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How To Release A Stuck Reed Shoe?


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#1 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:51 AM

Hi all,

 

with my new instrument I'm experiencing several reed shoes which are firmly stuck in the wood (fortunately all push reeds as yet), unpossible to remove by simply increasing the pressure of a finger pushing). Would it be advisable to cautiously apply a shove with a hammer (through a wooden chisel of course) to the clamp?

 

(at the moment there's one reed that turns squeaky from time to time, difficult to fix, my assumtion is that the brass reed shoe is suffering from the too-tight fit, being compressed perhaps)

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

 

Best wishes - Wolf


Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 04 December 2017 - 05:52 AM.


#2 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 07:30 AM

Probably the dry  air of winter is slightly shrinking the wood so it grips  tighter  on the reed frame.

 

You could  use a  gas torch  to heat up the  brass shoe  which would expand  and press the wood back in place. Once it has cooled it should be easy to removed  the reed...  carefull not to get the wood too charred as this will spoil the tone  and ruin the valves..... :o

 

Only joking!!!! :D

 

I use very gentle  pressure  with my fingers to release  a reed  shoe , gradually increasing the  force  until  the pain is unbearable.  As a very last resort  perhaps I might   give a tiny tap with a small  hammer....  but  don't know if I'd suggest it to someone else. <_<  .


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 04 December 2017 - 07:35 AM.


#3 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:48 AM

Thank you Geoff,  I'm still collecting...

 

I would have gone for the gas torch solution had you not warned me - so elegant and tempting...  :ph34r:

 

Best wishes . Wolf


Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 04 December 2017 - 08:49 AM.


#4 Theo

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:04 AM

Stand reed pan on edge, tilting slightly so that chamber walls are not in contact with table. Press down gently but firmly with a flat bladed screwdriver on the clamp bar.

#5 Dana Johnson

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:05 AM

Dry wood shrinks away from reed shoes making them looser. Higher humidity makes the wood swell and hold the shoes more tightly. If you pad the end of your finger, you can stand more pain, but the admittedly effective tap of a small hammer ( against a stick of wood resting on the clamp ) puts more stress on the screws simply because the instantaneous force is much higher.
Reeds in swelled reed pans crush the wood and make a space for themselves that is larger than the tapered slot immediately behind. Good reed shoes do not have straight sides, but a slightly concave edge so they are tight at the front and rear of the shoe, but don’t touch in the center, in order to keep swelling wood from pinching the reed shut. This means that you have to go over the hump in the wood from crushing at the reed but not behind it when you push out the reed. You will find that reeds get snug in their slots but then sort of snap into place when they hit the crushed area.
Dana

#6 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 12:50 PM

Thank you both for the explanation and advice, Theo and Dana!

 

I'll go for it as soon as I'll have to (which hopefully will not be so soon).

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#7 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 07:32 PM

This forum and community is, it must be repeated here, a great source of knowledge and advice! The squeaky push reed (first G on the left side, thus essential!) was driving me mad once again, and every effort seemed to be in vain. As I was left with the working hypothesis "pinched slot" as the only one still valid I decided I HAD to remove the reed and possibly swap push and pull (the pull reed having been seating rather loose in its bay and even slow-speaking from time to time).

The screwdriver approach failed, perhaps due to my being overly cautious here. Anyway, I then was determined to accept and overcome any pain at the tip of my thumb (before going for hammer and chisel) - and it finally worked! The rest was easy: removing the pull reed shoe as well, inserting each shoe into a better fitting bay, et voilà: two good-sounding and responsive G notes, one on the push and one on the pull, reappeared!

So thanks everyone again - best wishes, Wolf

Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 04 December 2017 - 07:39 PM.


#8 malcolm clapp

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 07:29 AM

Off topic, but if you want to give your thumbs a good workout, try removing an overly tight-fitting reed pan from a bellows frame....



#9 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 10:26 AM

Off topic, but if you want to give your thumbs a good workout, try removing an overly tight-fitting reed pan from a bellows frame....

 

Very funny, as I had to do exactly that at an earlier stage some weeks ago...!!  :D  B)



#10 d.elliott

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 03:42 PM

Hi all,

 

with my new instrument I'm experiencing several reed shoes which are firmly stuck in the wood (fortunately all push reeds as yet), unpossible to remove by simply increasing the pressure of a finger pushing). Would it be advisable to cautiously apply a shove with a hammer (through a wooden chisel of course) to the clamp?

