Monday, June 25, 2007

It's always satisfying to get three blanks from three pieces of cane

My reeds from JMOC and before are dying slowly (or quickly, in some cases), so we'll see how my reed making luck is down here. I'm using what I've dubbed the "Danna scrape" to make my blanks, since I liked it so much at Wildacres, and doing some more experimenting with staples. One each of Pisoni brass, Loree brass, and Chudnow S, all 47 mm. It's so strange working with cork staples, after using Chudnows for, oh, a year and a half or so? I don't remember exactly. The part on them that would be cork isn't as tall as the cork on a normal staple, and the top of the tube, and thus the string, is longer. I always measure my tie-on length anyways, but it's doubly important now, because if I'm not careful I'll tie on extremely long reeds on cork staples. Also cork staples are so light. One nice thing about Chudnow staples is that it's practically impossible to drop a reed on its tip. They all fall tube down. (I heard about some company that makes wood staples- has anyone heard of those?)

I'm also glad to be back with my FF thread. I find F thread unreliable because I pull so tightly. Still only using purple, regardless of thickness, though. It's my lucky thread color

The Danna scrape is a little odd for me. First of all, it's rather more definitively measured than any other way I've been taught to make reeds- I was told a tie on length, and a final length, but I don't think I was given measurements, at least not since the very beginning for tip/heart/back. I tie on at 72-73 for my shape (Pfeiffer-Mack), and the scrape puts the start of the tip at 67, and the start of the heart at 62. I actually like having these definite numbers...anything that cuts down on reed guesswork is a plus for me. The part that's really odd is the way in which you begin the scrape. I was always taught to keep the knife out of the center of the reed at all costs. Never purposefully scrape over the spine or the center of the heart or tip- that cane will come out by itself. This method, though, creates a blank that has been uniformly scraped over the entire tip from left to right and over the entire back/heart from left to right. (The windows are then put in which creates a spine, but it's originally scraped over.) It also creates a rather flat, or gently curved top to the heart, rather than the "V" shaped one to which I'm accustomed, and scrapes the initial top to the window quite high.

I can't tell anything until at least the second day of working on a reed, but the Pisoni tubes seem awfully wide at the top.

I'm looking at Innoledy gouging machines- I've only heard good things about them, plus they're several hundred dollars cheaper, come with a micrometer, and don't require pregouging. (Sometimes I think, why didn't I play the flute? Or a brass instrument? Or a stringed one? Well...at least I don't play bassoon.)

I need to buy a new reed case after buying those staples last week. They didn't have any reed cases to buy there, and I only have room for 9 reeds, and now I have 13 staples. I also need a new mandrel desperately. It fits neither my Chudnow staples nor any of my new ones. At least none of them stick over the top.

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