musings of a professional bassoonist

Friday, January 1, 2010

The dreaded deed

What better day than New Years to take on the dreaded deed?!  Although I am traumatized by the task of sharpening my profiler blade, I talked myself into doing it today so that I can start off the new year- the new decade, actually, with my reed making equipment in top shape.

First I took a few reference photos to help with reassembly of the profiler after I've sharpened the blade.  It's easy to make a mistake, so reference photos make sense to me. Here's are two examples:

Next I unscrew and remove the knob (handle) of the cutting head:

I use an Allen wrench to unscrew the blade assembly:

Here's the blade:

This is the diamond sharpening stone given to me by Norman Herzberg for sharpening the profiler blade:

Although it was hard to photograph this while using my right hand to sharpen, this is the technique for sharpening the blade, with the forfinger pushing the blade into the stone while the thumb pushes the blade from the bottom to the top.  The stone must be moistened with water before use.

This photo is more clear, although the hand position is not shown:

This pushing of the blade into the stone must be done until a burr is noticeable on the other side of the blade at the top.  Then the blade is flipped over, and a couple of light strokes should remove the burr.

Now it's time for the always challenging step of re-assembly.  I still use my drawing from my reedmaking tutoring with Mr. Herzberg:

Between that and the photos, I'm all set to start putting it back together.

I use the Allen wrench to slightly tighten the screw:

At the same time, I hand tighten the knob which raises and lowers the blade assembly:

Next, I use the blue pie-shaped shim provided by Mr. Herzberg to test the height of the blade:

The shim should barely be able to pass through under the blade.  If you're careful about this step, then testing with actual cane should be a breeze.  For me, this step takes a long time to get it just right.

Voila!  My "new" blade looks good, and it passed the test when I profiled 2 sticks of cane.

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