In order to give you a better service uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.


The types of oboe cane we offer depend on the availability and quality of the previous seasons. Due to the varying rainfall and climate from year to year and from region to region we seasonally test as many cane sorts as possible, but only purchase the best quality available.

oboe cane

Our cane has five main variable parameters

  • Diameter
  • Gouge Thickness
  • Hardness/Density
  • Shape
  • Centre/Side ratio


oboe tube cane Selecting the right tube diameter for your cane is important in achieving the correct opening for your reeds. If you suffer from reeds that easily collapse, consider a smaller diameter. On the other hand if your reeds are far to open consider a larger diameter. If you are unsure about what diameter suits you then try the standard we recommend for each particular instrument.

If you encounter problems of any sort, contact us and we shall suggest how you can change this. Naturally we will exchange any cane that did not work for you.

Gouge Thickness

oboe cane The thickness of your gouge has a lot to do with the resistance of the reed. It is also very closely connected with the density/hardness of the cane. Very dense/hard cane will have to be gouged thinner. Very soft cane will have to be gouged thicker.

Feel free to contact us about any queries you might have regarding your gouge.

Hardness / Density

As we all know canes outward appearance can be very deceiving. Using our hardness tester we sort the cane for you into four categories: very hard, hard, medium & soft. This is not a measure of quality. It is representative of the density of the fibres in the cane. The hardness chosen must correlate with the appropriate gouge thickness. Harder cane must be gouged thinner and softer cane thicker.

Please understand that both the "very hard" and "hard" canes are limited. A very small percentage of cane fits into this category. Please contact us if you have any queries regarding the hardness/density.

* Our numbering systems correlates to our own Hardness testers supplied by Reeds n Stuff. This may vary in relation to Hardness testers of other manufacturers.
Very Hard Very dense cane measuring under 10 on the hardness/density tester*. Please note: This cane may have to be gouged thinner than you are accustomed to, please contact us if you are unsure.
Hard Dense cane measuring 11-12 on the hardness tester.*
Medium (Standard) Dense cane measuring 13-16 on the hardness tester*
Soft Softer yet compact fibres measuring over 16 on the hardness tester*
Beginner What we call "not for professional use, but too good to throw away". Ideal for Reed Making students.


Shaped oboe cane The shape of the cane is a very important parameter in reed making. That is why we have such a large number of shapes to choose from. Many of the sound, intonation and stability problems encountered in reed making can be helped or solved by finding the right shape.

All of our shapes are made with the Hörtnagl shaper. We do not use hand shapers. The Hörtnagl machine is superior in quality to hand shaper tips in the fact that the gouged cane sits flat, not folded, and the angle of the blade is set ensuring perfectly even sides. This is crucial in helping reeds vibrate properly once bound onto the staple.

If you are not familiar with the Hörtnagl shapes, have a look at our shaper comparison list. This list will show you the equivalent Hörtnagl shape to many other shape manufacturers. If your shape does not appear on our list, feel free to contact us and we will try and find out which of our shapes is closest to yours.

Centre/Side Ratio

Centre / Side ratio of oboe cane As we cater for both American and European style reeds we provide a choice for the thickness of the sides of your reeds. Generally American reeds have the sides 0.1mm thinner than the centre (on shaped cane only) and European cane 0.2mm thinner than the centre. Thicker sides can also help stability for European style reeds with longer scrapes. In this case a softer density and thicker gouge will be necessary. Please see our FAQs page for more information.