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Reed Chamfering

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TC Slim
Mar 09, 2009 3:22 PM GMT


I noticed a thread on harp l in the archives about reed chamfering, that Rick Epping kindly responded to byshowing some cool pics and the tools he uses. I havehad a goon old harps and have a few questions for any of you customisers out there.

Doesnt chamfering alter the pitch massively? is it really a worthwhile skill to learn? the effect it has on the aerodynamics of the reed is said to quite alot and therefore increases response etc? any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated

cheers TC

PS I have only been onharpspace for about a week and think it is such a good space, i have been reading all previous threads on customizing etc andreally appreciate the opportunity for us (lonely harp players) to share and communicate our knowledge here in the web

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Comments (9)

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Mar 09, 2009 3:52 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Embossing (I think chamfering is just another term for it) makes a big difference to the sound of the reed. You make the slot narrower which increases the airflow.

However this does alter the tone of the reed and that is not always desirable. My understanding is that embossing (chamfering) is of more use if you play the overblow style.

For a more traditional playing style I was advised to concentrate on the arcing and gapping. I know Rick epping says that he embosses both reeds and slots.

Hopefully Joe Spiers, Dave Payne or Chris Michalek will see this post and can elaborate in a much more detailed way than my amateur ramblings on the matter! :)

Mar 09, 2009 4:13 PM GMT
TC Slim Replied:

Hi Kingley

I have been embossing for a while now, ie narrowing the slot, Rick Epping actually chamfers the edge of the reeds. to take the squarness off the edge of the reed. Check these cool pics.

the edge is visibly chamfered. Think you need a vary sharp tool, Richard Sleighs draw scraper perhaps? Lee Oskar tool kit has a suitable tool also perhaps, chisel type thing. I think chamfering is another technique to embossing or used as well as???

Cheers for your post

Mar 09, 2009 4:28 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Cheers for the link TC.

I understand it now! :)

Mar 09, 2009 5:56 PM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

In the pics it looks like the edges of the reed have been chamfered, but the slot doesn't seem to be--is it one or the other or both? Does the chamfering actually widen the reed?

Mar 09, 2009 10:17 PM GMT
Kingobad Replied:

Dear lord. I bet you guys painted every part of your model airplanes BEFORE you put them together too. I think I'd have to take up reed chamfering as a hobby instead of playing. I hope the benefit of that is worth it. I guess I'll worry about it if I ever get good enough to use it.

Mar 10, 2009 2:22 AM GMT
Randy S Replied:

I saw that thread and has to try it out. I couldnt tell if it made any difference at all as far as response, volumne or otherwise. I was afraid it would drastically alter the pitch but was surprised to find it didnt very much. A lOT less than polishing out milling marks.

Mar 10, 2009 11:13 AM GMT
Elk River Replied:

The pitch shouldn't change much, since pitch change isn't about how much weight there is on a reed, but the distribution of that weight. So...

Had you gone from the middle up (to the swinging end of the reed) and stopped, you'd have sharped it. Had you gone from the bottom and stopped in the middle, you'd have flattened it. Taking it evenly off all along the side would cause no pitch change whatsoever in a perfect world. In the pic, looked like it would have gone slightly sharp maybe, cause it appeared slightly more metal was taken from the top half.

Mar 13, 2009 5:41 AM GMT
harveyharp Replied:

I started doing reed chamfering right after Rick Told us how to do it, and I like it. It seems to make the reeds brassier, and brighter, and react quicker. But between the champhering, and reed polishing there was about a quarter semitone highter of tuning necessary. I tried a different approach, whichseems to work for me.After I polish the reeds withsanding wands, then I champher the reed froma little above the middle to the tip.This sort of solves most of the problem,because you are not removing a lot of metal near the Rivit. That end does not move much anyway, so Ithink that campheringmight not be as necessary as at the tip. Then I finish the tuning with the sanding wand. I don't even have to be very careful about sanding too much, because if I do, the I just lower the pitchby champhering up higher, near the rivit.

Thats just my method. Not approved or accepted by anyone that counts. I use the Lee Oskar little chisel, which I sharpen with a wet stone. One you get used to it, you can get a real nice curl of brass from the reed. Cuts like butter.

Be Careful on the higher reeds, or you will knock the tip of of them when champhering,


Mar 22, 2009 6:34 AM GMT
Builderofstuff Replied:

I've done this, if you're not careful about keeping the chamfer even along the length you will definately change the pitch of the reed.

To te comment below, embossing and chamfering are two different things.


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