Topic: Ceramic knives?

Hi folks,

I'm a bassoonist just learning the fine art of oboe reedmaking.  I have the typically dull bassoonist's beveled knife and need a new one for my oboe tip work.  I've heard the new ceramic knives keep a very sharp edge for quite awhile.  Does anyone have an opinion on these?

Thanks for your help!
Heather Ainsworth-Dobbins

Re: Ceramic knives?

Hi Heather:

There are some opinions on Miller Marketing's web site here.  http://www.millermarketingco.com/kyocera/

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Ceramic knives?

More info http://www.doublereed.org/IDRSBBS/viewtopic.php?id=9524

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Ceramic knives?

I picked up a ceramic paring knife on eBay about 15 months ago.  Have used it regularly on my Bassoon reeds.  I did try making an oboe reed with it when it was new, and while it was plenty sharp, I didn't feel much feed back from the edge as it scraped the cane.  Currently I think that it is finally getting a little dull, even for Bassoon reeds, and I'll probably look to replace it soon...but for under $20 it has stayed sharp enough for Bassoon reedwork for over a year, and I like the curved blade for working in the channels.  IMO ceramic knives may be great, especially for beginners, but I don't feel they are the answer for oboe reedmaking.

Frank Watson
Greenville (SC) Symphony
Spartanburg Philharmonic
Converse College

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Re: Ceramic knives?

Ceramic knives do work as reed knives.

However, ceramic knives are shaped to cut and slice, not to scrape. There is also no formation of a burr, which can cause some confusion.

Also be aware that any attempt to touch up the edge of a ceramic or reshape it for scraping requires the use of Diamonds or CBN. Almost all other sharpening equipment is rendered useless against the ceramics.

As a beginner, it may be worth playing with as an inexpensive introduction into reed making and adjusting. If it doesn't pan out, you always have a good ceramic paring knife for the kitchen! - You can't say that about a reed knife that doesn't work out for you! smile

Re: Ceramic knives?

Thanks for the replies, everyone!