Topic: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I have used an older Landwell knife for many years.  I have a student that recently purchased one that is significantly different than mine (wider, from thumb to reed blade, thinner/ "chatterier" blade) that just won't hold a sharpening like mine.

I'm looking for a good double hollow ground knife to recommend to students...any recommendations?

Candi Morris
Oboe/EH/Oboe d'amore
Dayton, OH

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Doesn't Landwell sell different strengths of steel.  I know a lot of people like the Landwell and if you liked yours you might just need to try a different one from Landwell.  I use the ones from the Phila. Reed Knife Co. but I wouldn't recommend them to you if you don't like the thinner blades because these are inconsistent and you can get ones that are pretty thin.  Kent

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

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I have a Landwell "H" (hard), as well as my student.  But, the "build" of my knife is significantly different than mine.  The chatter of the new knife on the cane is annoying, and it does not keep a good edge. 

I had, in the past, a Phila. Reed knife (Herder?) which I liked quite well...are these knives still available?  From where?  Does anyone have experience with the new Landwells?

Candi Morris
Oboe/EH/Oboe d'amore
Dayton, OH

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I just ordered one recently.  You can get them from a few different places. 
http://www.charlesmusic.com/cgi-bin/theo?PAGER_offset=9&action=category&main_category=Knives+and+Stones&sub_category=Knives
http://www.reedmaster.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=DSRSS&Product_Code=50&Category_Code=TE

This might be worth looking at.
http://www.reedsnstuff.de/equipment_usa/knifes_usa/knifes_usa.htm
The Jende is very expensive but some feel is worth it
http://beast.voltztech.com/~jende/home.php?cPath=36
http://www7.mailordercentral.com/frederichweinerinc/products.asp?dept=1720
This is Herder style which was the old name of the Phila. Reed Knife Co.
http://www.webreeds.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=84_86&products_id=345

I hope some of these will work for you.  Kent

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

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I have a Philadelphia (Herder) knife, a Landwell M, and a Chudnow knife.  The Herder is my favorite for consistency and holding an edge.  It lives in my reed tools pouch, and I don't go anywhere without it.  I can use it for a couple months, using only the ceramic sticks to maintain the edge.  The Chudnow knife is also very good.  It is very consistent and holds an edge for a long time.  The only drawback for me is it is heavier than the Herder.  I find myself gripping it tensely.  Not good.  I like the Landwell knife when it is sharp, but find that I have to go back to the diamond stone frequently to keep the edge.  The Landwell spends a lot of time in the drawer...

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I purchased my Herder knife from Midwest five or six years ago.  I don't have a recent catalog, but you could check their website to see if they're still available.

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I really like Mark Chudnow's knives. They have a comfortable handle and a very solid hollow ground blade that sharpens easily and does not chatter. And, they are not very expensive. I used them when I made oboe and English horn reeds and find them especially well suited for bassoon reeds. They are available directly from Mark or from other suppliers.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

You are correct, Lynn.  Midwest has the Herder knife too.  Not cheap though.  http://www.mmimports.com/catalog.cfm?Action=ShowProduct&ProductID=191
Kent

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

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I picked up my Phila Reed Knife Co. Herder knife from Nielsen's and their price is much less than MMimports at the moment.
http://www.nielsen-woodwinds.com/pc-5049-138-knife-philadelphia.aspx

Best Regards,
Stephen Kaupiko
Los Angeles, CA

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I use the Forrest's double hollowground "house" knife (easy to get) with a 00 Frictionite stone (impossible to get I understand) and it's mighty sharp with minimum fuss.

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I've done a great deal of research into the Herder knifes and the Philadelphia Reed Knife Company knifes lately, as I intend to add reed knifes with (probably) custom knife handles of exotic hardwoods in the very near future. I've been shopping for knife blades that are already well known to double reed players to use in these knives. Here's what I learned about the forementioned brands:

There used to be a man named Herder who had a knife shop on Sansom St. in downtown Philadelphia, an easy walk from the Academy of Music and the Curtis Institute. He made and sold all kinds of quality cutlery right there in that shop. His double hollow ground knives had a nice thick blade, good steel, and quality workmanship. The reed knife survey that I recently did (as well as my own experience) shows that these decades-old knives are found to be still in use today, although in most cases the blades are quite narrow from wear. Herder died MANY years ago, and that was THE END to Herder reed knife production. Herder's daughter wanted to continue the reed knife business, so she found another manufacturer to make the knives, but for legal reasons could not use the Herder name on the knives, so she started a new company called the Philadelphia Reed Knife Co. These are the knives which are found today. They are sold by many different merchants under several diferent names, but they are easiliy identifyable. I've bought and used many of these knives over the years. Dr. Moore's comments on these knives is correct; they have thinner blades that the original Herder knives, but they are easy to get VERY SHARP using crock sticks. You can pay a lot more money for less effective knives than these. They faired well in my survey, as did the knife mentioned above by Gene Carter. These two blades are currently my favored choices for a lower-priced blade, and I'm still searching for one or two premium blades.

