Bassoon Reed Making 3: Profiling & Other Preparations

[Music: Flight of the Bumblebee]

Welcome to this video on profiling bassoon reeds and making other preparations to get ready to form the tube. This is the next step I use after shaping the bassoon reed.

My profiler is a single barrel profile. I have, however, carved into the barrel contours that will produce the thicknesses I want in the reed profile. This reduces the amount of time needed for hand finishing.

I always work with cane that is wet. Our first step is to place the reed on the barrel.

Center the reed.

And begin with shallow strokes. The first time just removing the bark.

By the way this (work) bench is from Norway. It was brought from Norway by my in-laws. My wife's mother is descended from Norwegian imigrants. And when working on this table I am reminded of the wonderful family members I knew and the ones I still know. It is wonderful to have those connections with family.

Ok, the profile is now complete.

Let's take a look at the profile under the light. You can see how my profiler has left the tip area thinner, and left more cane in the heart of the reed and in the spine of the reed.

At this stage I then sand the reed with 400 grit sandpaper, starting in the center and going to the edges. You might also want to polish the interior of the reed by sanding with the paper side of the sand paper as well.

If the number has come off, I then re-write the number.

I then fold over the blade of the reed with my knife in the center.

I then look at the alignment of the reed.

This one needs to be aligned a little bit. It is a little askew, off center. That's better.

And I will adjust the end here now or later. Any touch ups I now want to make to the shape with sand paper, I can do that.

And now the reed is ready to dry.

Currently my reeds have barrels of 1 and 2/16 inches (that is 2.86 centimeters) and a blades of 1 inch (2.54 centimeters). You can see pictures and measurements of my reeds and reeds of others on the International Double Reed Society website at

If you are drying your cane at this point make certain that the cane dries completely, not in full contact with other pieces of cane.

Once the cane has dried I then roughen up a portion of the tube between the first and second wires.

Using a permanent marker I number the reed and then I apply clear fingernail polish over the number. This number needs to be 35W.

I then record the information about where the cane was purchased, the gouge thickness, the shape used, density of the cane, and any other information I think is useful. This information helps me to improve my reed making in the future. When I get a great reed I look up the information I wrote down and then try to duplicate the steps I took.

God bless you and thank you for watching this video.

[Music: end to Flight of the Bumblebee]