A double reed (the actual reed itself, not the instruments) is actually a single piece of cane (bamboo, really!) that goes through several stages.
Bassoon Reed Making
- From a cylinder of cane, a small strip is cut. For a piece thick enough for a bassoon reed, cane must often be grown for as long as ten years
- The cane is then shaped and gouged. This means that it is given the proper contour and the bark in the center is removed, leaving it only on the ends.
- The reed is then carefully folded in half!
- With careful scoring and a shaping tool, the ends of the reed are then formed into a tube.
- After the tube has been given time to properly set, wires and glue, and often thread, are set into place to keep the tube sealed and together
- The tip is cut off making an opening
- At this point, the reed is near playable, but not quite there. The remaining work is generally done with very sharp knives or files, and involves carefully and painstakingly removing small amounts of wood bit by bit.
The making of reeds is a true art that nearly all professional bassoonists and oboeists participate in.
As a random other fact, racketts come in varying sizes, my personal favorite is the bass rackett. Of course, that's also why I prefer the contrabassoon