Now that I've moved in to a new place with a larger, dedicated bassooning space, I can finally get to my reed experimentation! Inspired by Christin Schillinger's book and Eryn Oft's amazing blog and YouTube channel, I've decided to dive right in with reassessing my procedures in blank making.
My basic blank making method is as follows:
In trolling the interwebs for the past few weeks, I've downloaded and copied some 20+ reed making methods from various bassoonists and university teachers. Overall, the techniques are basically the same--which makes sense when you consider the reed needs to get from a straight piece of cane to a round reed. But, subtle differences can make a large difference as every bassoonist ever will tell you.
I decided to combine my methodology with that of other bassoonists in the Western US first, if for no other reason than geographic prejudice. In all, I made 10 blanks using the basic blank construction method I'll outline below shortly. Within these blanks, there are three variations having to do with wires.
The basic construction method was mine combined with Elizabeth Ball Crawford's reed making method. Prof. Crawford is the Bassoon professor at BYU-Idaho and before that was in Montana with the Chinook Winds and various institutions. Here's how I modified the construction method:
When I first met Peter Kolkay, he used an electric mandrel which purported to burn the reed in to shape (with no real damage done to the cane). EBC's method of lighting the forming mandrel tip with a lighter is a GREAT substitute. I found that heating it and the inserting it in to a fully wrapped reed did make it easier to form without cracking through the tube. It also allowed the pretty tightly wrapped piece of cane to go further on the mandrel with less force, keeping the butt opening consistent despite any inconsistancies of the rubber band bind.
As I said earlier, I constructed all of the blanks in the same way (save for the two I tried beveling after forming--I just can't figure it out). But I did use variations in the wire, based on some posts Eryn Oft made.
All of my wires were placed (from the shoulder) @ 27mm, 18mm, and 6mm. The first, base level reed, uses a double wrapped first wire, second wire, and third wire. I made three that use a triple wrapped wire for the first wire, and three that use a triple wrapped wire for the second wire. Eryn explains the triple wrapped first wire better than I ever could (frankly she does a lot of things better than I do!) and I'm very excited to see the results.