David Crispin

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Candi and Kent,

My new medium Landwell knife has, in addition to the double hollow grindings a third hollow grinding on the bottom edge of the right hand knife blade. I think that Landwell may have added this third grinding to make the edge thinner, because the hardened steel sharpens very slowly with a white rod ceramic sharpener. The thinner blade might chatter more than the older model.

Now, though the DMT DiamondVee diamond rod sharpener is available (See: "Superb DMT DiamondVee Sharpener" in the reed making section), and this will sharpen even the hardest steel blades with ease. So Landwell could go back to a knife with a thicker wedge and less chatter.

I like to use three rod sharpeners in sequence: diamond rod, ceramic rod, and finishing with smoothing steels.

If you know about these rod sharpeners, you can sharpen any knife easily. So the only concern is finding an appropriately heavy or light blade for the reed making job at hand. I like the lighter, hollow ground blades for finishing the tip, and the heavier, more wedge-shaped blades for working the back of the reeds without any chatter.

I like the shapes of the blades of the Charles double hollow ground knife, the Swiss stainless steel knife and (Kent) the Chinese knife best. But the Landwell knives certainly do hold their edge a long time, and it's probably possible to sharpen this hardened steel to a slightly sharper edge.

Currently my "heavy" knife for back-of-the-reed work is a very worn Swiss double hollow ground knife that is almost the equivalent of the much wedgier "straight" knife.

Edward B. Flowers (ob)

Last edited by edward flowers (2006-10-08 20:36:44)

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

if you are looking for a good knife i would recommend the leatherman tool because this is already tested for the best quality.

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

IMO, the criteria for cheapest products is not always the best in the long run. I like the Charles Double Reed Knife for a mid-range knife, myself. I never hear of any issues with them.

Kent, If I may - the link you posted for the Jende Reed Knife is no longer valid. Here is a working link:
http://www.jendeindustries.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JENDE&Product_Code=1004&Category_Code=REKNIVES

Thanks!
Tom Blodgett
Jende Industries, LLC

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Among my variety of knives tried over the years I like the Nielsen double hollow ground best for ease of sharpening and price. I especially like being able to pick the handle size. I have a large hand for a woman and get better control with their large handle.

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

There are alot of knives out there and many good ones if they are sharpened properly. I use thinner blades after years of using Rigotti single bevel. I don't have any problem with chatter in spite of the thickness of the blade, I think due to how the knife is sharpened. Probably too, technique has something to do with the blade chattering. I've used heavy blades and had them skip(bigger skips than chattering) and sometimes dig in too much. The Jendes are nice but pricey, so is Landwell. People get used to what they've been using and I'm sure you will find equal results with a range of knives. It would be a good idea, if you had the time, to go to the IDRS conf or anywhere else you could to try different and see what you like.

ReedDaddy.com

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I have used the deluxe razor knives by Chudnow exclusively for several years now and they are wonderful.  Very consistent, reasonably priced and gets a fine edge easily.

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

I have stopped using Landwell knives. Very inconsistent, too expensive for how long they last and overall worsening quality.

I have however found a fantastic knife -- The wedge knife that is sold by Nielsen Woodwinds. These are amazing knives and I have actually recommended them to many students and colleagues who all happened to have been die-hard Herder or Landwell fans. They have all converted. The best thing is that the Nielsen knives are relatively inexpensive and last FOREVER. I have three of them (each for a different portion of scraping process) and one of them is literally about 10 years old and still sharpens like new.

I highly recommend these knives as one of the most economical and best knives on the market -- hands down!

Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Amen, Shawn. I switch back & forth between my single bevel Delta jointer blade & the Nielsen "knife" but you are absolutely right; the Nielsen is all anyone really ever needs. Good to go right out of the box & of course the price is good. Cost/benefit spot on.

