Cracked Reeds

So you probably have noticed that I soak my oboe reeds in alcohol before they are sent. That is for two reasons: first, it obviously sanitizes the oboe reeds, wow, second it prevents cracking because the alcohol replaces the water that the oboe reed is soaked in. The freezing point of rubbing alcohol is -127°F, and I don’t think it has been that cold in the United States for quite a while unless you send oboe reeds to Alaska!

Isopropyl alcohol ( Rubbing Alcohol )  can prevent cracking of shipped oboe reeds in cold climates by reducing the moisture content of the reed, which can expand and cause cracking as temperatures drop. The alcohol acts as a desiccant, removing moisture and stabilizing the reed, helping to prevent cracking during shipment and storage in cold climates.

So, if you see that white deposit on the oboe reeds, it means that they are sanitized and also protected from cracking when they are shipped to you. In the summer months, I will still sanitize the reeds, but it doesn’t particularly matter for cracking, because the temperature is not so low.