Topic: Here's how I make reeds.

I decided to do a pictorial blog post series about my reed making process if anyone is interested.

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/

I welcome thoughts or comments of course. I'm also willing to field questions.

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: Here's how I make reeds.

Thanks Trent.  Looks great.  Sending it to my students now.  Kent

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

Re: Here's how I make reeds.

Nice, Trent.  I have a question..do you really ream a wet blank?  I always ream dry blanks to avoid tearing the internal tube, but I don't use a Rieger Reamer...I have a couple Popkin Reamers of different vintages that I usually use, as well as a spiral Pisoni. 

I shall certainly email these links to all my students and use them as a basic starting point and, at least, a reference for them.

Thanks....

Frank Watson
Greenville (SC) Symphony Orchestra
Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Converse College
Presbyterian College

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Re: Here's how I make reeds.

Nice, simple and clear.

Bravo!

Re: Here's how I make reeds.

Frank, yes, I always ream wet. The cane expands when it's wet, so to get the best fit you should ream when the reed is expanded like it would be when you would have it on the bocal. I always soak the entire reed including the tube, not just the blades. The tube gets wet anyway, even if you don't deliberately soak it.

I have had my share of reamers that will just rip apart the cane, and the Rieger will too if you go too fast. I think the Rieger does it well because the spirals aren't too horizontal, nor are they too straight up, so they cut cleanly. I go slowly, cleaning the reamer out frequently with a toothbrush to make sure the cuts stay clean. I then finish with the Rieger diamond reamer and if I have to, clean out the throat with a rat tail file.

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: Here's how I make reeds.

I, too, wonder if you ream your blanks wet... I've been making reeds for many years, but can always learn something new! Thanks for your posts!

David Bell
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon

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Re: Here's how I make reeds.

That was amazing Trent! As an Undergrad student it really helps to see what others do and often fixes problems!! Going to try your technique on my next batch ^_^

DB

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Re: Here's how I make reeds.

I think I see how the reaming-while-wet was kinda controversial. I just made two reeds using the method that both of my teachers used, which entailed:
1. Beveling with a blade
2. Forming the tube round with thread
3. Putting the wires on
4. crushing the tube with pliers
5. Letting the reed dry
etc. etc.

When I did this I was able to form the tube so that it dried on the mandrel all the way down, but the next day the wires were really loose, as you'd expect. Snugging up the third wire all the way, then the second and first somewhat, I wrapped and glued and set about the finishing process. The tube was too small after soaking again due to me tightening the third wire.

I went to ream wet and the cane shredded apart like crazy. I think because I crushed the tube the fibers of the cane were already pretty much pulp, so throwing a reamer into the wet pulp really made for a messy ream. My hypothesis is that crushing the tube or possibly even just putting the wires on while the cane is wet (which will crush a little) creates this issue when reaming wet.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by Trent (2011-03-27 10:36:13)

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