Best,

john

Best,

john

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Thanks for the info, folks!  I, too, have been recently disappointed in Landwell knives, which I have used exclusively for many years.  It's a shame to see this sudden deterioration in quality, and hope they are able to correct it soon.  I'm glad, though, to find it's not because I've somehow lost the ability to sharpen correctly!  I've placed an order for one of the Nielsen knives -- so, if I don't like it, Shawn, you'll have to buy it off of me!

Cheers, from one "Ohio boy" to another!

JM

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Okay, so I received my Neilsen knife yesterday, and was having problems similar to those I've experienced with recent Landwells:  The edge (burr) I get is "spotty," as in not consistent from one end of the blade to the other.  Instead of a nice clean burr all the way across, it looks "frayed" or "choppy."  So, on a whim, I applied heat to the blade using my butane torch (about two minutes' worth of passing the blade back and forth through the hottest part of the flame), and cooled it under the kitchen faucet.  Problem gone!  I can get a great looking burr now, though it does take longer on the stone now to get results.  I'm going to do this to my growing collection of Landwell "rejects" to see if I can get similar results. 

So, for those of you with real knife-making experience, can you give us some pointers on re-tempering the steel of our knives, if they're having problems taking a good edge?  Should I continue experimenting, or can you offer some useful instruction in this regard?  Thanks to all with something to contribute!

Best,

Jonathan

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

John,

That's a very interesting approach you took! I'm glad it worked.

I think what you did, in theory, was draw out some of the carbon with the heat, and slightly re-tempered the edge - I think you may have made it softer, which would lead to the more even burr, as harder edges tend to be more chippy. I could be wrong, though...

Hey, as long as it works smile

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

John,
What part of Ohio are you originally from?

I actually don't use stones very often at all to sharpen my Nielsen knives. I use one of the sharpening steels that Roger Miller of Cincinnati sells. I use it almost exclusively and get, as my students and colleagues call it, a "Scary sharp edge". I do of course have to break out my Very fine diamond stone about once every two or three months.

Let me know how the heat thing goes with your Landwells -- I wonder if the imported steel from China is an issue with the Landwell knives? My dad is a former steel worker who has unfortunately lost his job due to Chinese steel being imported so cheap -- he said it is very easy to tell Chinese steel as it is very "unfinished" and "unclean" to look at it. I wonder if that is also the affect its having that the heat strengthening is helping? Interesting....

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

Hey Shawn,

I hail from the once-farm-town-now-turned-Columbus-suburb of Groveport, Ohio.  But I owe my early, formative, years to the rural out-skirts of New Burn, North Carolina.

I'll have to check out Roger Miller's sharpening steel, as you're certainly not the first to report success with this product.  I've only ever used stones and strops, so this will be something new for me!

Regarding my experiments with Landwell knives, I heated the blade by passing it slowly through the flame of my butane torch until the metal turned a bright purple color (approx. 2-3 minutes), then dunked it in a mug of tap water.  I've noticed an immediate improvement in the knife's ability to take a consistent, clean edge.  Again, I'm just shooting in the dark here, with no formal metallurgical training whatsoever (so I cannot guarantee results), but I've now done this to the Nielsen knife, two "medium" Landwells and one "hard," all with similar favorable results.

I have no knowledge concerning Chinese steel, and weather or not it is a factor in Landwell knife production.  My understanding was that Landwell uses a proprietary "formula" for their steel, and does not rely on an outside source.  This could be totally wrong, though, as I have very frequently (especially since getting married) been proven to be "misinformed" on any number of things!

Happy "reeding" to all!

Jonathan

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: Knives...oboe...any recommended brands/types?

"the metal turned a bright purple color, then dunked it in a mug of tap water" - Then you did indeed harden the steel, not soften it. I thought you just heated it up and let it cool down on its own, which would then soften it.

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, and please don't take this the wrong way, but most steel formulations are standardized and ordered straight from a distributor whether it is Chinese, American, Swedish, Japanese, or wherever (although each standard may use a different name for the same type of steel). Quality control, as we've seen with Mattel and other companies doing business in China, is another issue. On the other hand, KG reeds, which is based in China, uses a good quality steel for their reed knife.

Also, while the steel type may be kept secret (and there are LOTS of types), making it proprietary in that sense, the cost of making small or large batches of "special" steel and then making them into reed knives would be a bit prohibitive for a small company. In Landwell's defense, they do use a good steel that has a fine grain, which is what helps make scraping so smooth.