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Reed Making

Since the dimensions of an English Horn reed are larger than those of an oboe reed, I scrape the reed over a period of several days, letting it dry out completely overnight. This allows the tip opening to relax and gives the entire reed more time to conform to the many changes that occur when scraping a blank into a finished reed.  I have found that this method results in a more stable reed that generally takes less time to "break in".

I am frequently asked about the diameter of tube cane I prefer to use.  I have had the most consistent success with cane that is 12 -12.5 mm in diameter since I use a shaper tip that many consider to be on the wider side on the spectrum.  However, some players prefer a smaller diameter of 11.5 - 12 mm, especially if they use a narrower shaper tip.  I suggest that players experiment by making reeds using cane from several diameters to find what works best for them.  However, I would advise against trying to make a reed out of tube cane with a diameter smaller than 11.5 mm.

My "new" favorite tool is a reed thickness gauge, or dial Indicator, which can be purchased from many double reed supply dealers.  Though it is a somewhat costly item, I think it is well worth the investment.  This tool has made a huge difference in my reedmaking by helping me to accurately monitor the thickness of the hearts and tips of my reeds, thereby making my reeds more consistent.  For those who are unfamiliar with this item, the "tongue" of the tool is inserted between the blades of the reed and the thickness is then displayed on the dial.  Using this tool has saved me time by taking much of the "guess work" out of the scraping process which has resulted in more evenly scraped reeds.


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