Topic: Reboring - from the IDRS OnLine Archive

Reboring (11/21/2004)
Kent Moore
Hi: I am wondering how many have had successful work done to the bore of their bassoons. I have heard nightmare stories of bassoons ruined and also success stories. Shortly after I received my 7000 series Heckel, I took it to Marcus in Toronto and he compared it to a catalogue of other instruments he had measured over the years. He had the reamer inside my wing joint and was ready to ream on my word but I decided against it since the instrument was fairly new to me and I wanted to get to know it better and not just ream without a good reason other than it might be small compared to other wing joints. The only bore work I have had since is that John Shamlian put a dab of shellac on the inside of my long joint. I don't remember the reason for this. I guess it creates another node in the bore. Has anyone else done anything similar or does anyone know what effect this would have. Does it create more resistance? I also noticed that by turning my bell just a little that there was less resistance in the low register and so I had Sawicki add an extension for me so that I could keep the bell turned and the B-flat would still work. I know some have bought complete bassoons just to use the bell and of course Fox is making new bells and u-tubes too. Thanks, Kent  Dr. Kent Moore Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory Northern Arizona University

Re: Reboring
By Norman Herzberg | Interview
As one who has had reboring done on two Heckel bassoons by a repairman, I would advise against it. My instruments were not spoiled, but they were not improved either. The Heckel concern is very obliging and if you want it done, have them do it. They keep excellent records and no doubt they would know the dimensions of the bores of their bassoons. If there is something that you think may be wrong, no doubt they can set it right. I think the same goes for any bassoon maker--Fox, Schreiber, Puchner, Walter, etc. It seems to me that you are better off with reboring only if the maker finds it necessary. Moennig was absolutely right in altering the tone holes which could be corrected if necessary. You cannot undo a bore when some repair person has gone too far with his "theory". My experience has led me to believe that another bocal,-not by number, or year- or a different reed can help many situations. At least they can be changed! The most dramatic change for the better in my case was the cure for "cracking" notes in the middle register. It took me many years of trying different reeds, Moennig's enlarging holes in the bocals and in the boot joint, before I found that the real cure was in using the speaker keys. Now, even that can be made automatic with Arthur's key arrangements. Don't have someone fool around with the bore when they do not know the dimensions the maker intended. If at all possible, contact the manufacturer and have them do it if necessary. Remember, an incorrectly rebored instrument cannot be undone! Norman Herzberg

Re: Reboring
By Chip Owen
Frequently, one of the first jobs a repairer must do is fix the previous repair job.  Most amateur repair jobs are easy to fix.  It is not possible to undo a rebore job.  The wood is gone.  Attempting to replace the lost wood can make matters worse. 

There are times when bore work is a normal part of a repair.  These times usually involve some other type of damage.  Replacing a broken tenon necessitates bore work in a limited area.  Moisture damage often involves swelling of the bore that must be stabilized and returned to normal.  These are true repairs in which limited bore work is an essential part of the job. 

Reboring because somebody believes the existing bore is wrong is dangerous.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails miserably.  The bore is the foundation upon which everything else is based.  When someone chooses to mess around with that foundation they're also messing with everything else that depends on it. 

Most reboring involves a claim of knowing the "ideal dimensions" that a bore should measure.  There is no such thing.  Attempting to impose a set of "ideal dimensions" on an existing instrument has a high probability of failure.  Among manyh other things, normal bores are usually not round or straight.  Attempting to correct those normal errors can cause unwanted and unexpected errors. 

The maker of any instrument produced the complete instrument to work together with itself.  Be very cautious about anyone who claims that they can improve on the work of the maker.  Don't let them do anything that cannot be undone when it proves wrong.

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, U of Colorado at Boulder
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications
Administrator, IDRS Forum