Reed spring Cleaning

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

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Reed spring Cleaning

Post by Beckitybek » Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:29 pm

After a very nervous (and successful - phew!) attempt, I've spring-cleaned my favourite reed for the first time. Thankfully its back to good playing order now, but it was a very tricky operation involving birds feathers, nail polish remover, vodka (don't ask!) and fine emery paper.
Anyone any hints or tips on how to go about this (or how to prevent the need for it in the future)?

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Re: Reed spring Cleaning

Post by dropkick » Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:02 pm

Beckitybek wrote: Anyone any hints or tips on how to go about this (or how to prevent the need for it in the future)?
I would suggest not playing in an environment (ie: smokey pub etc...) that is harmful to the reed. But, playing in pubs is a popular pass time and for those professional types, a necessary evil.

Why not have a couple of reeds for the sole purpose of dicey environment playing? This way you can save the wear and tear on the good reed for when you play in your home (providing it is safe :wink: ) or recording or in concert etc.

Just a thought.
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.


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Post by snoogie » Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:35 pm

That's a good idea Joseph, as most pubs are so noisy you can't really hear the pipes don't have to have a perfect (if there is such a thing) reed for those environments.

There is no try, only do or not do - Yoda

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Post by djm » Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:17 pm

Dirt will still accumulate over time inside the reed. All manner of dust and fibers are grabbed from the air by the bellows and sent along their merry way right into your reed.

Older reeds (a year of two) can do with a dusting, and will also perk up with a light internal sanding. To do this, take the corner of a piece of 600 grit wet/dry sanding paper and place it between the blades. Pinch the blades shut and twist/work the paper around a bit. Take the paper out, turn it over, and do the same on the other inner blade. It only takes a few twists to clean/polish the inside of an older reed to clean it and bring it back to life.

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