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Copyright 2009 Dale Clark
Sanding Film, Undercutting the Tip
After a very busy fall and early winter season I decided to make a moment and post a blog I had started a while back.
At the IDRS conference in West Virginia, I was given a couple of pieces of sanding film by a student of Mark Popkin. This film was plastic backed. I believe the grits I had were the equivalent of 400 and 600 grit. You could sand many reeds, wash the film, and it would retain its original shape. It seemed practically impossible to wear out. I eventually lost those pieces of sanding film and the closest product I have found is the Testor’s sanding film used primarily for models. If anyone knows of other brands please let us know on this blog.
Undercutting the Tip
A sanding technique that I use, mentioned in the Skinner’s Bassoon Reed Manual, is the undercutting of the tip. Skinner’s method was to insert a piece of sandpaper between the blades and then insert a plaque behind the smooth side of the sandpaper. You then hold the reed tip closed and pull the sandpaper out. I usually do this three times on each blade using 400 grit sandpaper. This is a method I use for increasing resonance after I have tried my usual scraping methods. There is a slight risk of splitting the reed especially when inserting the sandpaper if much care is not used. Sometimes I have made reeds for others that request a reed that’s tip is cut almost at the center fold line. There may be rough edges or splinters inside the tip and undercutting is essential. Sometimes, if there is only a small splinter, you can omit the use of a plaque, insert the sandpaper, and hold the tip closed while you pull it out. Sometimes if the splinter is tough to remove a lower grit sandpaper can be used.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.