Topic: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I make (or attempt to make) reeds using pre-gouged and profiled cane. I do it this way:

Beveling
scoring
Mark wires
Cut collar
Soak
Fold and put 1st wire
Put in heated forming mandrel and crush
Put on third wire
Put on second wire
Put on drying rack


This is my process...but often I will wake up the next morning to find that a split has formed down the middle of the bark and into the blade. Most of the time it is not very far into the blade, and sometimes it can be fixed, but I feel like glue dampens the sound and filing it down weakens the spine. Any suggestions? Thank you.


-Phil
NYC

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

How long do you soak for and if it's a shorter amount of time, is it hot water? (I only soak for half an hour in hot water and I never get cracks). Also, maybe you could try putting the first and second wires on THEN put in the heated mandrel.

David Husby
CIM '14

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I don't use wires when forming any more, I think it constricts the cane too much and just creates too much pressure. Now when I form I wrap the reed tightly with a fat rubber band, from the shoulder to the bottom, and then insert the mandrel. (I also use a cold mandrel.) Then I leave it on the drying rack for at least 24 hours before putting the wires on.

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

How many scores?  7 is pretty common, but you could try more.  Also, how long are the scores?  Longer may help. The profile could also be too thick.  Forget forming with wires, IMO. Try flat cotton shoe laces to wrap the reed and then form.  Follow the video on the Herzberg bevel on the idrs multimedia page. He does not form with wires and leaves it to dry for 2 weeks before beveling and wires.  Reed making is a life long trial an error process. Try to find the root of the problem and make one change a reed to isolate the problem. If you change several variables at once, you may not know which one was the culprit.  Some people actually want a small crack on the back of the blade on a blank, and if I recall, they form with the first wire on. My opinion is that cracking is pretty unpredictable, so consistency should be more important.

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I do not use scoring. I always before forming with mandrel put 1st wire, cut in the bark completely till first wire (4 or 5 cuts), and put 2nd wire. Both wires should be tight hard so the split is not going down to the blade. After forming with mandrel I put 3rd wire and let it dry.

This method lets me to get the area between the 1st and 2nd almost round and avoid crack in the blade. I  believe it's more European style, but maybe you can use some of ideas.

Also if the cane is hard you might need to soak the cane longer.

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I know that thicker profiles result in more splits than thinner.  So, if you find that in your finishing process you usually end up taking cane off the back then you might try setting your profiling machine to cut a little thinner in the back.  Putting on a tight first wire definitely reduces the number of splits.  I heat the cane in hot water rather than using a heated mandrel because I want to soften the cane all the way through, especially the outside where splits occur.  Taking out the surface splits that do occur rarely takes the arch out of a reed.  It the split is very bad it is probable you had a weakness or small split in the cane and didn't realize it before forming.  I never use glue on the blade.  I've never had a reed with a surface crack to leak.  If it did I would discard it.

Dale Clark

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I also use bassoonkd's method of cutting into the bark with a razor blade.  It's very fast and efficient and produces the least amount of cracks for me!  I use the NN (Norbert Nielubowski) Elliptical Bassoon Mandrel by Rieger for opening up the tube and putting on the 3rd wire, then use a Rigotti mandrel for tightening the wires and rounding the tube with pliers.
http://www.njnbassoon.com/tools.html

David Husby
CIM '14

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

bsndavid wrote:

http://www.njnbassoon.com/tools.html

Hi David,
Just want to tell you that "Reedmaking Machines" link on your website does not work.

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

That's not my website, but I'll let them know.

David Husby
CIM '14

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

The link (http://www.njnbassoon.com/tools.html)
is working for me.

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I can think of a handful of methods to help prevent cane splitting when forming. Some of them you already are doing, and some are already mentioned; but I'll give you a little more detail.

Excessive Soaking
Soak your cane for a few days before forming. Change the water and rinse the cane with fresh water daily. The more saturated the cane is, the more flexible it is.

Warm Soaking
Soak the cane in warm water just before forming. Allow the cane to absorb the warm water, but don't allow it to cool before forming. Warm cane is also more flexible.

Score
Scoring with a blade is better than not scoring at all. Try scoring with a metal tap. It cuts uniforme grooves in the cane.

Wrapping
After you put your first wire on, wrap the tube and even a little of the blade with twine, string, thead, a rubber band -- tightly. Then put it on the forming mandrel. If you can, let it sit for a couple weeks after this before continuing.

For more tips check out the reeds section of my website. jimwesthoff.com

I used to have this problem all the time. Now I use the above methods and I haven't split any cane since.

Happy Reed Making,
Jim

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."  --Jimi Hendrix

Music Stand Shelves (reed cases, mandrels, & drying racks coming soon):
www.jimwesthoff.com/products

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

I just wrote a pretty lengthy blog posting on how I form the tube of a reed. I almost never see any cracks at all. It could be a cane quality issue, but here are some techniques:

http://trentjacobs.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/reed-making-how-i-do-it-part-1/

http://trentjacobs.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/reed-making-how-i-do-it-part-2/

http://trentjacobs.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/reed-making-how-i-do-it-part-3/

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

One idea that I received from the late Gerald Corey (who knew a thing or two about reedmaking) is to change the way you score.  Instead of scoring parallel to the sides of the reed, score the bark a few degrees to one side, with the scores parallel to each other, but a few degrees off from the side of the reed.  You will end up with a reed that has scores that are spirals, but due to the fact that they are not straight up and down the reed, the chances of having a crack are greatly reduced as a crack cannot change direction to follow a score.
As for soaking,  I soak for a minimum of 48 hours before I try to form a tube, I put on the first wire (completely loose) and I use an elastic to form it.  I have very few cracks this way.  In the past, I also steamed the tubes as I was forming, and the heating often helped, but I stopped as I felt that the 48 hours made the cane more than soft enough. 
Now, if only I could consistently finish a reed.....
Good luck.

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

Dean wrote:

Now, if only I could consistently finish a reed.....
Good luck.

http://www.millermarketingco.com/ultimate_reed_machine/index.htm

Seriously the second best bassoon investment I have ever made (second only to my Moosmann 222A bassoon, of course)

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

in reading your process for making blanks you've put soaking the cane as the fourth step. make it the first step, then continue as you've done previously. if no success with your own method try the helpful suggestions from the comments listed previously, keeping in mind that simplest is best. good luck!
charles mccracken

Share

Re: Help! Cane splitting during drying. Suggestions appreciated.

This looks like a great idea.  However if I bought this, I have a feeling that I would start thinking it was a really bad idea just as I begin reading the divorce papers.  I'll keep buying mine from Yanhui,  ( www.bassoon123.us )  and continuing my efforts!  Hopefully Justin will have one with him in Montreal in April.   Thanks for the heads-up.

Dean.

Trent wrote:
Dean wrote:

Now, if only I could consistently finish a reed.....
Good luck.

http://www.millermarketingco.com/ultimate_reed_machine/index.htm

Seriously the second best bassoon investment I have ever made (second only to my Moosmann 222A bassoon, of course)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

Share