Butterfield profiler (where’d my post go? – Yoshi?)

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Home Forums Reeds The Bassoon Reed Room Butterfield profiler (where’d my post go? – Yoshi?)

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    Harry Searing

    I posted here last week, and now my post is gone? What’s up wit dat?

    Any way, I was asking if anyone out there had any experience modifying the template on a Butterfield double profiler. I’m thinking of buying one from a friend/colleague, but feel I’d need to change the template to really make it worthwhile.

    Kent Moore

    Hi Harry:

    There was a problem with the forum and it seems several posts disappeared. It was nothing you did :) I think it is fixed now.

    Yoshi Ishikawa


    You are correct. The forum is fixed, but few posts and some subscribers were deleted because of corrupt database…sorry!

    Harry Searing

    Thanks, Kent & Yoshi!

    Having worked as far back as DOS’s FoxBASE (dBase III), I know about corrupt databases!

    So maybe I can ask the same question about modifying a Butterfield profiler, but direct it at anyone who has a Herzberg profiler? They’re kind of similar, aren’t they? At least in the aspect that they’re both double profilers, right? So perhaps someone has had their template on a Herzberg profiler modified?


    Hi Harry,

    One of my former colleagues had a Butterfield Profiler. I only used it once and it was wildly out of adjustment (she didn’t use it much any more). I really wish I would have tried to play around with it before she left. I remember that Jim Jeter commented on the thread before it went off to the database in the sky.

    As far as double profilers, I have some experience with the Van Hoesen/Hunt profiler, which I think is based on the Pfeiffer double profiler, although I’m not 100% sure on that. As far as modifying a Herzberg machine, Betsy Sturdevant wrote a post in her blog about how Mr. Herzberg set up her machine to the VanHoesen measurements. Based on her recital at IDRS in July, it seems to be working pretty darn well for her. Barry Stees also had an extensive commentary about double profilers in his blog a few months ago.

    Yoshi Ishikawa

    Hello Harry,

    I own both Butterfield and Herzberg profilers. There are no similarities between these machines. I wrote about Herzberg’s profiler, “Innovations of Herzberg Profiler/Shaper, the Symmetrical Machine” in the Double Reed, Vol 37, No. 3 pp. 45-52. The “spot trimming” technique I mention in this article could apply to Butterfired, but will not yield precise results.

    Harry Searing

    Thanks, Yoshi, I’ll hunt up that article, I think I remember it.

    Why do you say it will not yield precise results? My thought was 2 reasons:

    1.) the wheel is too wide, either a small rotating bearing (like on the Rimpl tip profiler) or a very thin wheel would capture a more refined “image” of the template, and
    2.) the blade is too wide, it grabs a lot of wood if you don’t go slowly, and even then. Again, a small rounded blade like on the Rimpl machine would transfer the cut in a more detailed fashioned.

    What I meant by similar is that they are both double profilers, right? I’ve only seen a Herzberg profiler briefly, so I don’t remember all the details. I apologize for that generalization.

    James Jeter

    Harry – don’t know if you saw my post before it was ‘deleted.’ If you can find someone who has the _manual_ that Jim Butterfield provided, this might be very helpful for any adjustments. As I recall, he was very precise about all adjustments, etc. Good luck – Jim

    Saxton Rose

    To find Yoshi’s article, go to idrs.org/publications. You must be logged in to idrs.org.

    Click ‘Search and Download Archived IDRS Print Publications’

    Click ‘Search by Title and Author’

    Type ‘Innovations of the Herzberg Profiler/Shaper’ into the Title field and click ‘Find Records’

    Click the ‘view’ link.


    I purchased a double profiler from Fred Pfeifer my first year of being a professional bassoonist. I tried to carefully grind down the pattern easel to the point of where I had a fairly finished reed when it came off the profiler. This was a very crude attempt compared to what the Herzberg and Butterfield machines can do. After a few years I converted the machine to a single barrel machine and seemed to have much better success with my reeds. In the early 80’s when Mr. Herzberg came out with his profiling machine I chose to purchase both a Rieger profiler (a single barrel design) and a Rieger Tip Profiler. The cost at the time was significantly less then the Herzberg machine and I had great success combining the two machines. The profiler was set a little thicker at the tip so my blanks did not “collapse” as they had with my Pfeifer double set up and my tip profiler that I had “customized” to my scrape seemed to make an almost finished reed with very little hand work involved in finishing the reed. I went to California to visit Mr Herzberg to take a second look at his machine and was disappointed in the way the machine worked. It seemed to take a very long time to profile the cane compared to the simplicity of the Rieger machine and the final results off the profiler were not better than what I got from using the two Rieger machines in tandem. I believe the Herzberg machine has one advantage in that it has a device for placing a shaped piece of cane exactly on the profiler to center the profile that the Rieger machine cannot do. The Rieger easel does have scribed lines for cane placement. In general the Rieger machine is a much faster and easier to use machine and also very well made. With the use of the tip profiler to finish the blank I believe it is the best way to go.

    Bob Williams

    Paul Deegan

    Hi Bob,

    The MD Profiler (single barrel) has the same device that the Herzberg machine does for placing shaped cane exactly centered on the barrel of the profiler. It also helps with repositioning already profiled cane back on the profiler if you need to take a little more off. I will have a shaper available near the end of the month that mates with the profiler.



    Bob, that’s an interesting story! I’ll have to hear more about it some time. Did you have your Rieger profiler set up to the same measurements are your GSP is now? I want to say that your current measurements are fairly similar to the Rieger “factory settings.” Also, how did you customize your tip profiler? Is this the same one you use now?

    Yoshi Ishikawa


    I also have the Rieger setup you described plus a Rieger gouger in the Reed Room at U of Colorado, College of Music. I agree that the Rieger profiler and tip finisher are fine tools and they can produce excellent reeds. For me, I can make more consistent and superior reeds with absolute measurements within .001 inch with the Herzberg profiler. It is the most precisely made profiler among the collection of profilers I own (Rieger, Butterfield, Pfeiffer and Sassenberg). The Herzberb profiler enables me (with shim tapes) to scrape any part of the profile by .001inch/.0254mm.

    I am able to make excellent reeds with the Rieger setup, however as compared to the profiled cane from the Herzberg machine, I must invest more time to scrape the reed to my acceptable level of tolerance to make reeds from profiled cane from the Rieger. I agree with you (Bob), I would recommend the Rieger setup (profiler and tip finisher) to anyone. In my opinion, Rieger machines are much more accurate than Butterfield’s machine.

    I am curious if anyone has experience with the profiler by Udo Heng (Reeds N Stuff). The quality of his tools are excellent. The CU Reed Room has his tip cutter, pre-gouger, cane splitter, cane guillotine and will soon have the industrial gouger he displayed at the IDRS conference in Ohio.

    David J. Bell

    I use a Bell profiler and Reeds N’ Stuff tip profiler, and have been very happy with both machines. From what I can see, the Reeds N’ Stuff tip profiler is very similar to the Reiger.

    David Bell
    Alexandria, VA

    Cullen Blain

    It’s very easy to modify a butterfield template especially if you know exactly what you want. I would bring it to a machinist to get the work done because the aluminum is treated. You just need someone with a computer controlled lathe (which is pretty easy to come by these days).

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