QUESTION: Hi Geoffrey,
I'm now trying to make my reeds to be more open. I'm using 10.5-11mm diameter at the moment. I plan to buy smaller diameter cane, but I read in some web about the process of putting the heated mandrel inside the cane before tying on which make a bigger sound. Which one is better option for you?

Best Regards,

ANSWER: Dear Billy

Sorry to keep you waiting for my answer I have been away from home.

Certainly using a smaller diameter cane say 10.00 - 10.25 will help produce a bigger opening. In Germany commonly 10.00mm is used whereas in France and England 10.5 - 11 and in the USA 11.00 is normal. The gouges vary as well in that the thicker gouges are used in USA - 60/100mm whilst in Germany often traditionally 55/100 is common. In France and UK 56/100 to 58/100 is usual.

The technique of hot mandrel is useful  but requires patience and practise to learn hoe to do it successfully. It is awkward as things are very hot and you deal in tiny bits of cane. Needs skill!!

I have used the technique myself. I removed the bit from a soldering iron, cut off an inch or so of a mandrel and placed that in the soldering iron. The bits are interchangeable usually held by a screw.

I use the hot mandrel shape to shape the ends of the folded canes.
Soak for the usual time - about 15-20 minutes or until the cane sinks - and then using a crimping tool which has round jaws and a gloved hand I form the cane ends around the hot mandrel. The cane bends to the shape of the mandrel.  The curved ends of the gouged and shaped canes then go on the staple easily without slipping or cracking when you tighten the thread .

I theory you may get a more open reed as the end of the staple acts as a fulcrum and the snug fit of the ends of the cane in theory, open the tip slightly more than normal.

Having said all that for a more open reed use a longer staple and shorter length of cane as a result. When you cut the final length higher up the cane the opening is slightly more. Still I would go for smaller diameter tubes. It will more reliable.

Hope that helps a little


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Geoffrey,
Thanks for your answer. I can think about that. At the moment, I only put the cane to the staple normally. But yea, let me think about your suggestion. Thanks.
Have you had experience of using K.Ge cane and staple? Is K.Ge a common brand in Europe? I prefer medium or medium-hard cane, which brand would you suggest? Thank you.

Best Regads,

ANSWER: Dear Billy

Thank you for your kind marking of my answer to the original question. It is very much appreciated.

Now, K Ge cane and staples.
Yes the brand is very well used in Europe. I myself use his tube cane and his tied-on unfinished reeds for my own scraping. They are very well tied on. At least the ones I have bought recently have been. His staples are very good too.
The Dutch oboist Pauline Oostenrijk uses his stuff as does Emanuel Abuhl and lots of other people who find the cane just "works" for them.

Very good cane can be obtained from Rigotti. Francois Leleux uses this more or less exclusively and likes a harder cane. Gouged and shaped form Marigaux is Rigotti. The K Ge cane tends to be softer.  Another medium to hard brand - usually - is Alliaud. All these are obtainable via their websites.

Best wishes


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Geoffrey,
Thanks for your super fast answer. I'm not sure about what kind of scraping I'm using right now. Maybe it's closer to the french one, because my reed has no humps from the tip to the heart. Is it okay if I pick 10-10.5 diameter for K.Ge? Because few months ago I ordered the 10.5-11 from them and generally they were easily closed. Or I just need to tie longer maybe? Normally I tie on 74.5 and finish on 72. Thanks.

Best regards,

Not so quick this time. Sorry!
I would order the 10-10.5 from K Ge if you are scraping more French than German particularly. You do still need to keep the thickest bit down the middle to preserve the structure of the reed. Even use a wire to support the reed, use a shorter staplle, even 46mm, and the longer piece of cane as a result will achieve the slightly wider opening and maintain your pitch level.

Best of luck in 2014 and if I can help further don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll do my best to answer your queries.



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Geoffrey Bridge


Professional oboist with many years experience. Former pupil of Leon Goossens. Solo artist for Arts Council of Great Britain. Freelance recitalist/broadcasting/orchestras. Former Head of woodwind teaching in Hampshire, England. Questions on repertoire, playing styles, reeds, cane selection and processing.


Royal College of Music, Aberdeen College of Education Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music General Teaching Council certificate Broadcast solo recitals/performed with major symphony orchestras/Music Club recitals/writings on double reed matters

Treasurer/Advertising Manager and Trustee of the British Double Reed Society International Double Reed Society Association Hautbois Francais Southern Pro Musica Orchestra/Aberdeen Sinfonietta

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine

LRAM, Cert Ed

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