Gouging and scraping… gouging and scraping.

August 4, 2009

Today I spent all day working with the gouging machine that I reground the blade with Mr. Weber. This is one of the least fun processes because it consists of making a reed, determining whether the sides are too thick or too thin, or if the gouge is too thick, adjusting either the location of the bed or the thickness of the gouge by sliding the parallels together or apart, making another reed, and determining the same thing from that reed, over and over and over. Actually, I make two reeds for each time I adjust it to make sure the two pieces of cane feel consistent. I probably made 20 reeds today just trying to get the darn gouge to the place that is acceptable.

When you’re finished with this processes, you’re left with a gouge that usually isn’t exactly what you want (it rarely is. That urban legend of the “perfect gouge” is about as elusive as that urban legend of the “perfect reed”). What you’re left with is a dozen (or in my case today, 20) reeds, all of them which aren’t exactly what you want, and the majority of them being “just mediocre”. These reeds I usually leave in my box for a couple of days, come back, and rescrape down to a “student reed” level. (i.e. more closed, and lighter feel.)

The new gouge is interesting. It currently is allowing me to gouge with very thin sides, gives me enough vibrations, but maintains a “covered” feeling to the tone of the reed. I think this “covered feel” is coming from an extra thick internal spine area left by the double radius gouge. For more “focused” sounding reeds, I would need to switch to my other graf machine, or scrape something else, which might potentially weaken the structure so that the reed destabilizes. The next process of figuring out this gouge is to experiment with different shaper tips and find if there might be others that would work better. My default shaper tip is a Brannen X, but I’ll probably try out a Pfeiffer Mack (shaped the Mack way and the normal way), a Weber 1-B (much thinner, like a Gilbert -1), and maybe even the RDG -2 (a super wide shape). Fun fun! That’s what’s going to happen tomorrow!


One Response to “Gouging and scraping… gouging and scraping.”

  1. Jeremy said

    Hi Cooper,
    You could always package a few of your experiments and send them to trusted colleagues (I hereby volunteer) for a second opinion?


    I’m sure even your discards would be great for most of us ..

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