This mouthpiece was obviously attacked with really course sandpaper.
Beginning at the ligature line, a "new" facing curve was rasped on to this Riffault alto mouthpiece. Here is a close up of the "workmanship."
The table was also violated, and the artisan's spasmodic alteration continues on to the mouthpiece shank.
I suspect that it was not a person who modified this, but rather, a chimpanzee. None of the pictures on Ebay showed this damage when I purchased it. It was simply a vintage hard rubber alto mouthpiece with a nice brass cap and ligature. I recognized it as a Riffault and spent $25.
Be careful when buying an old vintage mouthpiece as a "carcass" to work on. $25 is okay with a nice ligature and cap. That way, after you put a new lay on the piece, you know that you have a ligature that fits and a cap that protects your new work.
Keeping a cap on a vintage hard rubber piece is very important. Little nicks and dents to the rails and tip will effect how it plays. It also protects it from ultraviolet damage. You can polish off discolored areas with some difficulty. A brown residue will be left on your polishing cloth. Undamaged (black) ebonite will not leave a residue. This should tell us something. Brown discolored ebonite is softer than undamaged ebonite. You might not see sun damage on the rails and tip, but it's there, possibly making the area softer. Keep a cap on it.
When shopping for a carcass, don't buy something like this!!! Click on it to enlarge.
Back to my $25 Riffault mouthpiece. The damage to the shank will be hard to correct, but the rest of it doesn't matter that much, as I was intending to reface it anyway. The goofy table and lay will make that a little more difficult at the beginning.
How goofy is the table and lay? First, I slide my .0015 inch feeler gauge under the mouthpiece while it is on my granite bench top. That tells me instantly the approximate length of the lay and whether it is straight. This should be good.
As you would expect from the pictures, it is a mess. I've never seen a mouthpiece this bad before. Here goes.
First I need to flatten the table. Because it is such a mess, I'm going to start with aggressive 220 sandpaper.
Once the table is flat and long enough, I have to start thinking about the tip. But not the entire tip. Before I open the tip back up to something that is usable, this is a good time to clean up the baffle and chamber. It is a disaster. As are the side rails. But now it the time to clean up the inside and then I can put the lay on and not have to mess with the interior very much.
If you want to try something like a vintage Selmer or Rico Gregory, here is your chance at 1/10th the cost. This Riffault now actually has more baffle than most vintage pieces but, if I reduced it, there is no going back (other than sticking goop on the inside to create a baffle). I hate sticking epoxy and stuff inside to make a baffle. All you are doing is putting a baffle in a piece that has a lay that you like. Buy a piece with a baffle and put the same lay on it! There is never a need to have a baffle booger stuck inside of your mouthpiece!!
I have some other blogs on facing junker mouthpieces. It is surprising how often I find that they are junkers only because of bad facings. Even a plastic Selmer Goldentone can make an interesting piece when it has a new facing.