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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 03-16-2018, 03:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Upstate,NY
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Default Chanter Reed Question?

I normally only make reeds during the winter to keep me busy while the snow covers my driveway again and again. Several members of our group have purchased new sets of Pinchbeck pipes and I offered to make them spare reeds just in case they ruin their new one. Over the years I have made dozens of great sounding reeds , but not this year. I must be doing something wrong! One after another they sound like a chicken with their throats cut.
When I first started making reeds I was using new cane from a California supplier and I had success with it. I used the last of it last year and I'm now using cane that is over 30 years old (it was given to me and free). It's looks nice but it seems to work hard and I have to remove a lot of material to make it chirp.
My question is.
Should I use this old cane for firewood and purchase new? or are their any secrets for working with old cane?
Onondaga Piper
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Old 03-16-2018, 03:45 PM   #2
Shawn Husk
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Location: Niles, Ohio
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Default Re: Chanter Reed Question?

I've tried making GHB reeds from very old cane and found it to be too hard and brittle. I'd suggest working with newer cane. Sounds like your cane is just too old and hard. Perhaps over time the small amount of sap that's left over in the fibers hardens up or something.

If you want to experiment you might try putting it in warm water several times and letting it soak, maybe the sap could be loosened up or even washed out.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:36 PM   #3
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Location: California
Posts: 311
Default Re: Chanter Reed Question?

Some old cane does not get hard from age. Geoff Woof is still making reeds from cane he got from me in 1989. Due to the drought, much of the cane I have gotten recently is hard. Going back to a trusted source for soft cane.
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