Topic: Reed Tube Leaks

So, a question. Most of my reeds leak a bit from the butt when it's on the bocal. Not usually air, but usually water leaks out the end of the reed and down the bocal a bit. I form my reeds with a pretty big tube and usually if it's not quite big enough to fit comfortably on the bocal I ream them a bit. So, I'm wondering what could be the culprit. Sometimes it's very obviously caused by beveling a bit too much. Other times it seems to be something else. Is there any chance it's because I use flattened tip forming mandrels? Maybe because the bocal doesn't flatten out at the tip as the reed is formed on it can't go on as far, causing the leak/space? Any idea?

Best wishes,
Joshua

Share

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

If water is leaking, you can be sure that air is as well-- but you probably don't hear it as much. I'd suspect the mandrels, but I don't have any experience with using that type of mandrel. I think your mandrel should be as close to the bocal taper as you can (practically) get. That being said, the reed will always change a little bit. A couple of years ago I moved from an extremely humid place to an extremely dry place, and I had some leaking problems. Leaving the reeds unwrapped for a week or so, so they could dry completely and I could fully tighten the wires before wrapping, made quite a lot of difference. Have you ever used a fourth wire, below the wrapping on the back of the reed? I find those help too.

Share

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

Yes, all good points. The mandrel is important in the proper seal. An uneven bevel  or bevel too close to the blade can also leak. I use a beveling block with sandpaper in a wedge similar to what Chris Weait sells, it's more even than using a knife, (for me). You can also try spending more time squeezing the cane on the mandrel, this compacts the fibers to fill gaps, careful near the blade not to crack the reed. I also use four wires and let the reeds fully dry before tightening the wires and wrapping, all good points. I also find it helps to lightly form the tubes again dry with pliers on the mandrel before wrapping, this compacts the dry fibers into the gaps from the cane drying. (There is a very large post on the subject on leaking tubes, maybe two). I put a layer of glue on the tube, (below the second wire to the butt), before and after the wrap and even let the glue cover the edges of the tube at the mandrel after gluing the wrap, before I transfer to a drying mandrel and turn the butt of the reed a few times in the glue before removing the reed. I have to clean off the mandrel each time to avoid glue chunks in the next reeds tube, but with these steps, my reeds never leak.

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

For what it's worth, I had no issues with tube leaking for several years when I was exclusively using one specific bocal (a Leitzinger E-SL-1 gold plated). I would ream with both the Rieger spiral reamer followed up by a Rieger diamond reamer. I have used the Rieger reamer stops for years, so I would always ream the same dimensions. I would use the flattened end Rieger forming mandrel, followed by Rieger drying pins (Herzberg bevel technique). Ultimately the reamer was the most critical component in the tube sealing on the bocal for me because of how much I typically ream out.

When I got a second bocal, a Leitzinger V-ML-2 silver plated, all of my reeds leaked on the tube. The fit just wasn't as snug as on my other bocal. Keep in mind I used both bocals consistently, this wasn't a switch, it was an addition. I did happen to pick up a Pantzier mandrel and diamond reamer set at the same IDRS that I bought the second bocal. I found that if I followed up my usual reaming (Rieger, Rieger) with the Pantzier diamond reamer, I would get a good seal on both bocals. A very very subtle difference in the shape of the tube due to that second diamond reaming made the difference.

Good luck!

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 Tube Leaks

Good point Trent. I have a few students I have to ream my reeds for their bocals to avoid leaks at the bocal.

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

The eliptical tip mandrel doesn't matter at all.  It's round at the back. Your beveling and reaming are to blame.  Adding a 4th wire is your easiest solution. 

Mark

Last edited by ortreed (2015-03-03 16:34:56)

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

Share

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

Beveling : the magic of insignificant splinters by Hugh Cooper, pp. 77-84, The Double Reed 28.4, 2005.
https://www.idrs.org/publications/contr … DR28_4.pdf

Re: Reed Tube Leaks

cbbssn512 wrote:

Beveling : the magic of insignificant splinters by Hugh Cooper, pp. 77-84, The Double Reed 28.4, 2005.
https://www.idrs.org/publications/contr … DR28_4.pdf

That article literally changed my life. :-)

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