My Favorite Reed Making Tools Right Now…

The candy shop.

For a panda, it’s bamboo. For my cat, it’s the treats sitting on my kitchen counter. For a bookworm, it’s the used book store around the corner. For an eight year old, it’s literally the candy shop. And for an oboist, it’s the double reed supply store. ☺️

It’s really important to invest into good reed making supplies and I also love trying out new tools. So I’m always on the hunt for anything that helps me make better reeds and can save me time, or makes the process a little easier in one way or another. So here are a few that I am in love with right now and why they I find them useful.

1. MusEcho Burnishing Rod


Burnishing rods (or sharpening steels) are fairly common. You might have one in your kitchen right now! Sharpening steels are a common knife sharpening tool for cooks, fisherman, or anyone who needs a sharp knife, but I never really saw the need to use one. I use crock sticks and was doing just fine with them. Then one fateful day, at a Double Reed Day (nerdy I know), I walked by Bocal Majority’s booth and was attracted to the design of this one. As I examined it my conscience kept telling me I didn’t need it, but I was intrigued. I was eventually was talked into buying it by a fellow oboist but was still wondering if I really needed it while waking away with $70 less to my name. Then I started using it.

It has changed my life!

Ok I might be exaggerating just a little, but seriously I don’t know how I got along without it. Burnishing rods generally do not take off steel from a knife, instead they re-align the burr on the knife. So it allows you to reset your knife angles quickly. The magnetic rod fits inside the handle and stays put for compact storage and because it’s magnetic it can even pick up plaques!


The moral of the story is don’t listen to your conscience…..just kidding!

2. MusEcho Ruler/Radius Gauge

BBB37246-CDE3-4D09-A141-1A89CA206468Not only is this ruler handy for tying on your reeds but it also doubles as a radius gauge. It’s value really stands out because english horn measurements are included as well! Paul Covey made some similar tools awhile back but he stopped making them several years ago so it’s nice to have a replacement product on the market.

MusEcho products are designed by Mingjia Liu, the Principal Oboist of the San Francisco Opera. I am so impressed by the design, functionality and value of the ones I’ve purchased that I am chomping at the bit to try out more of them.

The website is if you’d like to check them out.

3. TaoTronics LED Lamp


Last but not least is the TaoTronics LED lamp which I found on This light is perfect for reedmaking. I find it very helpful to be able to examine my reeds (and cane) under different types of lighting; sunlight, stand lights, yellow light, etc. This light not only has adjustable brightness but also has seven different color temperatures ranging from cool to very warm lighting. Also the light is able to swivel in different directions so that you can look at your reeds at different light angles. An added benefit is a USB outlet attached so you can charge your phone! It retails $20-$30 on Amazon.

Even though reed making supplies can be really expensive it’s important to invest into good quality ones that will last for a long time and what will give you the best value. So hopefully this short list of my current favorites will help you in your quest to make the perfect reed. 🙂

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