Topic: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

I play on a fairly small reed and sometimes it is difficult for me to get the cane out of the channels/valleys if I want to take a lot out.  Sometimes I will scrape at an angle so I can get the cane out of the valleys but not the center or sides.  I wonder how many use a curved blade for this purpose.  Michael has recommended this Swiss Army Grafter http://www.swissknifeshop.com/shop/garden/victorinox/swiss-army-grafter-with-straight-blade  and then there is the Exacto http://www.drillspot.com/products/1150097/x-acto_x622_no_22_large_curve_carving_knife_blade?s=1  Does anyone use anything else that they like.  Do you use a special technique to sharpen these blades.  I suppose the Exacto is probably cheap enough it might just be thrown away after a few uses.  Thanks, Kent

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

Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Kent, A curved tip at the point of your reed knife blade will allow you to get in close when scraping small areas. crw

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Well again, it comes from a biased view as I used curved knives...but...

I started with a double hollow ground knife I borrowed from a friend. It was like $50 or something. These knives do A LOT better when you just need to shave a junk-load of cane off. But, a bassoon reed isn't flat. It has a curve to it, and thus a curved knife is needed if you want ultimate precision without pressing against the reed in weird ways and such. Since buying the grafter, I also use a kitchen knife at home that has a different curve to it for different purposes. I think everyone should have a curved knife to at least try, but some people are just so good with working around with knives that I guess it wouldn't matter. A curved edge, curved tip, and curved point all do different things differently. The Grafter used a single point curved edge which is much better for scraping and for pinpoint work.

Ultimately, I think it'll come down to preference over knife quality for now at least.

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Mark Popkin recommended using scalpels.  Cheap, throw away, might be difficult to obtain, maybe not.  I usually use an Xacto knife with curved blade for working "channels"

-Frank Watson

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Thanks everyone.  I looked up the knives in Mark Popkin's book and sure enough there is the scalpel.

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

Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Kent:


      Since you and I make similar reed styles, I personally found using the small Grobet files has helped me alot.

       When I learned to make the "Garfield" style reed from Mike Trentacosti, I asked him about how he was able to get his channels scraped so precise. He said "I found no other good way than to use a small file." From there He took out various differnt small rattail, and full round files and showed me his process. Wht he would do is take the reed he was working on and place it on a mandrel fixture that could rotate, with a domed block that the reed would rest on at all times (I really should take a photo of Mike's reed fixture out at Fox) once on the mandrel, he would insert a plaque, and very carefully start to scrape with the files. the areas he would work were sometimes so small, and would just need a very trace amount of cane removed, to get the reed to work the way he needed it. I immediately started to incorporate file usage more into my reed making. Of course over the years i have developed my own methods, and arsenal of reed tools, and machines that work for me. I actually find myself using alot of Diamond dust files, and Revlon manicuring files, and at times an inexpensive razor style knife I have had for years. But as we all know, you just have to go out there and try different tools and methods to see what works for you.

        Hope that helps, Let me know if I can help in any way.

                                                                        Best Regards,
                                                                             Chad

Taylor Bassoon Services
723 Steamboat Ct
Ottawa, IL 61350
PH-815-343-2492

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Chad:

Thanks.  I studied with Garfield for many years and don't remember him using anything but the basic knife and basic file and he was fast at what he did.  But as you say, there are many ways to do it and I am only now thinking about trying something different.  Thanks again for the info.

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

Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Hi Trent and everyone,

I use an Opinel No.8 stainless steel knife. Quality steel, comfortable in the hand, keeps a good edge and is straightforward to sharpen, and most affordable. It also is a very handy knife to have around once it's deemed too old or beat up for reedmaking.

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Thanks for that suggestion Stephane.  That knife is amazingly cheap.  Hard to believe it can be had for $12 or so.

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

Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

No trouble - if you  want  to pay more you can always get the one with the fancy color/stained handle...    smile

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

After seeing Stephane's Opinel knife some years ago, I started using one, too (thanks, Stephane!), and I like it very much for working on bassoon reeds. Easy to sharpen. I also like its simplicity of construction for teaching reedmaking to younger students - doesn't have a spring action, just a locking ring to keep it open or closed. Can be purchased in smaller size for students with smaller hands. No reed knife cuts so far....

About scalpels -- I decided to give that a try a few years ago. My surgeon dad ordered the type the Popkin/Glickman book recommends (#10, I believe). I was going to use his scalpel handle with separate blades, but they now come as a disposable one-piece item (can be locked shut before throwing away). Works nicely for a quick "surgical strike" fix to lighten up the channels.

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

I use the Pantzier reeds and stuff knife, curved and useful for details.

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

This is an old thread, but I'm just catching up . . .

My late teacher, Ron Tyree of the University of Iowa (a Garfield student), used curved blade knives.  When I went looking for one like his, I bought a Puma 644, which unfortunately is now out of production but shows up on eBay once in a while.  The type of knife to look at is called a sodbuster, a folding knife with one blade about 3.5-4 inches long.  I still have the Puma, but now I use a Mercator K55, a German knife that's been in production since before WWII.  It's got a carbon steel locking blade and it came sharp enough to use out of the box.  And it's only $20. 

http://www.worldknives.com/products.php?i=1120

Charlie Koster
San Gabriel, CA

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Re: Does Anyone Use Curved Knives?

Thanks for this info Charlie.  That German knife looks really good especially for $20.

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