Sunday, March 28, 2010


Before the tube is formed, I score the cane with a single-edge razor, held by hand, with the cane supported by an easel. I go from the first wire to the butt, about half-way through. The idea is to allow the cane to bend in a controlled manner, without cracking (and especially without cracks extending into the blade). It's my least-favorite step, in all of reedmaking. It's difficult to hold the blade, and make straight cuts. The blade goes too deep half the time (though many say that the score should go all the way through near the butt). There are gizmos, such attaching several blades together (eg Vigder's), or the Bonazza machine sold by Miller Marketing.

I did have a thought, though, suggested by Robin Howell's reed page, where he calls it kerfing. Now kerfing is a standard woodworking method of creating large bends, where you remove material with cuts from the inside of the curve, not the outside. If you did this with a bassoon reed, you could leave the bark intact, for a perfect natural seal, with the strain relieved by cuts in the interior. I tried this with a scrap, using the edge of a file to try and make the cuts. It didn't work very well, with not much material removed, just compressing ruts into the cane. When I made a tube, I got several cracks, as if I'd done no scoring at all. Maybe it could be done better, or maybe the bark itself is inflexible enough that it needs to be cut.

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