Skip to main content

New Tool!

Happy New Year, everyone! I know I fell off this blog at the end of the year - the schedule got overwhelming and getting my CD released took up a lot of my time.  But I'm back now.  I love the oboe, I love writing, and I love you all.

Over the holiday Steve and I visited the Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  It's on that giant, congested strip of attractions in Sevierville, TN, and it's a very... outdoorsy store, so I didn't have high expectations of finding anything for me.  But ooooh we had a great time.  I've never seen so many knives and tools and the staff were super knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and we were there for hours learning and shopping.

The inexpensive folding pocket reed knife I purchased didn't end up working out for me.  It had the right shape, and I loved the size, and I felt like a real bada$$ whipping it out of my pocket to scrape a reed - but once I started really working I couldn't keep an edge on it and fell out of love pretty quickly. I'm on the lookout for another folding option, though, now that I see what is possible.

I DID discover a spectacular sharpening stone which is about to become my primary tool - and for a crazy low price and in a teensy travel size.



I've experimented with diamond stones before but haven't found one this fine.  The coarser ones I've used have made a fairly jagged edge on my knife - no good for reed-making.  So I generally work with diamond stones only to reset a VERY dull knife, and follow that up with substantial work on my finer grit stones.  This tiny green strip, though, is giving me a terrific edge on my (already sharp) knife, with only a few light swipes.  I find that I'm addicted to the burr it gives me, and it's so easy to achieve that I swipe much more frequently than I did before, but that doesn't make me resentful at all.  It doesn't feel like having to WORK to keep an edge on, more like choosing to use the absolute best edge I can have instead of the adequate blade I already had.

And for my purposes, as a traveling oboist and teacher, the tiny size is a huge bonus.  It's even smaller and lighter than the spyderco doublestuff stone which I have always sworn by.  I don't see myself actually attaching it to my keychain - but I COULD.  That's the size.

I've only been using it for a week or so, but I'm all in at this point.  Great sharpener, great price, everything I need.

Happy January to us all - it's time to get back to work!

Update: my previous post on knife sharpening is HERE.


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and place an order I get a tiny commission at no cost to you.  

Comments

  1. How do you give a blade a touch up? I get stuck starting from the beginning of my blade routine every time. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My whole sharpening routine is basically three strokes, and if I'm really working from scratch on a knife I'll do those three strokes over and over with some muscle on increasingly fine stones. But if I've got a PRETTY good knife and I just want a little more bite from it, I'll do my three-stroke routine on my ceramic stone, or now on my extra-fine diamond stone, just very lightly and very quickly with no fuss and no repetition. Thanks for asking!

      Delete
  2. For more on my knife sharpening, check here: http://www.proneoboe.com/2016/04/knife-sharpening.html

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …