Preparation « Clarinet Reed Making

Preparation

Good preparation is key to achieving good results and having sharp blades and well picked cane will save you wasted time and effort.  There are some general tips to keep in mind when making reeds.

Don’t make too many reeds at once

It can be tempting at first to make as many blanks or reeds as you can all in one session.  Especially in the beginning I would recommend making just a few at a time and play testing them before making more.  Because reed making is so detail oriented it can be quite easy to overlook an important aspect along the way and not realize your mistake until it’s too late. Also you never know when you will come across a new tool or method that will change a critical aspect of your process.  I learned my lesson when I had a very large batch of blanks ready to go and then got a new shaper which improved my reeds.  So the old blanks became obsolete.

Have a dedicated reed area

Having all your tools in one location will make life easier.  A work bench is nice to have because you can secure your major tools to it.  Most planers can be mounted to a work bench. You eliminate wasted motion and it’s easier to get smoother secure cuts each time.  I also have two wooden stoppers secured to my bench that keep my profiler from moving. A small shop vacuum is very helpful in cleaning up all the small shavings.  Good lighting is essential. Shop lights can be cheaply obtained at any hardware store.