Making a Road Case for the Ophicleide: Completed Case

Case Shell
Bow Pad
Bell Pad
Middle Pad
Top Pad
Bocal Case

These photos show the completed ophicleide road case. In this view the bocal box is open but it is apparent how the bow pad assembly will keep the lid shut during transit.

One more refinement can be made to improve the utility of the case; mounting hardware for a folding music stand. The author uses the excellent Konig + Meyer brand stand made in Germany; it comes with a nylon gig bag of its own. Since the stand is relatively heavy and made of metal, it is imperative that it be firmly secured inside the ophicleide case to prevent damage to the instrument.

Two angled foam runners were glued to the bottom of the bocal box, and the stand in its bag slips between them, held vertically between the bocal box plywood bottom and the case shell; a perfect fit! To hold the stand in place, a lightweight aluminum bracket was attached to the case shell, with two bolts through the shell. Stainless steel 8-32 truss head bolts were used with lock nuts. The bracket was bent by hand to a slightly shallower curve than the inside of the case; the gap had just enough room for the lock nuts of two truss head bolts and wide washers which pass through a nylon web strap. One more aluminum bracket was secured using the two bolts used by the center handle; it is bent up on the end to prevent the stand from sliding out of its wood and foam 'tunnel' during transit. The yellow object on this bracket is the SKB label with emergency '800' phone number for free latch replacement, useful if one gets damaged while you are on a trip!

This photo shows the completed case with bocal and ophicleide installed.
This photo shows the completed case with bocal box closed and music stand strapped into its tunnel.
This photo shows the music stand mounting details. The red strap is a nylon web type, similar to automobile seat belt material. It was purchased from a pet shop, and was intended for use as a dog collar. The strap was cut short and the end was fused by holding it briefly over a flame. The two holes for the bolts that hold the strap to the aluminum bracket were made with a large nail, heated over a flame and poked through the material. This method makes the hole easily and fuses the disrupted nylon strands at the same time to prevent fraying. Using a smaller nail, the holes for the buckle were made by the same procedure (the original holes were cut off when the strap was shortened from its original 'dog' length.) Such a strap modified and mounted as described can hold a lot of weight quite securely.
Here is one more view of the completed case.

An ophicleide is an expensive and relatively rare instrument. This makes it a precious object, and this is compounded by its fragile construction. The author designed this case and used the best materials available with the intention of producing a virtually indestructible yet lightweight case that would protect its precious contents through the roughest survivable handling likely to be encountered in travel. With all this said, transport of your ophicleide is your responsibility, and neither the author,  the Serpent Newsletter or the Serpent Website make any guarantee that a case built along these lines will be suitable for your travel situation.

All photos made using a Kodak DC240 digital camera.


1) Place a washcloth flat inside the bocal box, between the lid and the foam, to further pad the bocal and mouthpiece. The cloth can double as a rag to wipe the mouthpiece.

2) Place a permanent label with your name and phone number inside the case. 



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Copyright Paul Schmidt 2000
added September 2000