Yesterday I wound twelve oboe reeds, readying myself for some upcoming work when I know I’ll be too zoned out to do much whittling. I really need to get working on them, but one thing I usually find myself doing prior to really hunkering down and carving is a “reed purge”. I pull nearly everything out (only leaving the very few best reeds alone), put them in water, and go through each and every reed (oboe and English horn) to do a “search and destroy” mission.

Mission accomplished!:


Not as messy as some days, as I had done a purge not all that long ago. But for some reason I love the look of all the stuff on the floor! I feel as if I’ve really accomplished something.

What’s remaining:

  • 12 oboe blanks
  • 11 English horn blanks
  • 16 oboe reeds (not saying their great … just not at the “destroy” stage yet)
  • 17 English horn reeds (ditto)

Wow … I just noticed that I have 28 oboe reeds and 28 EH reeds if I add up the finished and blanks … this isn’t anything deliberate. It just happened that way. Funny.


& now I have to pull out the vacuum.


  1. When I was a beginning student in the late ’50s, my teacher, Raymond Dusté,told me about the (then) principal oboist in the San Francisco Symphony, Meryl Remington. The work week then ended after the Saturday night concert, and Sunday and Monday were dark.

    After the Saturday night concert, Remington would break all the reeds in his box, then spend Sunday and Monday making new reeds and practicing for next week’s set.

    It still seems extreme to me, but it worked for him…

  2. Wow … definitely extreme. But I’ll bet one becomes a good reed maker … OR learns to play on “whatever”! 🙂