Instant Heat-Formed
Uilleann Pipe Chanter Reeds
Modifications for Traditional Methods
10 Jan. 2007

Copyright 2006-7 David C. Daye

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In the coming weeks and months this method will be expanded into a detailed, step-by-step method any novice can use to build a Concert D uilleann chanter reed from scratch. Specific dimensions will be given for Penny-Chanters, but any Concert D chanter should be reedable if the dimensions specified by its maker are substituted for mine.

For now this will be a brief outline, for semi-experienced makers to use, of variations to standard methods such as those given by Dave Hegarty, Seth Gallagher, David Quinn and other reasonably traditional methods for Concert D chanter reeds found online and in print form. Only one part of any such method needs to change, and in addition, much of the early work for some of them becomes much less critical.



Traditional reed methods create a great deal of stress in the cane which artificially--and temporarily--makes it act stiffer than it really is when first finished. All such methods recommend allowing considerable resting periods after assembly and again after first scraping, so that this stiffness will relax away before the reed is finished.

These temporary stresses make the true state of the reed unknowable until well after the reed is sold and put into service. Much of this problem can be avoided in quick-built reeds by heating the cane after initial assembly, which temporarily softens it allowing it to settle permanently into its longterm shape with much of the stress relief of traditional slow construction forced in the beginning before the reed is voiced.

Ultra Brief Summary for Experienced Reed Makers

  1. Make the Slip Your Usual Way
  2. Bind onto staple as usual
  3. Heat-treat the Reed to Complete the Initial Settling and Stress Relief
  4. Let Reed Cool 10-15 Minutes
  5. OK to scrape reed as if it had rested bound for several days or longer

Summary Outline

  1. Make the Slip
  2. Bind onto staple as usual
  3. Heat-treat the Reed.
  4. Let Reed Cool 10-15 Minutes
  5. Reed is Safe to Scrape Near to Completion Any Time after it cools.
  6. Rest Scraped Overnight or Longer Unless This is an Emergency Reed
  7. Fine-tune and Break-in As Usual
  8. To Finish Emergency Reed:

Corrections and Adjustments

  1. Dull tone and/or resistant response is caused by warping of lips
  2. 2nd octave difficulty is often caused by stiff corners and/or thin centerline

Questions or suggestions, discoveries & comments, email David Daye at: this email address
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