Topic: Tying cane to staple

Hello everyone!  I am a relatively new reedmaker, and have two questions.  First, is there a better way to tie cane to a staple which won't crack the base of the cane once the initial thread windings are made?  About 50% of my cane cracks (at the base) when I put it on the staple and begin tying it on with thread.  I can still produce a blank, but I do not know if the splitting cane that far down on the reed would or could affect playing characteristics later on.  Second, is there a (dare I say "foolproof") way of tying cane to a staple that allows the cane to be completely straight once the tying process is finished?  Nine times out of ten everything looks beautiful WHEN I am tying the cane on, but once I look at the blank, the cane is tipped (usually to the left), and I know it is almost impossible to create decent reeds with crooked reeds.  Are there any "finger tricks" I can employ in order to keep the cane straight??  I feel as though I am beginning the scraping process at a huge disadvantage simply because 1) my cane is usually split, partially, at the bottom, and 2) my reed is leaning!  Argh!  Any thoughts or suggestions?  Thanks!!

Brad

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Re: Tying cane to staple

Brad,

A few pointers I had to learn simply by doing: Soak your cane in hot tap water for at least half an hour. Ideally the cane should sink to the bottom of the container. If you don't have a mandrel with two flat sides on the handle, please buy one & make sure it fits your staples.  The "flat" sides of the oval at the top must align with the flat of the handle.Then use it to make sure the "flat" of the cane blades are lined up  with the flat of  the mandrel handle before the crossover  wrap. Don't worry if the cane splits  under the thread. This will normally not affect the reed, although some say reeds that split somewhat on tying  produce a better sound. Perhaps. The important thing is to  get the cane wrapped onto the staple as straight & as tightly as possible. It is a sighting game; you have to  sight down the flat of  the handle much the same way you would sight down a rifle barrel or arrow before loosing bullet or flight towards the target. You can check for alignment north/south/east/west in this manner & adjust the cane accordingly during the first few turns of  thread. This lining up should all be done before crossing over when you reach the top oval of the staple. At one wrap of the thread before the crossover the cane  should be closed on both sides where the cane meets the top  of the staple. Measure with a caliper  from the cork end to the top of the staple to make sure you  don't go beyond the end of the staple!!! All this takes manual dexterity while at the same time maintenance of tension on the thread. I cut a 42 inch length of  thread off the spool & wrap it around a fist-size dowel. Easier to maintain tension this way, then when you are ready to tie off, you can  simply let go of the dowel, without having the  cumbersome thread spool attached. Plus, the  tension  will  be  transmitted  to the  wrap & not back into the spool. You will  need much practice to  get it  right. Eventually you  will. Don't give up. Persevere. Remember, all oboe reed makers have been where you are. Email me privately & I will let you know what staple is best for the particular mandrel I use. I might be able to  save you a  little $$$.

Best,

john

Best,

john

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