ones we have on earth. It is an allow where nickel is added to brass. Polished, it is very shiny, which is the reason for its name. You can find it in cutleries, coins, housekeys and instrument keys.
The Nickel can cause allergies and will tarnish to a dull surface, if not protected. Therefore, the keys are usually first copper and then silver-plated. The silver will also work antibacterial.
Since the amount of Nickel-silver used for the music industry is comparatively low, the type of nickel-silver available in a country and for a manufacturer, depends often on the type of coins used. European nickel-silver has usually 10 or 12 %, American nickel-silver will have 18% nickel. The higher the nickel contends, the stronger the keys will be, but it makes them also hard to work with and difficult to bent. Besides that, it can wear down the steel rods quicker, if the surface is not perfect and cause faster wear. Very high-quality instrument use steel rods in combination with silver tubes.
For some student and a few professional instruments nickel-plating is offered to keep the price lower. On the long run, we believe that it is be better and cheaper to go for the silver-plated instruments do to 4 reasons:
1. The nickel plating will wear out faster and the instrument will look older than expected
2. This will reduce any reselling value
3. Risk of nickel allergies.
4. Because of that nickel-plated instruments are today forbidden to be sold in some countries.
4. Silver is only used for small keys, which are not exposed to big forces, since it is a very soft metal. On the other hand, it can be excellently machined and is antibacterial. Silver is almost exclusively used for flutes and occasionally for oboes.