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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Harbor Freight engraving tool tuning reeds
Harbor Freight engraving tool tuning reeds
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dougharps
2323 posts
Aug 29, 2022
7:36 AM
[I probably should have posted this in a new subject first instead of adding to the old thread in which I learned about this tool. Thanks to those who posted about this tool in the B-thing thread.]

I had read about the Harbor Freight engraving tool on MBH in the B-thing thread and made a mental note to take a look at one sometime. I am not a customizer who is constantly tuning reeds, but I do tune reads for myself from time to time, usually when a reed is a little flat.

Recently I was at Harbor Freight for other reasons, but I saw the engraving tool and recalled the mention here. It was less than $10, so I bought one. I have since found that it works really well in adjusting reed pitches!

I find the engraver to be more simple to use than my files, draw scraper, or rotary tool and less likely to damage reeds when tuning. The small tip makes it especially useful when tuning blow reeds without removing the reed plates as it requires less pressure than the draw scraper or files, and has a very small tip.

So far I have just used it on diatonics, but I previously had read about tuning chromatic blow reeds without removing the plates and had tried it a few times. I found it was a challenge to not damage the edges and end of the propped up reed while removing metal with a file, draw scraper or rotary tool.

When tuning a blow reed without removing the plates I gently lift the blow reed in the slot with a bent paper clip or a reed lifter, and support the tip with a small square of printer paper. With the engraver I can tilt the harp so metal shavings fall away from the slot across the paper.

Then I adjust pitch in small increments approaching my pitch goal. With the reed plates still mounted on the comb it is a faster process to check and recheck pitch as I tune. I don't have to hold the plates on the comb while testing the pitch.

I will certainly use the engraver to adjust tuning the next time I flatten a Hering chromatic reed.

Thanks for bringing this tool to my attention.
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Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Aug 29, 2022 7:34 AM
snowman
784 posts
Aug 29, 2022
6:10 PM
is this the one

https://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/rotary-oscillating-tools/engravers/micro-engraver-98227.html

i use one just like it when need be---like when I flatten my 7 draw
snowman
785 posts
Aug 29, 2022
6:21 PM
micro mark also has it

https://www.micromark.com/Cordless-Powered-Detail-Engraver

I use engraver first then sanding wand

https://www.micromark.com/SANDING-WAND-SET
barbequebob
3682 posts
Aug 30, 2022
8:36 AM
If you're planning to retune stainless steel reeds, this is a tool that I would highly recommend because stainless steel can wear the heck out a really good quality file.
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Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
dougharps
2324 posts
Aug 30, 2022
10:07 AM
@snowman
Yes, that is the one, now on clearance! I should probably stop there and get another at that price.

@barbequebob
I haven't had to tune any stainless steel reeds on my Seydels for years, but what you are saying makes sense (as do all your posts!}

EDIT: By the way, Bob, thank you again for the reed tuning sheet detailing the different brands, models, and vintages for each tuning. Having a reference for the correct cents above and below for each reed for a specific harp's tuning is REALLY useful.
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Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Aug 30, 2022 10:10 AM
barbequebob
3683 posts
Aug 31, 2022
8:36 AM
@dougharps -- I'm glad that the tuning chart was helpful to you. However, the only diatonic harp tuning I've been unable to get a hold of is the compromise tuning for the DaBell Contender and I've been trying to get the info from Benny Yoon for quite some time with no success. The other models in the DaBell line are all tuned to equal temperament.
----------
Sincerely,
Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
http://www.barbequebob.com
CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte


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