Anatomy of a Reed

A forum to discuss the arcane art of making uilleann pipes, reeds, and set maintenance.

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lorenzo
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Anatomy of a Reed

Post by lorenzo » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:31 am

Here's a good starting point from a link to EJ 't Hart's web site:
Image

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the plod
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Post by the plod » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:54 am

Hey Larry,

I hope you don't mind but I edited your post to make it sticky, I figured it would be good to keep this pic somewhere near the top.

Jeff

lorenzo
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Post by lorenzo » Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:24 pm

Good idea Jeff, I don't mind.

Regarding scrape zones, I've searched around for clues on oboe,
bassoon, and other reed sites, but wonder just how much is applicable.
What do our reed experts think of this:
Image
  • Too soft: Clip small amount of tip w/trimmer.
    Buzzy or Edgy: Clip small amount of tip w/trimmer.
    Lack of Resonance: lightly scrape area 1 & 2
    Dull sound when playing softly: lightly scrape area 1 & 2
    Blows hard lightly scrape area 2
    Lower register lacks resonance lightly scrape area 2
    Tip too thick lightly sand reed to about 3/8 inch back from tip w/the grain
    Reed Whistles lightly scrape area 2
    Third register hard to attack softly lightly scrape area 1 & 2
    Thin third register lightly scrape area 3
    Lacks projection in third register move area 3 back from the tip
    Lack of resonance in second register lightly scrape area 4
    Heavy low register Scraping area 6 with knife
    General lack of resonance Sand area 7 & 8
    Reed plays well but blows hard lightly scrape areas 6-5-4-3
    Table not flat Stroke lightly towards tip w/razor blade
    Table not smooth Scrape lightly back and forth, always with the direction of the grain
.
Image

If our experts say this is misleading and non-applicable, I'll delete this post completely.

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Tony
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Post by Tony » Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:43 am

Davy Stephenson had some detailed reedmaking information on his (now defunct) website. There is a tiny bit of information captured on an archive machine. I suggest making copies of what remains in the archive before it's totally lost.
Here is a link to the reedmaking pages:
http://web.archive.org/web/200312081803 ... _reeds.htm
and a link to the main page:
http://web.archive.org/web/200401030157 ... works.com/

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:08 am

Tony wrote:Davy Stephenson had some detailed reedmaking information on his (now defunct) website. There is a tiny bit of information captured on an archive machine. I suggest making copies of what remains in the archive before it's totally lost.
Unfortunately, all that is left are pictures, the text has been removed for some reason. Before Davy's site went TU, I downloaded the entire reed making manual he had there. I have been thinking about scanning the pages and adding them here somewhere... but I haven't gotten around to asking the mighty and all seeing PLOD about it yet. And before I do make any part of these notes available here, I will first have to seek Davy's permission.

What do y'all think?
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

Image
http://flojoereeds.com/

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snoogie
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Post by snoogie » Sat Oct 22, 2005 9:40 am

I think it would be excellent...but as you said only with permission. Don't want any copyright issues! -g
There is no try, only do or not do - Yoda

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Brian Lee
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Post by Brian Lee » Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:52 pm

The text IS in fact there Joe...you just gotta highlight it and it comes out. Looks like he used white text on a white background. :?:

Anyway, I spent a little time this morning putting it all together in a word document for my own use here at home. I'm hopeful it will shed some more light on the great mystery that is why one of my reeds rocked, and the rest are merely mediocre! LOL

After reading through it all however, let me caution anyone who is using this guide to use it as just that - a guide, and not the end all be all of reed making knowledge. Some of the techniques he uses are highly frowned upon by other great reed makers. I would not say that his measurements will work for any chanter either - but may offer a good starting point for a beginner, or a chance for experimentation for more experienced reeders.

Good stuff nonetheless.

