Topic: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

I trim a couple millimeters off the tube ends of my reeds before forming (after shaping and profiling). I want to do this more accurately than I currently do with the gardening shears that I currently use. They're sharp and make a clean cut, but they're awkward to use and I have a tough time making them accurate and straight.

So, I know Reeds 'n' Stuff makes a guillotine that I could use. It's pretty spendy though. Any cheaper options out there? Something that I can set my own length to, since I'm not trimming pre-gouged cane to 120mm, I'm trimming the ends off of already 120mm cane.

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: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Do you want something portable, or can it live on your work bench? If it's the latter, my outside-the-box thought is a mini hobbyist chop saw with a fine-toothed blade, like one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Trademark-Tools-7 … B0041TDLCK
http://www.amazon.com/3-1-Mini-Miter-Sa … B002PGVVN2
http://www.amazon.com/Proxxon-37160-KGS … B001AT5H1C

You might need to build yourself a little jig of some sort to hold cane in the proper position, but it'd be quick, precise, and a tool that you could use for other things. Plus, even the most expensive of those linked above is about half the price of the Reeds 'n Stuff cane guillotine.

David A. Wells
Lecturer – Bassoon and Music History
California State University, Sacramento
davidawells.com

Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Wow. Power tool overkill, but I like the way you think, Dave!

And yeah, I don't need this to be portable. We're talking about the stage in my reed making process after shaping and profiling but before the forming of the tube. I can't think of a situation where I'd need to do that on-the-go.

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: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

I like Andis dog nail clippers. The cutting curvature fits the curvature of bassoon cane nearly perfectly. There is also an attached  arm on one blade that is designed to limit the amount of dog nail that is removed. The arm swivels so it can be disengaged.  It is set at about 3.5 mm, but you could add material to it to lessen the removal and create consistency.

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Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Trent..I recently tried resetting my shaped cane on  the profiler, so that the shoulder scriber (Rieger machine)  places the shoulder at 27.5mm from the butt end of the cane.  Acouple of extra operations, for sure, but I like the results..no need to trim from the butt end prior to forming to get the tube length where I want it.  For the past couple years I've been using Fiskars Rose Pruners to trim the butt end of my shaped/profiled cane to get a shorter tube.  They've worked fine for me..accurate, neat.

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Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

BassoonII wrote:

Trent..I recently tried resetting my shaped cane on  the profiler, so that the shoulder scriber (Rieger machine)  places the shoulder at 27.5mm from the butt end of the cane.  Acouple of extra operations, for sure, but I like the results..no need to trim from the butt end prior to forming to get the tube length where I want it.  For the past couple years I've been using Fiskars Rose Pruners to trim the butt end of my shaped/profiled cane to get a shorter tube.  They've worked fine for me..accurate, neat.


I was doing more or less this before with a different shape, bringing the collar back instead of cutting the tube short. But I'm using a shape now that I designed and had made for me that's meant specifically to have the ends trimmed off so I wouldn't have to adjust the profile. So that's a fair option but not in my current situation. On a different shape maybe, but not with the shape I'm currently using.

I just ordered an MD Reeds profiler, which will allow me to easily change the shoulder/collar position of the profile, should I choose to do this at some point.

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: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Hi Trent,

I know you said you may be upgrading to something more techy but the way that I get my rose clippers (sharp blade with similar curvature to the cane) to be straight is by measuring where I want to make the cut against a thin metal ruler, scoring it with a knife fairly deeply, and then locking the notch in with the curved blade for clean removal of one side only. then, after folding, I line the blade up with the shorter side for a symmetric cut and then both sides are the same length (assuming the collar is lined up properly after folding).  it takes a little experimenting to find the right way to hold the tools for comfort and the cleanest cut but I find that as long as the score is parallel to the collar the cut is generally straight.

Many Smiles,
Adam Romey

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.

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Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Hi Trent,

I know you said you may be upgrading to something more techy but the way that I get my rose clippers (sharp blade with similar curvature to the cane) to be straight is by measuring where I want to make the cut against a thin metal ruler, scoring it with a knife fairly deeply, and then locking the notch in with the curved blade for clean removal of one side only. then, after folding, I line the blade up with the shorter side for a symmetric cut and then both sides are the same length (assuming the collar is lined up properly after folding).  it takes a little experimenting to find the right way to hold the tools for comfort and the cleanest cut but I find that as long as the score is parallel to the collar the cut is generally straight.

Many Smiles,
Adam Romey

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.

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Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

Hey Trent,

Another power tool method, not high tech, is a table top band saw. Sometimes I have to cut as many as 30 reeds at a time. I put on the first wire and then set up a fence so that I can cut 3mm off the butt of each reed.  The ends are always even and if you use a 15 or 18 cut per inch fine blade you have a nice finish. I also use the band saw instead of a guillotine to cut gouged cane. This is more economical than cane cutting guillotines and you don't have to sharpen blades, just replace a $15.00 band saw blade if it breaks once or twice a year. I cut about 2000 gouged pieces a year.

Dale Clark

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Re: cheap guillotine (not tip cutter) options?

I use an old Sears Craftsman scroll saw (the ancient kind with pinned ends, although someday I'll upgrade to a plain-end one for my jewelry business) for cutting cane tubes and slips. The scroll saw blades have a tiny kerf and very high teeth per inch (TPI) count, and it's fast and easy. I got my scroll saw for $25 on Craigslist, and I've used it for lots of other music-related tasks.

Everything Dale Clark said about band saws and fences also applies to scroll saws, with the added advantage that the blades cost about $0.50 and it's a safer and quieter tool. Good luck!

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