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 Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-12 03:12

Goldb beaters skin has been used on Oboe reeds for a long time now and it seems to me that this is more of a tradition then using other more practicable methods such as sealing up the sides of the reed with finger nail varnish. On a number of occasions the gold beaters skin has come loose on my reeds and when I attempt to wet it and make it stay on again it never seems to. I"ve then use varnish instead which seems to keep the reed leak proof just as well. I apply the varnish to the entire binding and also a bit beyond the bindiing onto the reed itself (about 0.5 cm)
I'd like to read of the opinions of others on this subject. It just seems to me that the finger nail varnish is for more practicable and convenient to use.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-10-12 05:13

PTFE (plumbers') tape - excellent for this application.

Chris.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-12 06:29

Yes Chris , but it doesn't look nice.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-10-12 08:15

Some well known oboists have melted bees wax into the sides of a reed to seal for leaks.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: concertmaster3 
Date:   2017-10-12 16:16

I've been using melted bees wax for a while now. It smells better than fingernail polish when I open a case full of reeds. Although, I was slightly envious of a friends glittery reeds this past week!

Ron

Ron Ford
Woodwind Specialist
Performer/Teacher/Arranger
http://www.RonFordMusic.com

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-12 21:54

So apparently fingernail varnish is ok to use. instead of goldbeaters skin. My assumption is that back in earlier times goldbeaters skin was the ideal and most practical material to use in making sure a reed did not leak at the sides. Since then other material have come into existance which are just as effective such as varnish/plumbers tape ect. I usuallyi use the clear varnish but also red and even black. I've even used a combinaton of colours such as red on the red binding and black between the binding and the adjustment wire if there is one.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: tgenns 
Date:   2017-10-13 00:11

I would avoid using finger nail polish to seal the sides of a leaky reed, since it most likely soaks into the cane and affects / inhibits the reed vibration. I've been using plumbers tape for years -- works fine and stays on the reed, unlike goldbeaters skin.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-10-13 02:02

I always use nail varnish on the binding, however it is really only to seal the knots at the bottom end and also to ensure there is no unravelling where I have cut off just after the cross over....but I tie my reeds on differently than most people and I know my reeds wont leak at the binding. I might only have about 1 reed in 20 where there are any leaks on the side, and that is generally because I did not check well enough when crossing over, or the tension has slipped slightly when I have been doing that. I have a good supply of goldbeaters skin and very occasionally when I do use it, I sometimes apply a thin coat of varnish after I have already placed this on, otherwise I use plumbers tape. I only apply either skin or tape to reeds that are otherwise exceptional but for the slight leak, otherwise I discard that reed completely if it is not in all other respects a first class reed. With cor Anglais reeds, I probably need to use tape a little more frequently as really am still learning to make them and because of their shorter length find it difficult to tie on and scrape cor reeds. i find it is quite painful and struggle with them, because of the arthritis, but making oboe reeds is easier and generally there are no leaks at all. I favour a bright sound and do not like the dampening effects of a sealed reed if I can avoid it.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: PaulNorway 
Date:   2017-10-13 13:53

I have never used nail polish to seal the sides of a reed. When I started to learn how to make reeds I used fish skin, but now I just use Teflon tape or cling film if I the sides don’t seal properly. Before I tie the reed I run beeswax into the tread and that helps sealing the tread so I don’t hav to use nail polish.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-13 22:53

Running the thread through raw bees wax is a good idea also. I must start doing that again. I forgot I had some of that.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-10-23 04:12

I don't get it to be honest. My teacher never slipped blades except to raise pitch at the very very end when all else was perfect except for a slightly flat crow, never used wire, never used anything to seal the edges, not seal skin, not nail polish, not wax on the thread. Why does everyone seem to do these things?

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-23 06:47

EaubeauHorn "I don't get it to be honest. My teacher never slipped blades except to raise pitch at the very very end when all else was perfect except for a slightly flat crow, never used wire, never used anything to seal the edges, not seal skin, not nail polish, not wax on the thread. Why does everyone seem to do these things?
This doesn't explain how many reeds that one can purchase already made , including some called 'professional' grade are often wired and nearly always sealed with gold beaters skin. I assume that wiring and sealing with some sort of skin ect is the normal and basic approach to Oboe reed making.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-10-23 06:50

Howarth have a range of reeds from beginners grade to professional which are called Academy. Apparently they have a professional 'in house' reed maker who makes these. All are wired and sealed with gold beaters skin.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: oboist2 
Date:   2017-10-24 07:10

I would think that many reeds purchased ready made, are sealed and wired, because they are often posted, have to go through a few different climate zones, and different altitudes. All of those things can change the cane, so to minimise the possible springing of a leak etc, the skin/film/wax/wire or whatever is applied before sending the shipment out. A really good reed, right off the bat, does not need wiring or sealing, in my opinion, but an indifferent reed can sometimes be improved to become a very good reed. I only lacquer my binding, to help prevent the off chance that a knot may not be quite secure.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2017-10-25 21:39

So....that would imply that my teacher's reeds were very good right off the bat, which was my experience. He was/is a true master. I tried to learn reed making from another local person who sounds just fine, but I can't even get his reeds to crow (and he said others cannot get them to crow either, so I'm not taking fault for that) and I have to assume that most do not have the opportunity to always play on fantastic reeds, and I admire their ability to play on what I very likely could not. And I wonder how good they would be if they were able to play on the reeds that I learned on.

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 Re: Gold Beaters Skin or Finger Nail Varish
Author: rgombine 
Date:   2017-11-30 09:54

I don’t know why commercially available oboe reeds have supplemental sealants, although I guess it would make them more resistant to changes in climate as an earlier poster suggested. But clearly there are legions of professional reed makers who don’t require these “enhancements”, and in my opinion they are not necessary. A reed should readily seal so long as care is paid in proper shaping of the cane, the positioning of the cane on the staple, and the appropriate tie-length for the shape used. So sure, use goldbeaters or Teflon or whatever to salvage a reed if things are desparate. However I would regard an air leak in a reed as red-flag that signals the need to further troubleshoot your process up to that point. My 2c’s.



Post Edited (2017-11-30 09:57)

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