Table of Contents

Figure Machine


Figure Carriage


General Comments

Initial setting measurements:
Length of blade: 30 mm on each side
Thickness at the collar: 0.95 mm (0.037”)
Thickness of the tip: 0.65 mm (0.025”)
Position of the ramp: 1st mark

There are many options to set the profiling machine up to your personal taste. It is best to make at least 20 reeds with the machine set up as it comes from Reeds ‘n Stuff to see if the initial settings work for you. As reed cane is quite variable, it is inadvisable to start changing the adjustments until variations of the cane are taken into account. Give the machine a chance with the variations of cane and do not jump to premature conclusions as to the effectiveness of the original settings. The quality of your reeds will also depend on the care the cane is given prior to profiling: measuring cane diameter to fit the machines (around 24 mm), discarding pieces of crooked or warped cane, and the care and consistency of quality of the gouge.

We recommend writing down the original thicknesses of the profile and the positions of the settings on the machine before changing anything. This way, if the new settings don’t work out, you can return the machine to the previous settings before trying something else.

When adjusting the profile, it is recommended to only change one variable at a time. Changing more than one variable will lead to confusion and will make it difficult to know which factor effects the change. It is better to start with the profile that is too heavy and work toward your target dimensions, profiling gradually thinner to minimize cane waste. This way one piece of cane can be used to work toward a setting that conforms to your target measurements. Target dimensions would be thickness and tube/blade length dimensions either our teachers have given us or dimensions of successful reeds that we are trying to duplicate with the profiler.

It is best to leave some leeway in the profile to account for the varying strengths of each piece of cane. When trying to set the machine to duplicate a successful reed, keep in mind that the particular reed may have a strength or density that may not translate directly to other pieces of cane. Setting the profile slightly thicker leaves room for various densities of cane to not be eliminated if the profile is set too thin.

Transport Lock

The carriage of the profiling machine is secured by the transport lock screw. Open this screw and remove the tube before using the machine.
Make sure to always take the barrel out of the profiling machine for transport, as leaving it in the holders could damage the blade.


The machine can be used with soaked or dry cane. We recommend soaking the cane anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
While profiling dry cane will provide a very smooth surface to the cane, it is harder work and may ultimately shorten the life of the blade.

The cane can be profiled before or after shaping. When using a fold-over shaper you will have to profile the cane first. With a straight or flat style shaper the cane can be shaped before profiling. This way the cane is clamped firmly between the top and bottom of the shaper giving a more accurate transfer of the shape to the cane.

Center the soaked cane on the cane barrel, using the indexing marks and the length stop. Fix the cane with the securing clamps on the barrel. Place the barrel in the holders and make sure that it sits securely in them (you should here it click twice).

Score the center of the cane and the collar with the scoring blades. We recommend beginning profiling on the far edge of the cane and work across the near side using light strokes of the carriage. Best results are achieved by not completely profiling one side before turning the barrel. Once the first side is done with the first light passes, turn the barrel and score the other collar. Continue profiling both sides of the cane, alternating several times, until no further cane is removed.

Adjusting the Position of the Ramp

By adjusting the profile adjustment ramp, you can make a straight tapered blade, a parallel trim reed (where the taper from the collar to the tip is minimal), or a tip tapered trim where there is a secondary taper toward the tip with a steeper angle than just a single taper design. The starting point for the secondary taper can be moved forward or backward along the reed’s blade to refine the feel of the reed. All of these parameters can easily be adjusted without taking the machine apart.

Adjusting the Length of the Tip

Adjusting the position of the profile adjustment ramp assembly is achieved by loosening the two screws on the bottom of the machine. This allows the profile adjustment ramp to be moved to the left or right, bringing the secondary taper either more (moving to the right) or less (moving to the left) into play.

Be aware that moving the starting point of the taper also will change the thickness at the tip and the thickness at the end of the blade.
For example, when you set a longer tip on your machine by moving the ramp to the right, the area of the primary taper will be shorter and the thickness at the end of the blade will therefore be thinner. To get the same thickness at the collar and at the beginning of the tip area than before, you need to set a steeper incline of the primary taper, since this area is now shorter than before.

Adjusting the Profile Incline

To change the incline of the tip area, loosen the set screw for the tip taper adjuster on the left side of the ramp. Turning the adjuster clockwise will steepen the incline of the tip area and will therefore make the tip thinner. Turning the adjustor counterclockwise will flatten the incline and thus make the tip area thicker. Once the desired position has been achieved, tighten the set screw.

To change the incline of the primary taper of the blade, open the set screw for the blade taper adjuster on the right side of the ramp. Turning the adjuster clockwise will flatten the incline and result in a thinner profile at the collar. Turning the adjuster counterclockwise will steepen the incline, resulting in a thicker profile at the collar. Once the desired position has been achieved, tighten the set screw.

Adjusting the Overall Thickness

Once a good general profile is achieved, slight adjustments to the overall thickness cane be made with the thickness adjustment knob on top of the sled.

First loosen the set screw on the sled for the thickness adjustment knob. Note the location of the scale in relation to the position for reference.
Turn the dial clockwise to increase the overall thickness or counterclockwise to reduce the overall thickness. Tighten the set screw for the adjuster.

Calibration of Thickness

The position of the scale on the thickness adjustment knob can be reset once a satisfactory setting has been found. The new setting can be shown as “0”; alternatively, the knob can be set to show the thickness at the tip, if preferred.
Ensure that the set screw for the thickness adjustment knob is tight. Loosen the set screw on the side of the thickness adjustment knob, rotate the knob until the scale shows the desired position, then tighten the set screw.

Adjusting the Scrape Length

In order to change the placement of the collar and consequently lengthen or shorten the reed’s blade in relation to the tube, the Carriage Movement Limiter and the Collar Scoring Blade will need to be adjusted.

Mark your preferred position of the collar on a piece of cane and fix it on the barrel. Loosen the fixing bolt for the collar scoring arm from below and move it to line up the scoring blade with the pencil mark. Score the cane and retighten the scoring arm fixing bolt. Recheck to make sure the scoring arm didn’t move.

Then loosen the fixing screw of the Carriage Movement Limiter and move the carriage so that the position of the profiling blade sits in the scored line at the collar made with the scoring blade. Retighten the fixing screw of the Carriage Movement Limiter.

Adjusting the Scoring Depth

The cutting depth of the scoring blades can be easily adjusted. Open the scoring arm so that the scoring blade hovers over the barrel. By turning the adjustment screw of the scoring blade, you can now move the blade closer to or further away from the barrel. Turning the adjustment screw clockwise will move the blade further from the barrel, resulting in a shallower scoring depth. Turning the adjustment screw counterclockwise will move the blade close to the barrel, resulting in a deeper scoring depth.

Changing the Blade

Loosen the fixing screw for the blade to adjust or change the blade. After removing the old blade, carefully insert the new or resharpened blade.
The blade protrusion is adjusted using the adjustment screw for the blade, which determines the thickness of the shavings. The deal shaving thickness is around 0.04 - 0.05 mm. It is easiest to do the adjustment with the fixing screw slightly tightened, minimizing the play in blade movement while adjustments are being made.

The position of the blade can be easily and accurately by using the Blade Adjustment Indicator. The indicator measures the blade’s protrusion beyond the bar. The protrusion should be 0.04 - 0.05 mm and will produce shavings of this thickness.
You can find the instructions for the Blade Adjustment Indicator here.

Reminder: to avoid damage to the blade or barrel, make sure that the blade cannot touch the barrel, especially at the outer edge of the barrel.

Changing the Barrel

You can change the barrel of your machine. For bassoon, there are several different options. The concentric barrel will give you a very even profile. With the eccentric barrel, the sides of the profile will be thinner than with the concentric barrel. For the eccentric barrel you also have the option of adding an extra spine. You can choose between three different options of added spine.

Spine + is 0.26mm thicker at the spine
Spine ++ is 0.48 mm thicker at the spine
Spine +++ is 0.55 mm thicker at the spine

Every time you place the barrel in the machine, make sure to hear it “click” twice, this tells you that the barrel sits securely in the barrel holders.

Transforming from Bassoon to Contrabassoon

The profiling machine can be used for both bassoon and contrabassoon cane by only changing a few things. These are provided in the Contra Exchange Set.

As the contra barrel is thicker, the holders must allow for a lower placement of the barrel in relation to the blade. This requires different barrel holders.
On the base plate, there are two sets of holes for the barrel holders. Use the ones that are closer together for bassoon and the ones that are further apart for contrabassoon.

Remove the fixing screws from below, then gently lift the barrel holders straight up until the seating pins are free of the base plate. Take the new barrel holders and place them in their corresponding positions, taking care not to bend the seating pins. One side of each barrel holder has a small dot engraved below the screw hole on the large face; this denotes the side of the barrel holder that should be facing the barrel. Once the barrel holders have been placed, insert and tighten the fixing screws from below.

Adjusting the Length Stop of the Barrel

The position of the integrated length stop is easily adjusted. Simply loosen the fixing screw on the side of the barrel, move the length stop to the preferred position, and tighten the fixing screw.

How to Use the Clip

The cane near the center of the barrel is at risk for tearing. This is due to the fact that the most amount of cane is removed in this portion of the piece of cane as well as slight variations in cane radii. In order to help prevent this we have developed, together with Prof. Hermann, a printed cane clip.

This clip attaches to the barrel in addition to the clamp rings, and holds the cane in place while the profiler is in use.

When one side one of the cane has been profiled, the clip can be moved to hold that side in place while the opposite side is profiled. This ensures that the cane is held against the barrel to prevent lifting and tearing.

Machine Care

The lifespan of your machine is optimized by regular care. Using a soft cloth or brush, dry and clean the profiling machine after each use and remove any remaining cane and dirt. Ensure that the machine is dry, especially the black parts like the barrel holders and the ramp
To ensure the smooth operation of your profiling machine, occasionally apply a small amount of acid-and-resin-free oil to the shaft, the ball tension screws in the barrel holders, the blade and the scanning wheel. Some of oil can also be applied to the moving parts of the scoring arms and the blades.



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Manual and Set Up Guide by Eric Arbiter

Retired Associate Principal and Acting Principal Bassoonist
of the Houston Symphony for 45 years