 

(at the moment there's one reed that turns squeaky from time to time, difficult to fix, my assumtion is that the brass reed shoe is suffering from the too-tight fit, being compressed perhaps)

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

This is a common problem for most repairers, usually its the two clamp bar screws that are the culprits, the ends of the screws on the underside of the reed shoe corrode where they are in contact with the wood, which naturally holds moisture. This anchors the reed shoe in its slot.

 

I either do as has been suggested by Theo, or I use a miniature hammer and a home made metal drift which is seated on the clamp and give the drift a sharp tap.

 

At no time do I allow the drift to actually strike the clamp, it is in contact through out, its the hammer face onto the rear of the drift that provides the 'impulse' reaction. Equally at no time is any force or impulse applied to chamber walls.

 

Dave



#11 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 10:24 AM

Thank you for the additional information and advice, David!

 

My impression is that a combination of the screws issue you're describing here and a constricting reed pan had been fastening the reed shoe so firmly (whereas the screws won't have been responsible for the malfunctioning of the reed itself).

 

Best wishes - Wolf



#12 SteveS

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:04 PM

Off topic, but if you want to give your thumbs a good workout, try removing an overly tight-fitting reed pan from a bellows frame....

I have a 'tina in my resto pile with glued in reedpans - and it doesn't look like hide glue :angry:



#13 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 03:11 PM

I seem to recall your having mentioned that before - which really scared me as I had not been able to lift the reed pans (until asking for and receiving some good advice).

Best wishes - Wolf

#14 d.elliott

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:13 AM

Thank you for the additional information and advice, David!

 

My impression is that a combination of the screws issue you're describing here and a constricting reed pan had been fastening the reed shoe so firmly (whereas the screws won't have been responsible for the malfunctioning of the reed itself).

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

I was addressing the common cause of a stuck reed assembly in its slot on the reed pan.

 

The description of 'squeaky' in relation to a reed fault is, well, open to interpretation, however you can get some odd effects from closing down flank clearances between a reed tongue and the reed shoe. This can be variable if the reed pan slot is making full length and tight contact with the edge of the reed shoe. Changes in climatic conditions can put extra pressure on the shoe closing the corresponding clearance with the reed tongue. When faced with this sort of situation I do three things:

 

I ensure that the reed tongue is free from any fouling or  'fash' or burr that might result from tuning filing

I check the inside of the reed shoe vent for verdigris and hard salt deposits

I ensure the tongue is not displaced within the shoe vent, even gaps all the way round and from tip to root.

 

 

Once all these are checked only then will I relieve the pressure on the reed by either altering the pressure used to seat the reed assembly in its reed pan slot or by actually adjusting the slot its self along the length of the shoe, easing the pressure but ensuring the grip at the tip and at the clamp in not affected.

 

Dave



#15 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:29 AM

Dave - thank you once again for your explanation, which will be valuable for future inquirers as well.

 

The squeaky sound was like the reed having contact to some metal as soon as it was responding.

 

In fact I did all you're mentioning (at least check, also with an electric torch held from behind to ensure that the clearance was as even as possible; and I was of course very cautious not to needlessly enlarge it, thus risking to lessen the fantastic responsiveness of the reed), prior to going after the "lateral pressure" issue (which seemed to be the only left).

 

I can't tell whether just having the shoe released once already would have done the trick; however as the pull reed shoe was rather on the loose side I swapped the two, and this turned out perfectly fine, still after some days of extended playing.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

edited to add: The prodecure described here might not be understandable without having in mind that I primarily had to do everything with the reed shoe still applied to the reed pan (as it was stuck), which was only possible as we're talking about a push reed of course; since everything else failed I took the courage to finally get the reed shoe released...


Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 08 December 2017 - 05:16 AM.


#16 d.elliott

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 02:00 PM

Wolf,

 

just a comment, the reed individual tuning between the push side of the reed pan and the pull side is often, indeed usually a few cents different. I might suggest swapping the reeds back and determining if your problem still persists, as you say, sometimes just removing and re-fitting a reed can alleviate lateral pressure in the slot.  I would also suggest that if you choose not to swap back the reeds, you might like to check the reeds in the assembled instrument, push and pull.

 

cheers

 

Dave






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