My name is Mike Barnes. I have for many years, played and owned a wide variety of Saxophones both vintage and modern. My passion for the saxophone has spanned many years and has managed to be with me throughout my working career, in one way or another!
I have had a successful career in aerospace engineering for over 25 years covering a wide range of disciplines on many types of aircraft from airliners to fighter jets. I therefore understand the need for working to a high standard with fine detail, and I apply that to every challenge I undertake.
The idea of Saxstuff was thought up in 2009, mainly out of the need to find a set of key guards for a King Super 20 Tenor Saxophone I took on as a "Project". On closer inspection, as well as key guards, this particular horn was also missing several other parts. Unable to source them, either new or secondhand, I resorted to making my own.
I decided at the very outset to steer away from CNC methods, but instead, to manufacture my key guards by using the hammering and annealing process. This keeps the brass workable without cracking during hammering and shaping. For me, there is something very therapeutic about beating a piece of flat metal sheet into a complex 3-dimensional shape! After some initial "trial and error" moments, forming of the guard was complete and the distinctive shaped holes were then carefully cut out by hand using a jeweller’s saw and the holes drilled for the fixing screws. After a final tidy up with some precision files, the guard was polished and fitted to the Super 20.
As it turned out I seemed to be quite good at doing this particular kind of thing. I then set about making the other remaining parts needed for "Project Super 20". Whilst some of these other parts presented many challenges, I took them all in my stride.
**Logical thinking, forbearance and unwavering determination got the job done**
After completing the sax I wondered how many other people had found themselves in the same situation, also in need of obscure parts for their horns.
**Little did I know where this would lead **
I began to respond to the "Parts Wanted" sections of popular online saxophone forums, like 'SOTW' and 'Cafe Saxophone', which has since resulted in me making a wide range of sax parts. Whilst I initially thought about making parts for other makes of saxophones, I have ultimately ended up specialising in King Super 20 and post war Zephyr parts.
**I would like to branch out into other makes in the future as and when time allows**
Years later I still don't use CNC, and while my production methods may have improved over the years, everything is still 100% handcrafted.
**Spare parts all sounds a bit dull and boring really , perhaps that's why some of my customers prefer instead, to call it "Magic in Metal" **