Topic: reed making area & equipment

What kind of physical workspace do you all have for making reeds?  By that I mean, do you have a dedicated desk/workbench where you leave all your reed stuff out permanently?  Or do you have a place that you can pull out your reedmaking equipment and work, and then have to put it away again?  How do you manage, especially if you have to work in an area that's used for other purposes?

I confess to being a very sporadic bassoon reed maker (to clarify -- I'm sporadic, not the reeds) -- and a large part of the reason is the thought of having to clear a space on the work table, get out all the "stuff" (which I do have in a nicely organized toolbox!), and do what I can before having to put everything away again.  And I'm just not very fast, so that last part can be frustrating ...

I guess what I'm looking for is hints on how to organize, or strategize what I do, so making reeds can be something I do regularly and efficiently, instead of feeling like it's a big production.

I know, I know, one answer is just "do it more" hmm .  But does anyone have any "Hints from Heloise"- type things to share?

        - Susan

Susan Richter :: Austin, TX :: bassoon, dulcian

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Re: reed making area & equipment

Susan...I have a dedicated room in which I practice and make reeds. (actually, my wife won't let me mess up the rest of the house.) My reed making equipment is on a large table and is always at hand. Small stuff... cane, shaper tips, wire, extra plaques, etc., are housed in one of those plastic parts chests that has lots of handy drawers. Large equipment is on the table top. Things are somewhat jumbled together most of the time but my main tools are right at my finger tips, assuming of course, that Pillow the cat doesn't get into one of her "let's brush everything off the table" moods. I don't think I would make as many reeds if I had to start from scratch each time and get everything out. Of course, not everyone has a dedicated room available but I find it the best way to go.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: reed making area & equipment

Susan, I have my reed desk.  One drawer with a two-tiered organizer holds all the smaller, paw-able items out of the reach of my two cats, and tube cane is in a second drawer.  But, as Gene mentioned, the planer, gouger, micrometer, ceramic sticks, etc. stay at-the-ready.  I walk by it multiple times a day, and just seeing everything out and available is an encouragement to "just do it", as the saying goes.  I also have a sheet of glass on top of the desk to protect the surface.  I slip notes with often used measurements or reminders under the glass so they are always within sight.

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Re: reed making area & equipment

Hi Susan:
I couldn't do without a room dedicated to my practice and reed making.  We have 2 children and when we were looking for a house, we needed 4 bedrooms so I could have my bassoon room with reed desk, stereo, computer, television, etc.  The room is quite a bit smaller than the room I had when we lived in Texas, but everything is bigger in Texas smile  Can you set up a permanent desk for your equipment in a corner of a room?  It may not always look good and organized but you will love the convenience.  Good luck with it.  Kent

Last edited by Kent Moore (2006-08-18 08:54:35)

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

Re: reed making area & equipment

Gene, Lynn, Kent,

Thanks for your replies and advice.  You all confirmed what I already had a feeling about: I need to get serious about carving out a place just for the reed making.  It just doesn't seem practical to be taking out & putting away the equipment, half-finished reeds, supplies, etc. (even though I don't have the really serious stuff -- gougers or profilers!).

Hmm, maybe it's time to get rid of those old Sun workstations in the back room (that haven't been turned on for years?!).  At least my cat pretty much stays out of that room, so far anyway ....

Thanks again for your words of experience!    - Susan

Susan Richter :: Austin, TX :: bassoon, dulcian

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Re: reed making area & equipment

No one has mentioned storing reed tools and supplies in a fishing tackle box. I thought that was the only way to do it! Things are pretty handy when you need them, but easy to close up for child-or pet-proofing. Also portable to take to lessons or places where you have to kill time.

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Re: reed making area & equipment

Hello Susan, (et al) I would suggest that you can dedicate an area of your abode for reed makng and that you can either move the reed table and tools (laid out) with a dust cover over it if wanted) in a closet in the best reed room, so that other activities can take place at other times. Then, when you have a planned time for making bassoon reeds you only will need to retreive your table from its storage location. I make reeds in a 2 bedroom apartment - where I live alone. I use the second bedroom as a computer room and a bassoon reed making room. I bought from Sears & Roebuck many years ago a great combination plastic tool holder. It stands 9 inches height (10 and 1/2 inches counting a carrying handle on top. There are both a lower section of partitioned receptacles for small tools (files, emery boards, X-acto blade knives in plastic tubes, etc.) and best of all are the sections on the upper part. These hold 6 mandrels/reamers in six circular holes and hold several pairs of pliers, scissors and garden shears with curved blade (for cutting lengths of cane perfectly to dimension) in 4 rectangular shaped "holes", plus cutouts for taller tools, etc. When I travel to give bassoon reed master classes, I can take this 3-part plastic tool holder down to pieces and re-assemble it for my reed making demonstrations (in short order). I keep a towel atop the stand and its tools so I can have it at my disposal as soon as my table is set for reed making. I use an electric tea kettle to make steam to form my reed tubes and thus keep that kettle in my kitchen where I have access to water easily. All of this makes bassoon reed making quite efficient at home. I hope this description will help other reed makers as they go about their planning for better reed tables.
Sincerely, moderator, Gerald Corey

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Re: reed making area & equipment

Hello all!

