By Sarah Beck, RDG Gouging Machine Specialist
Today I'd like to tell you about a couple of products from Laker Precision that I use for gouging. They are the splitter, guillotine and pre-gouger. They are all very easy to use. Let’s start with the splitter.
The splitter has a ball handle, a long rod with blades attached, and a brass cover to protect the blades.
I have taken the brass part off of mine. I felt that it got in the way a little bit.
To use it, you line it up inside the piece of tube cane, and then use downward force to split the cane. You need to move your bottom hand out of the way when you do this. I think that still applies even if the little brass part is still on there.
Next up is the guillotine. The guillotine has a flat base, a handle and a blade. I prefer to use this if I can. Even though the gouging machines have a guillotine attached, this is much easier to use because there is more room for your left hand to push down the lever. Once you have the area you want to cut selected, simply push down using the handle. Our oboe and bassoon guillotines are available in adjustable cutting lengths to accommodate different gouging machine bed lengths.
Lastly we have the pre-gouger. It also has a basic, quick function. It is available with many different bed sizes, which you would want to match to the bed size of your machine. (The standard size matches the standard size of each instrument’s machine.) It has a small blade at the end that cuts off the top of the guillotined piece. This blade can be removed and sharpened on a stone.
I usually pre-gouge with wet cane. I suppose you could use dry, but to me it sounds and feels like nails on a chalkboard, so I don’t use dry cane. :) The other problem that can occur when pre-gouging dry is that the ends of the cane can get stuck under the blade and be difficult to pull out. I have sliced my finger tugging on dry pieces trying to get them out. This problem occurs more frequently with thick walled cane.
Those are the three basic accessories made by Laker Precision that we sell to use in conjunction with the Laker “USA” gouging machines. They are available for oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, and bassoon. You can find them by searching under gouging machines and accessories here, or by clicking on the photo below.