Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Notes on G2 - G7

G2 and G3 are currently in finishing. G3 I tried out nail polish on the tube, instead of my usual lack of treatment. (Ie 4 wires, but otherwise bare cane.) I'm hoping for increased tube stability, since mostly I have trouble with the tubes shrinking. I've found that if I don't tighten wires 3 and 4 when they get loose, the tube expands out to them when it gets wet, but the loose wires are annoying. So far all I've learned is that nail polish tastes bad.

G4 and G5 I took off mandrels, touched up the bevel with a flat file, wired and labelled. When fastening the butt end wire (wire 3), the reeds were about 3mm beyond the mark. I'm hoping this is enough diameter to allow them to still fit on post-shrinkage. On one of them (G4 I think) I tried half tightening wire 1, then dragging the twist around to the other side and finishing tightening. I'm hoping that this will balance the blades, since the blade opposite the twist seems to get extra arch from the wire tension. I never seem to be able to adjust this out with scraping, so I've put up with it. They will stay dry until it's time to cut off the tips and start finishing, sitting as wired blanks on my desk.

G6 and G7 got a touch of sanding, folded, shaped, beveled, and tubes formed. I have a fold-over shaper, which I'm convinced is assymmetric. At least the screw hole in the base of the tip is at about a 10-20 degree angle to the centerline of the tip, which even if the tip itself is symmetric, makes it difficult to get a symmetric shape. Maybe it's just skill, but I end up with a visible left-right assymmetry in the blades. I bevel with a file, aiming for flat surfaces to form a seal for the tube, then clean up with 220 sandpaper. Tubes I form wet, cold, wrapped with two layers of wet string, no wires (to make it easier to open later), and munching the cane through the string with pliers on the back half of the tube only. I'm using a Fox forming mandrel, which is much longer than my holding mandrel, despite its sharper taper: it's about 0.08 (mm diameter change per mm length), instead of the 0.07 of my holding mandrel (matching the conical bore of the bocal and bassoon). I've been putting them on tips to dry which have the 0.07 taper, which means that the throat is getting an extra shove if the reeds are put all the way on, which I have to if the tube is going to be supported while it dries. Aand... I think this is leading to cracking I've been getting in the blade. Have to think about this.

I put in two more pieces of gouged and profiled Golden Bamboo cane to soak. I've been soaking for about a week, changing the water daily. Saturated enough to sink would be good enough to form a tube, but better is to get close to the kind of equilibrium the cane will achieve in use. Lacy 1998 (J IDRS 16) assayed sodium levels in cane water, and showed that it takes a few days for salts to dissolve out of the reed. The claim is that this is the primary form of breaking in of reeds, which I'm not sure I believe, but it seems like it can't hurt. He also advocates ultrasonic cleaning of reeds after use, which makes sense to me, but I don't have the hardware.

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