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 Gougers and thickness/ width of reed
Author: Simonsky 
Date:   2015-08-30 00:12

Hi All,

I used to only make reeds from pre-gouged/shaped cane but am considering buying a gouger (second hand probably) but as I don't know much about the variables I wanted to ask you gougers out there a few questions.

1) Does a gouger only work with one width of cane or a range, e.g. 10.5-11.5 mm? That is can you experiment with widths on the same gouger?

2) Can the same gouger offer the possibility of gouging at different depths and side ratios and does this involve having interchangeable blades?

I suppose it might depend on the model- but any advice would be appreciated.



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 Re: Gougers and thickness/ width of reed
Author: veggiemusician 
Date:   2015-08-30 21:34


It depends if you play on the European or USA system... My answer is based on the European system.

1) Only one width of cane can be used. If you buy a 10.5mm bed machine, then you must use 10.5mm cane.

2) All gougers can gouge at different thicknesses - normally between 0.55 to 0.60mm. Most Europeans use 10.5mm machines with a blade radius of 11.4mm which gives sides of about 0.42mm. To change the side ratio one has to change the blade - an 11mm blade on a 10.5mm machine will produce a side of 0.47mm. I don't recommend changing blades as they can be a nightmare to set up. Best go with standard setup for 10.5mm or 11mm machines and get used to the reeds it produces. One should only tinker with gouger setups unless they are an advanced reed maker with many years experience.

My favourite gouging machine is the Michel by some way - no machine comes close. It is one of the few that gouges dry and thus produces the most accurate results. I find once cane dries from a wet gouger they are all different thicknesses. The playing state of a reed is actually almost dry so its best to keep all reed making as dry as possible so one can aim for the highest consistency. My shaping and profiling are done only with cane a few seconds dipped in water.

Do you own a shaper? Before owning a gouger make sure you have used your own shaper for some time. Again stay standard - An RDG/Howarth -2 or RC13 is a good starting point if you are a European player.

Jerome Broun
Principal Oboe UAE NSO Symphony Orchestra

Post Edited (2015-08-30 21:41)

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 Re: Gougers and thickness/ width of reed
Author: Adorno 
Date:   2021-05-28 21:50

If your gouger has a 10.5mm bed and you MUST use 10.5mm cane, WHERE can you find cane with this exact diameter? Most sources that sell tube cane and/or pre-gouged cane will provide a range only of for example 10 - 10.5, 10.5 - 11mm, very few offer cane that is exactly 10.5mm. If you are required to use cane of only that diameter, that means you'll be throwing away 80% of the tube cane and/or pre-gouged cane you buy. Capitol Cane in Washington DC does offer the exact diameter, but they also charge an arm and a leg. How do YOU personally solve this problem?

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 Re: Gougers and thickness/ width of reed
Author: Hotboy 
Date:   2021-05-29 04:19

You will spend the money either way....throw out cane that's the wrong diameter from tubes, or buy from Capitol Cane...which way will save you time?

I don't gouge my own cane any more...I use Capital's gouged cane and make tremendous reeds.

Simonsky, I echo Veggie's advice. If you have not shaped your own cane before, start with that before you buy a gouger. That way, you find a shape you like, THEN you figure out what diameter gouged cane you like best with it, THEN you buy the gouger that gouges that diameter.

You're setting yourself up for heartbreak and frustration if you dive in the deep end with both shaping and gouging.

Bay Area, California

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