Making a Road Case for the Ophicleide: Middle Pad

Case Shell
Bow Pad
Bell Pad
Top Pad
Bocal Case
Complete Case

The bow pad is critical in its role of securing the bottom and of the ophicleide, but it has very little 'grip' in the instrument. There is the possibility that the horn will try to rotate and stress the bow pad assembly during transit. Also, there are other stresses that can be diverted from taxing the bow pad. An ideal place to resist those stress forces is the center of the instrument where the tubing ends by the bocal fitting. It is not necessary to support the instrument here, but rather to keep it from twisting. Since the cross section of the instrument is quite oblong at this point, a pad can be readily applied to solve all these problems.

This photo shows the middle pad being test fit. Note that it does not extend above the aluminum valance of the case.

This photo shows the middle pad with the necessary cutout to fit the ophicleide's two parallel tubes. Note that the centerline of the instrument is still well below the center of the case at this point, but it is rising towards the centered bell end. This pad must fit the case shell firmly in order for adhesive to do an adequate job.

When figuring out the position of the cutout, make sure that the bell of the instrument is temporarily padded up so that it is not resting on it's rim, but is instead centered with the case in both dimensions.

This photo shows the ophicleide in position to test that it lines up with the three main pad sections. Make sure to position the middle pad on one of the high spots inside the case, so the glue will have more purchase. Also, the pad must not come too close to any of the keys or other protruding parts of the ophicleide. 

At this point, the ophicleide should fit quite firmly in the case, with no end-to-end movement and no appreciable movement in the other two dimensions.

At this point the case would be ready to transport the instrument, except for one area where the ophicleide can move freely; the bell can still move up against gravity. Another pad is required on the top of the case to hold the bell end down when closed; see the next chapter......

All photos made using a Kodak DC240 digital camera.

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Copyright Paul Schmidt 2000
added September 2000