Well, I finally took the plunge. I have now got a room full of tube cane which I have to split, pre-gouge, gouge, shape, hardness test, profile, construct into a reed, tip on a tipper and then finish by hand. Phew. Despite the obvious long term cost savings on prepared cane (and I really do mean long term to make back all this investment!) I have to question the business sense. It’s going to take me a lot of reed sales to recoup this. However, on the few dozen or so I have made up so far it becomes obvious that I am able to make more consistent and useable reeds by being in control of the whole process. And if a piece of cane really doesn’t meet my criteria then I don’t feel bad about not making a reed out of it as it is pennies rather than pounds I am turning down! The main thing is that this will be better for the students and other players who buy reeds from me already.
I thought about making some videos of the whole process but there are already some great sites out there and some good Youtube clips. But I will share one thing right now - I changed the blade in my profiler and sharpened the one in the tipper. I had got so used to blunt blades that I hadn’t noticed how much effort and force I was using on a piece of cane and that ends up with compressed fibres and less vibration! The sharp blades are a revelation and lesson learned. I will post some pictures of the fun but meanwhile interested to hear feedback on others experiences.