The Use Of Winding Machines In Oboe Reed Making

  • by Kathy Sheinhouse

 Oboe Reed Making Winding Machines- Pros and Cons 

The use of electric winding machines to tie an oboe blank has become commonplace in the professional reed making community.  Truth is, I tried it too. It is more time efficient than hand tying.  It saves hands, and the blanks looked neater than the ones I tied by hand.  However, I gave it up because I did not have as much control as I wanted over the alignment of the cane on the staple.
Here is my thinking:
  • THERE IS A REASON WHY MANDRELS ARE SHAPED THE WAY THEY ARE.  THEY HELP ALIGN THE CANE WITH THE STAPLE.  THIS IS WHY HAVING A STAPLE THAT FITS THE MANDREL IS SO IMPORTANT.  IF IT DOESN'T FIT, IT ALTERS THE ALIGNMENT.
  • WINDING MACHINE MANDRELS ARE NOT CUSTOMIZED TO STAPLES, SO THEY ONLY CAUSE ALIGNMENT PROBLEMS.  IF YOU USE YOUR OWN MANDREL AND TRANSFER THE PRE-WINDED BLANK TO THE MACHINE MANDREL, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, AND USUALLY DOES FOR ME.
  • IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW, AN AERIAL VIEW OF THE REED ON A MANDREL SHOULD SHOW A SMALL OFFSET (NO MORE THAN 2 OR 3  DEGREES) OR NONE AT ALL, AND THIS SHOULD BE BY CHOICE.
  • I MAKE A LOT OF MICRO ADJUSTMENTS WHEN I MOUNT A BLANK.  EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SYMMETRICAL.  WHEN I ADJUST THE CANE SO THAT THE SIDES CLOSE EVENLY ON BOTH SIDES, I OFTEN FIND AN UNINTENDED OFFSET IN THE ANGLE OF THE CANE RELATIVE TO THE FACE OF THE MANDREL.  I ADJUST AGAIN, TIE AGAIN, SHIFT A LITTLE MORE AND FINISH UP.
  • THESE ADJUSTMENTS ARE MUCH TRICKIER WITH A WINDING MACHINE- ESPECIALLY WHEN THE WINDING MANDREL IS NOT SIZED TO THE STAPLE YOU ARE USING.
  • THESE TYPES OF FAULTS CAN BE HIDDEN ONCE A REED IS FINISHED, AND THEY CAN ALTER TO FUNCTION OF THE REED.  THIS IS WHY I DON'T USE WINDING MACHINES ANYMORE.

Food for thought.

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