I have what is, perhaps, the IDEAL reed-making setup.  My family of four is squeezed into a two-bedroom apartment, and I am confined to a closet-size corner of the master bedroom (it's rather nice, actually, with French doors overlooking the courtyard outside).  What I found (for sale, used and cheap, in the Sunday paper) was an old but attractive roll-top desk -- the perfect size for my humble space.  Apart from the obvious advantage of being able to instantly conceal even the most hideous mess by simply rolling down the cover, it came complete with multiple built-in drawers and cubby-holes -- EVERYTHING fits, even my collection of old worn-out knives (why do I keep these?), and bags of tube cane!  It's a double-reeder's dream come true!

Cheers!

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: reed making area & equipment

Jonathan Marzluf wrote:

Hello all!

I have what is, perhaps, the IDEAL reed-making setup.  My family of four is squeezed into a two-bedroom apartment, and I am confined to a closet-size corner of the master bedroom (it's rather nice, actually, with French doors overlooking the courtyard outside).  What I found (for sale, used and cheap, in the Sunday paper) was an old but attractive roll-top desk -- the perfect size for my humble space.  Apart from the obvious advantage of being able to instantly conceal even the most hideous mess by simply rolling down the cover, it came complete with multiple built-in drawers and cubby-holes -- EVERYTHING fits, even my collection of old worn-out knives (why do I keep these?), and bags of tube cane!  It's a double-reeder's dream come true!

Cheers!

I think I'm going to have to check craigslist for one of those... I know exactly what you're talking about.

I've been looking for a new desk for my reed making station because the old sewing table my mother gave to me is quite unsteady.  If I had a profiler I'd probably snap the legs off trying to profile reeds.

I hadn't thought about a roll top desk.

At any rate, I have the plastic rubbermaid drawers to keep my stuff organized and the table is in "my" room, which is the second bedroom that houses my computer and it's where I practice and work on reeds.  It's just a little too distracting though sometimes!

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: reed making area & equipment

I went to an unfinished oak furniture store, and found a desk I liked, and had the guy make a box (furniture grade plywood) with hinges that sits on top of the desk and is just a bit smaller than the surface of the desk itself ..the box is approximately 8 inches high, and hinges about 1/2 way back ....the hinge (36" piano hinge)allow me to open the "box" and work on the desk surface, or close the "box" and keep others out of my stuff.  I mount my old Berdon single profiler on a 6"X8" piece of wood, and can clamp it to the surface with a c clamp for secure profiling.  I usually store cane and other supplies in a large, rolling toolbox (plastic..from SEARS, I think) which holds my profiler, extra shapers, pliers, and other tools and supplies.  On my desk surface, I usually keep 2 drying racks w/12 pegs each, high intensity reading lamp, plus most of my knives, shapers, mandrels, reamers, sandpaper, plaques, pliers, wire, etc.  Whole desk takes maybe 10 square feet (2.5x 4), and I can locate what I need quickly while having the option of closing it up to youngster's hands and eyes.  Whole setup..desk and box...cost me about $250.  Unfortunately, I never had the desk finished...probably should do it myself, but I never seem to have the time...oh well.  The reed desk is in a "bonus" room over my garage, which affords me some privacy, normally, but it is finished off into a bedroom w/full bath that is used as guest facilities when family comes to visit (family always seems to show up with little kids that need to be kept out of reedmaking stuff)

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Re: reed making area & equipment

I have an old dining room table in the corner of my sewing room/computer room. But everything is also in a large tackle box to avoid cats playing bat with things. It is also important to have a safe place where I can put together a slew of reeds at one time...production line if you will. I also carry small tools and sandpaper in my shoulder bag as I teach lessons in a couple of schools, so I need to be mobile. As I play both oboe and bassoon, I also have a reed case from Hall that has oboe reed storage on one side and bassoon on the other. This allows me to carry my students reeds as needed. Just last week at an orchestra rehearsal where I was playing oboe, I heard some rumaging around and looked under my chair where my son the bassoonist was digging into my bag! I asked what he was doing and he replied, "You always carry everything you need. I figured your pliers were in there somewhere."

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