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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 12-30-2017, 11:47 AM   #1
RonSchlie
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Default Reed Making Weather

The work bench has been cleared of Christmas wrapping supplies and replaced with all the materials & tools needed to manufacture small pipe chanter reeds. I've had several requests from folks who have received their first set of Pinchbeck small pipes and desire to have a back-up reed just in case they have an accident with their original. Up to this point all of my reeds have been made using Nate Banton's dimensions because I have three of his chanters. One situation that I'm encountering is that Nate's reeds seem to sit deeper in the chanter than other makers chanters. At the last Pipers Gathering Chris Pinchbeck gave me one of the reeds he uses and I was unable to use it in my Banton chanters because the overall width was wider and I was unable to seat it deep enough in my chanter. I'm feeling like I need to ask these folks to give me accurate dimensions so I can try to duplicate them.
Is there a standard that pipe/reed makers follow or does each maker require a reed with different dimensions? I'm thinking that a narrow reed vs. a wider reed would work best in more chanters because one could add more windings to push it out.
In the past I have been asked to consider making reeds to sell. I'm reluctant to do this because I do it for something to do in the winter and I really don't enjoy doing it. (I'm retired and don't need a new career) The last 5% of manufacture frustrates me! (searching for that C#) Do I shorten it? Do I remove more material? One mistake and it's ruined!
I'm hoping that with more experience the final adjustments will become easier
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:25 PM   #2
longwind
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Default Re: Reed Making Weather

Have you considered using a piece of smaller hobby brass tubing to line the reed inside for those that won't fit into the bore? Instead of adding lengths of hemp on a reed that seats too loose, use a brass sleeve on the outside.
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:52 AM   #3
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Reed Making Weather

I presently use two different sizes of tubing. Nate and I use a stainless metric tube (.210 O.D) instead of the normal 3/16 brass. The larger bore seems to produces a brighter reed w/more volume. The person I perform with at open mics. uses the smaller 3/16 and I have made several for him and others in our group. Since I have no desire to produce reeds commercially for profit I will ask pipers to give me accurate dimensions of their current working reed.
Have you had success with this 2 tube procedure? It seems like it might restrict the airflow.
I'm sure I can duplicate any small pipe reed, it's just that last 5% that frustrates the hell out of me
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:09 AM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Reed Making Weather

Fwiw....you already realize this I’m sure....a reigning world class GHB reed maker told me once of when he switched his brass ( for folded staples) sheeting supplier seeking to economize the cost.

After many end users complained of dissatisfaction with so many reeds...he discovered that the new supplier’s sheeting was a few fly tongues thicker than his historical design standard...thus the o.d. of the staple was slightly larger ...messing with the historical ‘akimbo’ of the reed blades about the staple...thus producing an inferior reed.
Damnned flies.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:58 AM   #5
longwind
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Default Re: Reed Making Weather

Ron, I read a thread about doing that a few years ago. I believe it was on this forum, so they were talking about a GHB chanter. The brass nipple wouldn't need to be very long. It had two cuts on at least one end like you would do with a hack saw.
At the time I thought, what a good idea and still do. Seems by doing so there were no ill effects.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:48 PM   #6
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Reed Making Weather

Update!
Things are progressing. The first two reeds I made I ruined of my own fault. On the first reed, I removed to much stock on the tip corners (I'll try turning it into a D reed) and on the second reed I cracked the blade while not paying attention. One slip and your done. Since then I have made several nice sounding standard reeds and have started building a new design (the blades are tapered) .500 by the bridle and .400 at the tip. The very first reed of this design was rock solid across the meter and produced a solid robust sound. It played a bit hard at first, but with careful removal of stock it softened up and plays so sweet. I'll let this reed rest awhile and start working on another.
I don't love making reeds, but it helps to keep me busy during this long, cold winter.
Happy Trails
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Last edited by RonSchlie; 01-22-2018 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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