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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 04-20-2017, 06:47 PM   #1
Max K241
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Default 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

Returning once again to the ever-fascinating topic of how to make your chanter reed easier to blow, in “The Complete Piper’s Handbook” Pipe Major Brett Tidswell states that “I prefer to use a three-corner file for the sanding of a chanter reed, other than the tips of the reed. I find it a little more precise for most tasks than sand paper.”

That’s why I bought a 6” Nicholson XX Slim Taper three-corner file yesterday ($5.99 at Sears). After experimenting on scrap wood, I am here to tell you I won’t use a three-corner file again – at least, not this type. This particular file tended to make a wedge-shaped cut, rather than the nice smooth scrape that you get with a good reed knife. Perhaps that’s because these files are for sharpening saws -- i.e. for shaping metal, not wood.

Perhaps I just bought the wrong sort of file. There's something called a "triangular riffler file" available at Woodcrafter.com for $26.99. It's used by wood carvers. At $26.99, it ain't cheap, but it's less expensive than most reed knives used by woodwind players.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:27 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

[QUOTE

Any thoughts?[

/QUOTE]

There are so many good reeds coming off so many good benches I'm happy to say I've found little cause over the past near ten years to overly manipulate with tools a poor reed into 'good' one..or turn a good one into a poor one.
Perhaps rarely a very light 2-3 light scrapes with a new sharp blade...but really hardly.

Shepherd,G1 and Chesney stand up as top band reeds...and of course for band there is quantity ...and thus for the greatest part enough to go around with little ado. I think D. Macphee ,C.Maclellan, and those noted above all can likewise deliver the goods for any solo sort without need for aftermarket tools.

Unless one is an accomplished reedmaker I doubt the value in wanton scalping of a quality bench reed hoping to remake into a piece it's not designed to be.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:01 AM   #3
Pip01
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
[QUOTE

Any thoughts?[

/QUOTE]

Perhaps rarely a very light 2-3 light scrapes with a new sharp blade...but really hardly.

Greetings to All,

Back in the Long Ago... in the Old First Band... when there
was only leather and cane... upon that rare occasion when
a bit more direct duress was needed... to help soften a rather
recalcitrant reed... the quickest tool to hand... was a sgian dubh.

A fine... sharp edge... deftly... gently applied... as then seemed
needful... and an increasingly compliant reed... was then soon
in the offing... :)

In our lot... there was no such thing... as a dull sgian dubh... as
was no such thing... as dull shoe leather. (And woe betide!... :)

And that is how I then learned... amongst the Old Fellows... in
with whom my first piping lot was thrown... and that is all that I
have ever used since...

And yes... we now have many new wondrous and shiny tools...
from which we may choose... but... somehow... I simply never
got around to any of them... the readily available sgian dubh...
being always found... in the top of my hose... :)

Your mileage... may of course... vary... and all should pick the
tools that best fit their hand... and their purpose...

Regards to All,

Pip01

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Last edited by Pip01; 04-21-2017 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:11 AM   #4
Max K241
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
[QUOTE
There are so many good reeds coming off so many good benches I'm happy to say I've found little cause over the past near ten years to overly manipulate with tools ...
You're fortunate. Sadly, that hasn't been my experience. All too often when I buy 10 reeds, I find that only a couple of them meet my needs right out of the box. The remaining 8 or so have problems. Some are too hard, others are too easy, too flat, etc. Why not try to modify the 8 problem reeds? If I have any success at all, my purchase should yield more reeds that I can actually play. If my efforts end up ruining one of the 8 problem reeds, I'm no worse off than if I just set them aside and don't use them at all.
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Last edited by Max K241; 04-21-2017 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

I buy reeds from two reliable USA sources....I ask them to manometer check them for the strength range I want for myself or students/band...cuz they know from experience if I don't get what I want I'll be sending them back. And...There are more than two suppliers out there.

Accepting...more than twice.. a batch of reeds wherein only half or less are suitable 'out of the box'...is very kind.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
I buy reeds from two reliable USA sources....
Interesting. Which two sources are those, if may I ask?
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:49 AM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

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Originally Posted by Max K241 View Post
Interesting. Which two sources are those, if may I ask?
Pipers Hut and Pipers Dojo....Shepherd standard,G1 and/or Chesney reeds.

I have no financial affiliations with either supplier or reed makers.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:05 PM   #8
Max K241
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

[QUOTE=el gaitero;1313649][QUOTE] Pipers Hut and Pipers Dojo....Shepherd standard,G1 and/or Chesney reeds. /QUOTE]
Thanks. I appreciate the info. In return, I'll 'fess up and admit that one of the reasons I keep buying these reed tools is that I simply have a fondness for tools, and tinkering in general. And that's by no means limited to the pipes!
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:42 PM   #9
magsevenband
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

I never consider a freshly bought reed a finished product...there is always something that needs to be done, however minor...and yes, we have some truly gifted craftsmen out there nowadays making great reeds...I'll bet even they don't consider their reeds to be truly plug and play...it's up to the skill of the Piper to finish it off to proper spec....vibrancy of the cane is also a big factor.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
EquusRacer
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Default Re: 3-Corner File for Chanter Reed Mods???

I'll echo the sentiments above that there are many excellent reed makers, today. Returning to the issue of working on them, I find that a gentle hand with an inexpensive emery board works just fine (assuming one knows what he or she is doing and where to file).
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