Topic: Split sides
Over the past couple years, one of the most persistent and frustrating problems with my reeds has been sides that are not fully closed. I explored every possible cause I can think of, with modest success. That is to say, my reeds generally generally aren't -as- split as they were in the past, but nearly every reed I finish still has split sides to some degree.
My first goal was to eliminate the creation of the reed blank as a potential cause. I have tried tying at various lengths, finding 73.4-5 with a Gilbert 1 shape on Chudnow staples to be ideal. I make sure the cane is tied abolutely "true" on the staple, and make my first few wraps a little looser than the rest. The result has been blanks with consistently closed sides, with occasional exceptions which I chalk up to "swayback" pieces of cane or other gouging issues.
When this improved, but did not eliminate the problem, I turned my attention to my scraping habits. It seems to me the most logical cause at this point would be the plaque, so I've been very careful to insert the plaque as little as possible, and keep it in for a minimal amount of time. I usually work on several reeds at once, scraping each reed for about 10 minutes at a time before rotating to the next. I also allow them to recouperate for at least a day between each stage (blank, definition of tip, initial definition of back/heart, finishing of tip and blend, final tuning/tone/resistance/response adjustments).
I have found that the point at which the sides split apart from each other almost invariably coincides with my scraping of blend and sides of the heart. Even as I execute the utmost caution at this stage of my reedmaking, I am continually stymied by the sides inexplicably splitting.
I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone could offer on this subject.
Lawrence Conservatory of Music
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