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ausdag
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Post by ausdag » Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:26 pm

...
Last edited by ausdag on Sat May 02, 2009 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
David (ausdag) Goldsworthy
http://ozuilleann.weebly.com/

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Brian Lee
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Post by Brian Lee » Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:01 pm

Naw - I just read The Hobbit. Remember "moon letters" on Thorin's map? :)

As for that holy grail, I'll let ya know when I get this latest reed scraped and crowing! LOL

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Tony
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Post by Tony » Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:35 pm

The reason why the text on Davy Stephenson's website isn't visable is because he had white letters on a picture background. Now that most of the pictures and background image(s) are gone his text appears invisible.
No cryptic messages or hidden treasure... Sorry.
The one picture I wanted is the scan of his hand written notes on scrape zones. Yes they are specifically for his reeds but I'm sure much of that translates to other makers reeds too.
I called Davy early today, it was probably noonish his time but there was no answer and no answering machine. I wanted to ask him if he still had those pictures on his computer. He mentioned some time ago his computer suffered a hard disk failure and he lost his website files. I'm hoping he had some backups or possibly the original drawing/sketch and can scan it for us to see.

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:39 am

Tony wrote:The reason why the text on Davy Stephenson's website isn't visable is because he had white letters on a picture background.
D'OH!!! I knew that, really... I did. :oops:
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

Image
http://flojoereeds.com/

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the plod
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Post by the plod » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:15 am

I have most of the images also if they are needed.

Jeff

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Brian Lee
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Post by Brian Lee » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:24 am

Do any of yous have the graphic for the zones of the reed as Davy is talking about fine-tuning things? That'd help a bit.

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:41 am

Brian Lee wrote:Do any of yous have the graphic for the zones of the reed as Davy is talking about fine-tuning things? That'd help a bit.
I second that request. I have looking for something like that for a while. Most every reedmaker I have queried have been vague about their responses, and none (I think) have provided me with what I had asked for to date.
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

Image
http://flojoereeds.com/

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the plod
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Post by the plod » Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:37 pm

I don't have the original digital versions of these diagrams, but fortunately I had printed them out long ago and was able to scan them this evening.

Davy had 2 versions of this image, the first is below:

Image

the second image was a revision and contained explanatory text in the web page as below:

________________________________________
A. = The upper octave tuning zone, If this area is scraped too much, the notes in the upper octave will become harder to sustain, and will drop off/out too easy.
________________________________________
B. = The lateral zones, show here with the striped areas on either side of the reed, these area's need to be balanced as equally as possible, if you scrape into these area's, the overall pitch of the reed will flatten, this area also helps to tune the note E on the chanter.
________________________________________
C. = The lower octave zone, the more this area is scraped the easier it will be to obtain the lower octave, scrape too much and you will obtain a warbling bottom D and a weaker back D.
________________________________________
D. = The leading edges, Trim the smallest amount off here to strengthen the back D, it also makes the reed slightly harder to play overall.
________________________________________
E. = Eye of the staple, for concert D reed, make sure the eye is set at 2mm internal diameter.
If the eye is wider than 2mm, most of the notes in the bottom octave will become sharp, the back D will be poorer, but F will flatten.
If the eye is narrower than 2mm, most of the notes in the lower octave will become flat, but E will sharpen in the upper octave.
________________________________________
F. = The bridle, lift the bridle to strengthen the reed and lower it to soften it, lifting the bridle will flatten D and sharpen A, but move the bridle too far up the head and you will obtain a duller sounding reed, so try to keep the bridle as low as possible.
If the aperture of the reed is narrow, you can open the aperture by squeezing the bridle from the sides with a set of pliers and closing it by the same method across it.
________________________________________
G. = Is where the level of the binding or whipping should be, about 1/8" above the staple shown here on the inside of the reed.
________________________________________
The overall length of the scrape or V shaped area = 22.00mm, that's from the very top of the reed down to the fitted bridle, the overall length of the head = 25.00mm, that's from the very top of the reed down to the bindings and the overall length of the completed finished/scraped reed = 85.00mm +/- 2.00mm, the overall length can vary slightly depending on the density of the cane.

Image

I have placed both print and screen resolutions of these 2 images as well as the explanatory document and all of Davy's other reed diagrams (lo-res) in the following folder:

http://uilleannforum.com/reedmaking/stevenson/

Jeff

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